What Does FIFO Refer To in the Food Industry

food processing

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Inventory management is a core activity that efficiently runs the food service and produces a food supply. One of the most salient aspects of ensuring food is fresh and delicious is FIFO, which stands for First-in, First-out.

This method requires that the oldest stock be consumed or sold before the newer stock is introduced, which helps prevent wastage and sustain product quality.

Food storage done correctly is extremely important for firms to maintain safety standards, satisfy regulatory requirements, and supply superior products to customers. In this article, we will explain what FIFO refer to and the importance of FIFO in food industries, discuss its implementation methods, and discover how AI-powered food safety software brings new approaches to inventory management.

What is FIFO in Food Storage?

FIFO, or First-In, First-Out, is a fundamental principle in food storage management. It refers to a rotation system for organizing and using food products based on their arrival dates.

FIFO refers to the paramount principle of first-in and first-out. This means that products received as soon as possible should be utilized or sold before newer ones. By following this method, businesses ensure that older batches are used first, minimizing the risk of spoilage or expiration.

In FIFO, prioritizing older batches of materials is crucial to prevent food waste and maintain product quality. By using older inventory first, businesses reduce the likelihood of unused products reaching their expiration dates, thus optimizing inventory turnover and ensuring freshness for consumers.

Implementing FIFO in Food Businesses

Food businesses need to implement FIFO(First-In, First-Out) to preserve quality, safety, and productivity in their operations.

FIFO refers to enabling newer inventions to have a long shelf life in favor of older inventory. It involves using well-established procedures that reduce food spoilage and save customers from eating outdated dishes.

The food handlers, who are in charge of realizing FIFO, should appropriately maintain the storage process, rotate products properly, and regularly check the expiry date of the food. Being faithful and meticulous in their job, this group of employees plays a role in supporting FIFO practices that are important to the bar, keeping the place’s name clear and the health of the visitors safe.

Advantages of FIFO

The benefits are widespread for FIFO (First-In, First-Out), ranging from the organization to the owners and customers.

  • Reduced Food Waste and Cost Savings

By prioritizing older inventory so that it is consumed quickly before expiry, FIFO ensures less waste production and thus prevents the discarding of expired or spoiled items. This approach helps decrease overall food costs because fewer ingredients are wasted. It also aids in preserving the environment since it cuts the volume of waste in landfills.

  • Improved Food Security

FIFO refers to promoting food security by prioritizing the consumption of fresher ingredients, which are less likely to pose health risks. By consistently rotating stock and using older items before newer ones, food establishments can maintain a higher standard of food safety, earning the trust and loyalty of their customers.

  • Better Inventory Management

FIFO systems facilitate neutral control of stocks. Rotation of inventory stock and managing expiry dates is a must. Maintaining proper stock rotation allows a business to run smoothly and prevents overstocking. Keeping order in the inventory area and avoiding obsolescence saves money and optimally organizes the storage space. The available space is their most sought-after asset. Thus, this enterprise has to be staunchly simple and mistake-proof to ensure operational efficiency and reduce the probability of inventory-related losses.

Disadvantages of FIFO

Though FIFO (First-In, First-Out) is widely applied across the food industry for various reasons, businesses need to know some of the challenges of introducing this practice, which might be faced later.

  • Time Consumption

Implementing the FIFO is an operation that can hardly pass by something if not the close examination of this process and the monitoring of inventories constantly. This is a long process, especially when it comes to a crowded and fast-paced environment where there are many priorities that staff may have. Renewing stocks and expiration dates could be additional workplace tasks that negatively impact the functionality.

  • Risk of Errors

Inconsistent application of FIFO principles can lead to errors in inventory management and product rotation. Staff training may not be perfect, and constantly following policies may be challenging. Therefore, replacing older inventory with newer ones arises. Food spoilage due to errors at the farm or during the transport of farm products can result in waste and lead to health risks for consumers.

To overcome these inefficiencies, FIFO refers to practices that must be pursued continually and extended to training, where they should be instituted. Advanced information systems for inventory management and ongoing reinforcement of FIFO protocols should be the focal points of successful inventory management. This is needed so that it can be more error-free and compelling.

Implementing technological tools and automation where necessary can ease employee workloads and eventually solve common challenges with inventory management.

Implementing the FIFO Rule (How can the FIFO rule be applied in the food processing industry?)

Implementing the FIFO (First in, First Out) model unerringly is a key to guaranteeing product freshness, preventing excessive food waste, and maintaining the standard of food safety. Here’s a comprehensive guide to implementing the FIFO rule effectively in the food processing industry:

Checklist for Implementing FIFO

  • Staff Training

Educate all personnel involved in inventory management about the importance of FIFO and the specific procedures to follow.

  • Labeling

Mark all incoming food items with the date of receipt and expiration/use-by date.

  • Organization

They organize the product storage area by pulling the old ones and placing the new ones behind them.

  • Regular Audits

Task regular inventory checks and food audits to determine products that are already expired or nearing the point of freshness that need to be removed.

  • Communication

Create an open dialogue that will permit kitchen staff, purchasing departments, and management to hear each other and understand the FIFO rules they should follow.

Essential Procedures for Effective FIFO Implementation

  • Rotate Stock

Train staff to use the oldest products first by placing newer items behind them. This ensures that items with earlier expiration dates are utilized promptly.

  • Inspect Inventory

Regularly check inventory levels and inspect products for signs of spoilage or deterioration. Remove any damaged or expired items immediately.

