Shelf Life Trials — Learning to Maximize Freshness

TheMitchellPhotoCollection VerticalHarvest 188 websize 2

TheMitchellPhotoCollection VerticalHarvest 188 websize 2

In an effort to maximize the freshness of Vertical Harvest products, our Microgreen team recently conducted a series of shelf life trials. Included in these first trials were some of our most popular microblends, including Citrus Blend and Spicy Mix.

The goal was to:

  1. Drive quality control and develop shelf turn-over targets for our microgreen blend products
  2. Make Vertical Harvest products easier for our grocery partners to manage by providing more accurate “Sell By” dates
  3. Develop a system by which we could test and improve shelf life for all Vertical Harvest produce

What was the top takeaway? 

The team, lead by Microgreens Associate Ava Reynolds, developed a Freshness Matrix that told us the exact windows of time products would stay the “Most Fresh” on grocery shelves and in a customer’s fridge. Our goal was that the end consumer could have at least four (4) days with the product at peak freshness.

For these initial microgreen blends, we determined that that window was 14 days at this “Most Fresh” level, which, working backward, means:

  • 4 days in customer refrigerator
  • 7 days in grocery store
  • 3 days in distribution transit/in the Vertical Harvest cold room

“This trial was valuable for developing a scale to judge product freshness that can hopefully be utilized in future shelf life trials and easily adapted to products beyond microgreens,” says Hannah Bouline, Vertical Harvest Farm Lead.

“What we learned in the trial will allow us to better understand and regulate our distribution radius for each product, which is imperative as we increase distribution distance and plan for replication of products in future greenhouses.”

Stay tuned as we conduct more tests and continue to improve ways of getting you the freshest greens possible — year-round!