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pH Average Shelf Life of Hot Sauce batch (below 4.0pH)

Hi!
 
Establishing my business here.  In Oregon, we don't need to do shelf life testing or Nutritial Facts unless we sell over something like 10k bottles a year.  So, I am putting my start up funds in other departments for the time being.
 
I am curious, how long does a shelf stable hot sauce usually last after bottling?
 
My hot sauce usually lands between 3.4 and 3.9 pH, I use 5oz woozies, all natural, vegetables, vinegar, salt and agave.
 
I bottle with the HFH method.
 
I hve heard anything between 5 months to 6 years.  
 
 
I'm starting to get more demand and I am thinking of making 100's of bottles at a time.  If I do that, some of the unsold bottles may sit for up to 6 months. Should I feel odd about this?  I know there are lots of variables, but I'm just trying to get a general idea....I'm starting my Better Process Controls class tomorrow so maybe I'll learn all this info while doing that.
 
Thanks!
 

salsalady

Business Member
Afaik....dont put an expiry date on unless required. For some of the reasons you just said. Say you do a big run, and put the expiry day 2 years out.

If you still have some cases 12 to 18 months later, you are gonna have a hard time selling that to a store when it only has 6 months left.

Some processors put a Best By date to get customers to throw out perfectly usable product and buy more. All are different terminologies. There's other threads that talk about this here. Try some searches or maybe someone can post some links.


Edit....talk to your pa about what they want for best by or expiry dates...if any...
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
BB is consumer info which is always good.
 
He is asking if he should feel odd about not putting it and the bottles sit awhile. In other words, he doesn't want to feel scammy by selling something that sat on the shelf a year when there is no date on the bottle.
 
I've experienced this before with some sauces. I've gotten stuff that had something listed in the ingredients that they changed years prior (or have gotten and older design) so I knew I got some old stock when they had fresh. It's good that you are asking and want to do the right thing.
 
Alternative: Small Batch
Dedicate a space on the label to write in the batch #/bottle # by hand with a black fine tip marker. This can look more artisan and appealing. It's not a date but if on your website you are selling batch #22 and they have #18, they know they have an older batch, but it can also be a "cool" factor to have some older batches. I've also seen the BB date as a sticker on the bottom. Like one of those stickers from a price gun. Usually BB is 2 years from manufacture. I like knowing myself even though I will consume older stuff but companies should be selling fresh stock imo. I know some hot sauce companies that went out of biz +/-5 years ago and you can find their sauces on those hot sauce mall type sites. It is a bit scammy felling and it's good you are asking.
 
Hope this info helps.
 
butterflybakeryofvt.jpeg

bourbon_barrell_foods_bluegrass_soy_sauce.jpg
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
salsalady said:
Some processors put a Best By date to get customers to throw out perfectly usable product and buy more. All are different terminologies. There's other threads that talk about this here. Try some searches or maybe someone can post some links.
 
I'd rather see a BB date than get an 8 year old bottle and not know. Yes, it happens. As consumers we know we can consume after but also I'd like to know the company selling me the stuff isn't sending me the oldest first and sending the freshest to their larger clients. He asks a very good question and I like that he cares about consumer perception. As consumers we can choose to ignore it, yes. But if nothing is there we have no information to base that choice on.
 
What is scammier? Putting the BB in hopes they buy again? Or not putting anything and selling very old stock first?
 
Hot sauces do change in the bottle. They tend to darken, thicken, can form a ring, can harden in the opening, etc.
 
But to the crux of the issue, you don't put any dates, and the stock sits. This is something you are going to have to figure out for yourself. I would hope it would sell so fast this would not be an issue. ;)
 

salsalady

Business Member
I agree with Boss's comments, and he's had exposure to a LOT more products than probably most of us.

I have some products that do not change ever. And I also have a white colored hot sauce made with pears that starts to turn grey after about 6 months. I am only selling at the local store, so I dont have to deal with long term storage issues.


Which is also something to consider.
If you sell cases to a distributor at the 6 month mark, they sit in the warehouse for 10 months, then they want you to swap it out as expired...
That really doesn't relate to the OP, but is something to be aware of.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
Did your pear sauce have an antioxidant besides vinegar (ascorbic acid/vitamin C)?
 

salsalady

Business Member
I'll try that. Will have to get a new process approval as that constitutes a significant change to the approved recipe. If it keeps the sauce bright, it'll be worth it.

Thanks for the suggestion, boss.
 

salsalady

Business Member
Ruid said:
Make a spicy version of A1 steak sauce. I've never known of anything to last longer on a shelf!
  
D3monic said:
Been there done that, need to make some more soon
  
Ruid said:
How? I can't make sauces. My version of that is to take a sauce I like, pour some powder into and shake the fuck out of it.
I'm missing something in this conversation. Why cant Ruid make sauces? :shrug:????

