Shelf Life

Posted in Operations and Supply Chain Terms, Total Reads: 1495

Definition: Shelf Life

It is defined as the time for which a commodity or a product may be stored or displayed on a shelf without deterioration or unfit for consumption and hence saleable. In other words it refers to the time till which the commodity or product is fit to be displayed on a shelf at a particular point of sale.



The guidelines for the expiry date are based on standards related to handling and temperature control. The product might be usable after the expiration date but quality of the same is not guaranteed.

Shelf life are depended on the degeneracy mechanism of the product. General factors that influence are exposure to sunlight, heat, moisture and reaction to microorganism.


Parallel Terms

• Best before Date: It is defined as the last date by which a product quality is the best. The quality of product will begin to diminish after that date

• Use by Date: It is the date recommended by manufacturer by which product must consumed or utilized

Minimizing Wastage due to Shelf Life

There are high probability of wastage in case the inventory is not managed in an efficient manner keeping in mind the shelf life of a product. This can be minimized by using stock rotation i.e. to rotate stock or holdings are arranged so that the older units in the inventory are sold before the newer units

It follows the first-in, first-out (FIFO) concept will managing inventory and is applied in all areas such as display area or shelf, warehouse management etc.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Shelf Life along with its overview.

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