The shelf-life of a product is determined by storing the product under typical storage conditions that the product will experience, and measuring the changes occurring (chemical, microbiological and physical) over a specified time interval until the product becomes unacceptable to consumers. Food manufacturers are under constant pressure to launch new products in shorter time scales and often do not have sufficient time for real-time shelf-life testing.
Accelerated shelf-life testing (ASLT) is an indirect method of measuring and estimating the stability of a product by storing the product under controlled conditions that increase the rate of degradation occurring in the product under normal storage conditions. In addition to the prediction of product stability including color, ASLT is useful for a number of other purposes, e.g. to determine product safety under abuse conditions, for troubleshooting in the initial stages of product development and for assessing the packaging performance of a product.