I did make a spicy steak sauce and it is flying off the shelves and winning competitions. :huh:??? Just not understanding~~~~
 
The Hot Pepper said:
BB is consumer info which is always good.
 
He is asking if he should feel odd about not putting it and the bottles sit awhile. In other words, he doesn't want to feel scammy by selling something that sat on the shelf a year when there is no date on the bottle.
 
I've experienced this before with some sauces. I've gotten stuff that had something listed in the ingredients that they changed years prior (or have gotten and older design) so I knew I got some old stock when they had fresh. It's good that you are asking and want to do the right thing.
 
Alternative: Small Batch
Dedicate a space on the label to write in the batch #/bottle # by hand with a black fine tip marker. This can look more artisan and appealing. It's not a date but if on your website you are selling batch #22 and they have #18, they know they have an older batch, but it can also be a "cool" factor to have some older batches. I've also seen the BB date as a sticker on the bottom. Like one of those stickers from a price gun. Usually BB is 2 years from manufacture. I like knowing myself even though I will consume older stuff but companies should be selling fresh stock imo. I know some hot sauce companies that went out of biz +/-5 years ago and you can find their sauces on those hot sauce mall type sites. It is a bit scammy felling and it's good you are asking.
 
Hope this info helps.
 
attachicon.gif
butterflybakeryofvt.jpeg
attachicon.gif
bourbon_barrell_foods_bluegrass_soy_sauce.jpg
 
I love that blue grass soy sauce, grant sent me some a few years ago. 
 
salsalady said:
    
I'm missing something in this conversation. Why cant Ruid make sauces? :shrug:????

I did make a spicy steak sauce and it is flying off the shelves and winning competitions. :huh:??? Just not understanding~~~~
 
I'm confused now too, did my comment come off as implying that he couldn't make it. That wasn't my intent. 
 
As so often happens, the written word does not convey the meaning of the posters thought process. Now remrmber, the thread title contains "shelf life".
 
Ruid said:
Make a spicy version of A1 steak sauce. I've never known of anything to last longer on a shelf!
I read this as as a comparison between A-1 and Twinkies, The Twinkie Myth
 
D3monic said:
Been there done that, need to make some more soon
I read that as having made some in the past, this poster now needs to make more.
 
Ruid said:
How? I can't make sauces. My version of that is to take a sauce I like, pour some powder into and shake the fuck out of it.
I read this as poster stating inability to make A-1 sauce or possibly any sauce.
 
salsalady said:
I'm missing something in this conversation. Why cant Ruid make sauces? :shrug:????
I believe this confusion arises from the originally confusing interaction above that I've tried to clarify.
 
D3monic said:
I'm confused now too, did my comment come off as implying that he couldn't make it. That wasn't my intent.
And the spiralling confusion escalates. Hopefully I've helped eradicate it?

Of course, I could have misinterpreted any of these posts and have now added to the confusion! If so I would like to add:
 
D3monic said:
That wasn't my intent.
:rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:
 
I've never attempted to make a sauce. I suspect that fermenting would mostly lead to stuff turning rotten and having to be thrown out and I'm cheap.
 
There's also that I prefer to just dice up a frozen pod when at home or keep a vial of powder on me when I go out.
 

salsalady

Business Member
Ruid, most hot sauces are made with fresh ingredients, not fermented. Give it a go! Start with a small batch of maybe couple cups, there's lots of recipes to use as a basis. Worst that can happen is it tastes like doodoo and you pitch it and start again.


Thanks NECM....that makes things slightly cloudy instead of totally mucky. :lol:

It's all good. Most are here to learn and help, sometimes things get convoluted trying to interpret posts.
SL
 
Newks_Hot_Sauce said:
 
My hot sauce usually lands between 3.4 and 3.9 pH...
 
 
I hve heard anything between 5 months to 6 years.  
 
 
For reference, the process authority in Florida cleared me for 2 year shelf life. My sauce is at about 4.0 ph.
 

Bou

Extreme Member
The Hot Pepper said:
 
I'd rather see a BB date than get an 8 year old bottle and not know. Yes, it happens. As consumers we know we can consume after but also I'd like to know the company selling me the stuff isn't sending me the oldest first and sending the freshest to their larger clients. He asks a very good question and I like that he cares about consumer perception. As consumers we can choose to ignore it, yes. But if nothing is there we have no information to base that choice on.
 
What is scammier? Putting the BB in hopes they buy again? Or not putting anything and selling very old stock first?
 
Hot sauces do change in the bottle. They tend to darken, thicken, can form a ring, can harden in the opening, etc.
 
But to the crux of the issue, you don't put any dates, and the stock sits. This is something you are going to have to figure out for yourself. I would hope it would sell so fast this would not be an issue. ;)
 
I think that a good alternative would be to indicate the bottling date, just for transparency. Going this way, consumers will know if a bottle is sitting on the shelf since forever but won't be scared to die if they uses their hot sauce the day after the BB date. Just saying...
 
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