Fruit snacks, including brands such as Welch’s, are some of the best-selling snacks for both children and adults alike. From traditional fruity flavors including cherry and strawberry to tropical mixes, fruit snacks have become an all-time favorite and classic over the years.
If you’re a lover of fruit snacks such as Welch’s, you may be wondering if and when fruit snacks expire, especially if you enjoy keeping them in your pantry at all times.
The answer is, unfortunately, yes. Fruit snacks, such as those like Welch’s, do, in fact, expire. Welch’s fruit snacks typically have a shelf life of just one year from their original production and manufacturing date. In some instances, it may be possible to extend the shelf life of fruit snacks, given the proper packaging and storage conditions.
Where Should I Store My Fruit Snacks (Like Welch’s?)
Storing your fruit snacks, such as snacks from Welch’s can be done in a traditional pantry, where it is dark and cool, optimal for shelf-stable items. It is also possible to store fruit snacks inside of the refrigerator, although this can significantly change the texture and/or taste of the fruit snacks themselves.
Where Can I Find the Expiration Date for My Fruit Snack?
Regardless of the type of fruit snack you are enjoying (including Welch’s), all fruit snacks have a stamped expiration date that is clearly visible and marked on the packaging of the snacks.
The expiration date for the snacks should be clearly visible along the exterior lining of the package. You can also use the lot code printed to determine when the production date of the actual snacks was for even more information.
How Do I Find a Lot Code on My Fruit Snacks?
The lot code is typically an array of mixed numbers and letters that are also printed on a package, such as a package of fruit snacks. If a code begins with a few letters followed by numbers, seek out specific numbers for lot code details. For example, if one of your fruit snacks has a code that reads “MI23B1222” could indicate that the item was produced on February 12th, 2023 in the State of Michigan, depending on the unique codes used by each individual manufacturer.
If I Leave Fruit Snacks Unopened, How Long Will They Last?
Typically, most fruit snacks will last a year without question if the package is gone unopened, regardless of the outside conditions it is in.
However, it is also possible to extend the potential shelf life of fruit snacks by storing them in dark, cool, and protective environments.
What Happens If I Open My Fruit Snacks and Leave Them Out?
Once the fruit snacks you are eating are exposed to oxygen (again), they will immediately begin the decomposition process. Once fruit snacks are exposed to oxygen, they will begin absorbing moisture and other elements that can cause the snacks to break down slowly and over time.
Tips to Tell if a Fruit Snack Has Gone Bad
It’s not always easy to tell that a fruit snack has gone bad just by looking at it with the naked eye. In fact, many fruit snacks might even go bad before their printed “best by” dates without consumers ever knowing. If you have a bag of fruit snacks and you are unsure of their expiration date or if they are edible, keep the following tips in mind:
- Texture changes: A fruit snack should be neither too mushy nor too hard. In fact, a fruit snack should be the perfect balance between soft and hard, providing an enjoyable experience when eaten.
- Taste: If the taste of the fruit snack you try is bland and uninspiring, it may be a sign that they are old and outdated.
- Visible mold: While this is obvious, mold is not always visible on all fruit snacks. If you suspect that just one of your fruit snacks in the bunch is growing mold, it’s best to toss out the entire batch.
Can I Eat Fruit Snacks That Have Expired?
While it is not recommended to eat any food that has expired, it is technically possible to eat fruit snacks (such as Welch’s), even after their official expiration date.
Most often, when it comes to fruit snacks, expiration dates only begin to matter months, if not years after the official printed date (this is due to preservatives in the fruit snacks themselves).
If you choose to eat fruit snacks that have expired, be sure to inspect them for their texture, smell, and in some cases, even mold. If you notice significant changes to the fruit snacks, it is best to move on and find yourself another snack alternative.
How Long Will My Fruit Snacks Last if I Open Them and Leave Them Out?
Although fruit snacks have a shelf life of up to one year when they are stored unopened in proper conditions, determining how long fruit snacks will last once they experience oxidation is not always as simple. Some factors to consider when storing open fruit snacks include:
- Packaging: Have you sealed the open fruit snacks, or are the fruit snacks still in their original packaging?
- Duration: How long have the fruit snacks been open and exposed to oxygen?
- Storage: Where are you storing the opened fruit snacks and are they in a cool, dark, pantry, or a warm, hot, countertop?
Fruit snacks may begin to harden and change texture in as little as a few days (or hours), after experiencing oxidation, rapidly reducing shelf life.
While it is not inherently deadly or extremely dangerous to snack on some expired fruit snacks (such as Welch’s), it is also advisable to steer clear of them whenever possible. Although it may technically be suitable to consume expired fruit snacks, adding unnecessary bacteria and risks to the body is never worth it at any age or for any food, including delicious Welch’s fruit snacks.