Integrated science-based approach to study quality changes of shelf-stable food products during storage: A proof of concept on orange and mango juices

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Trends in Food Science & Technology, ISSN: 0924-2244, Vol: 73, Page: 76-86

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Scheling Wibowo; Carolien Buvé; Marc Hendrickx; Ann Van Loey; Tara Grauwet
Elsevier BV
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Agricultural and Biological Sciences
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review description
Defining the exact shelf-life of a shelf-stable food product is still a real challenge for food manufacturers as there are many variables to be considered. Currently, many shelf-life determinations of commercial shelf-stable products are based on trial-and-error methods which could pose risks resulting in brand damage (overestimation) or food waste (underestimation). Because degradation reactions determining shelf-life are really complex, predicting quality changes remains a challenge; consequently, a scientific approach which considers multiple variables is greatly needed. Recent advances in analytical methods (e.g. GC-MS fingerprinting) and data analysis techniques (e.g. multivariate data analysis and kinetic modelling) can play a key role in this context if they are used in (accelerated) shelf-life studies. Moreover, the role of sensory evaluations should not be forgotten as changes in sensorial properties or decreases in consumer acceptance levels as a function of storage time are in most cases the primary reasons for defining the end of shelf-life. This review paper focuses on research progresses in this field and addresses future challenges for quality investigation during storage and prediction of shelf-life dates. As proof of concept, the paper focuses on investigating quality changes of pasteurised shelf-stable orange and mango juices during storage. In the study of shelf-stable orange and mango juices, the (combined) analytical targeted and untargeted fingerprinting approach proved to be a useful approach for identifying major-quality related chemical changes and was able to select shelf-life markers (i.e. quality parameters with a clearly observable time- (and temperature-) dependent change). In studying the kinetics of change of the monitored quality attributes, it is tempting to think that the fastest reactions will determine the shelf-life of a shelf-stable product. However, consumer acceptance through sensory evaluation plays also an important role in determining the acceptability limit and therefore the best before date. The integrated science-based approach put forward can be used to investigate quality changes of a wide range of shelf-stable products during storage.