Learning how to use the FIFO (First-In-First-Out) method isn’t complicated. It’s a method that refers to a safe and efficient way to store food and how to effectively rotate it so you’re always using the oldest items first before the newer ones. This will ensure that your food supply doesn’t go bad and that you’re not wasting valuable space or money by accidentally throwing out items that could have otherwise been used. This key method is frequently used in restaurants as well as food service in schools and is highly successful in managing food costs. It will be just as effective in your own home once you start using it.
When it comes to long-term food storage, it’s crucial to learn about the FIFO way of storing food. This will ensure you have best food quality and also save you money. By implementing this method, you will always use what you have on hand before it expires. Have you ever cleaned out your cupboards or pantry only to discover that many things on the shelf had to be thrown out because they were past the expiration date? This is a big waste of money. FIFO is easy to follow. Here are some easy ideas to help you get started.
- Keep your cupboards and pantry well-organized
- Group ‘like’ items together (canned goods, boxed items, etc.)
- Check all expiration dates
- Keep the items that are first to expire near the front so they can be used first
- Rotate your inventory of food as you use them
Newer canned goods should be stored to the back of the shelf while older items need to be stored to the front to ensure they get used first. In the restaurant service, the food is used so fast that there’s no point in checking the expiration dates every day, which saves time. However, in your home that’s probably not the case. You don’t use food nearly as fast as a restaurant. Therefore, the expiration dates should ideally be checked every time you shop for groceries. Use the items first that are nearing their expiration dates. Dedicate one special shelf for canned goods. In fact, you can buy or make shelves today that are made specifically for storing canned goods. Try to put the oldest cans at eye level so you can clearly see the date and store the newer cans on the upper and/or lower shelves.
FIFO isn’t just used for storing canned goods. It’s important to rotate all your frozen foods just like the canned goods as well. The best way to ensure your food stays fresh and save money is to always put the older items in the front whether it’s in your freezer, refrigerator, cupboard, or pantry.
Maintaining Proper Temperatures
When storing food, especially perishables, keep these general temperatures in mind:
- Dry food items should be stored at 50-70°F
- Frozen foods should be stored at 0°F or less
- Refrigerated foods should be stored at 42°F or less
Note: A simple way to double-check the temperature of your storage and stored food areas is when you bring home items from the grocery store.
Rotating Food Items
After your items are stored, rotate your current products using the FIFO method. This will ensure that you’re using and serving products stocked first before the ones you most recently stored. The FIFO method applies to virtually every aspect of food storage including refrigerated, frozen, and dry pantry items. If possible, create your own system using the FIFO method to store your food items. Some people dedicate one entire cupboard to older food items, while using an adjacent cupboard for newer products. What works for some families may not work not work for all.
Everyone wants to save both money and time. The FIFO method is one of the best and easiest ways to do it. If the FIFO method works well for restaurants, schools, and other organizations, it can work well for you. Saving money is a top priority for most people. Many families follow a strict budget and need a better, more efficient way to manage their food storage. In the end, it will keep your food fresher and your wallet fuller. Continuous rotation of foods is key. Consider using a food rotation calendar to ensure you’re always using what needs to be used first.