FIFO – First in First Out

I seam to be talking a lot about food storage lately. Between buying canned goods, home canning, long term food storage taste testing, and using buckets for food stores. One thing ALL of these food storage options has in common…

The need for FIFO!

What is FIFO you ask? FIFO is the acronym for First In, First Out. Basically that means you use up your oldest items first.

This is important for a few reasons.

It ensures you food stores will not “expire”

  1. There are several schools of thought regarding what types of foods actually “expire”.
  2. Foods that will eventually expire include
    • Grocery store items in cardboard boxes (even if they have plastic packaging liners inside).
    • Items wrapped in plastic such as ramen noodles, or granola bars.
    • Items in plastic containers such as juice or applesauce.
    • Fruit cups in plastic.
  3. These expirations will vary greatly, check the packaging or research your item for more information.
  4. Canned goods have an almost unlimited shelf life (so why bother FIFO?)

FIFO keeps the freshest food options first.

  1. Even if foods do not expire, they do have a “Best By” date. By using the oldest food first you ensure you are getting the best flavors.
  2. Vitamins also leach out of foods and/or degrade over time, so you are maximizing the vitamin intake of your food stores.

FIFO helps you recognize when you are running low

  1. If you are using FIFO you will be aware of what is in your food store.
  2. Tips below will make it more clear how this will work.

Here are some strategies to help you use FIFO in your food stores.

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  1. Find a method for organizing your food stores so that you can easily see what is available.

We built a FIFO rack for all our canned goods. We stock the newer cans from the back, and the oder cans are in the front for us to use. Any overstock we can keep in our pantry. We only keep 1-2 cases of any given canned goods and check their dates when we restock the FIFO rack.

We also have a pantry that lets us see pretty much everything that is in there. As long as we stay organized, there isn’t an issue. 😉

2. Date things.

Any items that do not have dates, or if they are unclear or difficult to read, use a sharpie and put a date on it. This can be store bought goods, bulk food items you put in buckets (label AND date the bucket), or food you canned yourself (label and date all home canned goods).

3. Rotate

Be sure you are rotating your goods. When you put something new on the shelf be sure the old ones come to the front and the new gets placed in the back.

This can be a pain sometimes, but do it anyway. 🙂

If you follow these steps you will be much happier with your food stores quality.

What are some methods you use to rotate your food stores?


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