  • Monitor Usage

Simultaneously review the product usage rates, anticipate demand, and increase purchases when necessary. This prevents wastage, as the list only has food items with the least expiry.

  • Temperature Control

Maintain the correct temperature setting in storage areas, which will prolong the shelf life of perishable goods and prevent spoilage.

  • Documentation

Keep detailed records of inventory transactions, including receipts, usage, and disposals. This documentation helps track product movement and ensures compliance with FIFO principles.

Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance

Implementing FIFO is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and maintenance. FIFO refers to procedures that should be regularly reviewed and updated to address any challenges or changes in business operations. Staff members should be encouraged to provide feedback, and their insights should be incorporated to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Examples of FIFO in Action

Enforcing the FIFO (first in, first out) rule in the food industry setup is the foremost step to achieving food quality, minimizing waste, and adhering to food safety standards. Here are some real-world examples of how FIFO is practiced in restaurant environments: Here are some real-world examples of how FIFO is practiced in restaurant environments:

Ingredient Rotation

In the kitchen, cooks and chefs play the FIFO rules when cooking. For instance, instead of handling spoilt vegetables, meat, or other dairy products, they have started using those about to date. Restaurants avoid wasting food by simply cleaning out stock and processing older ingredients before the newer ones expire to guarantee that the food remains fresh and safe.

Stock Management

Restaurant bosses and cooking room staff arrange food storage based on the fundamentals for first-in-first-out areas. They visualize their grocery items so that older inventory is positioned towards the beginning or top of shelves, and the freshest ones are at the back or beneath. Such a measure allows us to exclude the usage of old foods by realizing that it also leads to spoilage and waste.

Preparation Practices

FIFO refers to extending beyond storage to food preparation processes. For example, workers in restaurants follow the FIFO rule whenever they incorporate old ingredients into the recipe or otherwise present them to customers in their dishes. This practice is directed at meeting the quality contamination level; thus, there are slim chances of using ingredients that have passed expiry dates wrong or bad.

Expiry Date Monitoring

Restaurant staff notifies us in due time about expired product life and month-long inventory changes accordingly. For example, a restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator allows employees to check expiration dates on perishables like dairy products, sauces, dressings, and condiments to quickly identify those nearing the end of their shelf life. For example, substituting more products reduces consumer waste and threats to customers’ safety.

Menu Planning

FIFO refers to principles influencing menu planning and unique offerings. When chefs and menu planners plan foods and create daily specials, ingredient shelf life becomes part of their art. Restaurants that introduce ingredients with a limited shelf life into menu items first will optimize their inventory use and minimize the amount of food waste later.

Food Safety Storage Compliance with Technology

Complying with food safety regulations is paramount in the food industry to maintaining consumer trust and safeguarding public health. One area where technology plays a crucial role in upholding food safety standards is storage compliance, particularly regarding implementing FIFO (First-In, First-Out) principles.

Let’s explore how digital solutions are revolutionizing food safety management, with a specific focus on FIFO:

Introducing Digital Solutions

Digital platforms and software applications for food safety management offer comprehensive solutions for maintaining FIFO practices in food storage facilities. These innovative tools leverage advanced technologies to automate and streamline various aspects of inventory management, ensuring precision and efficiency in adhering to FIFO principles.

Key Features of Digital Systems

Digital systems for monitoring food storage compliance have features tailored to FIFO requirements. These include:

Inventory Tracking

Digital systems provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, allowing food businesses to monitor stock movement and track product expiration dates. Automated alerts notify staff when items near expiry, facilitating timely rotation based on FIFO principles.

Barcode Scanning

Many digital platforms support barcode scanning capabilities, enabling seamless identification and labeling of incoming stock. By scanning barcodes, employees can quickly input data into the system, ensuring accurate record-keeping and facilitating FIFO compliance.

Cloud-Based Storage

Cloud-based storage solutions offer secure and centralized repositories for storing critical data related to food safety compliance. This allows stakeholders to access information from anywhere, any time, facilitating collaboration and ensuring that FIFO practices are consistently applied across multiple locations.

Benefits of Using Technology

Embracing technology for food safety storage compliance offers several advantages:

Enhanced Accuracy

Digital systems reduce the risk of human error associated with manual record-keeping, ensuring that FIFO principles are followed meticulously. Accurate inventory data enables businesses to optimize stock rotation and minimize the risk of expired or spoiled products.

Improved Efficiency

Automation streamlines inventory management processes, saving time and resources that can be allocated to other aspects of food safety and operational excellence. By eliminating manual tasks, digital solutions enable staff to focus on proactive measures to enhance food safety standards.

Comprehensive Reporting

Digital platforms generate detailed reports and analytics on food storage compliance, providing insights into inventory turnover rates, product usage trends, and adherence to FIFO guidelines. These actionable insights empower businesses to make informed decisions and improve food safety practices continuously.

How Can We Gain the Best Food Safety Storage Compliance With Ecodocs?

It is important to note that food safety compliance is a top priority for every food business. Hence, the FIFO (First-In, First-Out) system in food storage is essential for meeting the requirements for food safety. Use the Custom EcoDocs Food Safety Software for your organization and enhance your system to new levels of food safety and compliance standards.

  • Tailored for Food Service Establishments, Producers, Processors, Packers, & Retailers:

EcoDocs is a robust undertaking that provides the industry with solutions tailored to accommodate the diverse interests of many stakeholders in the food sector. Whatever your business type may be, whether you operate a shop or manage food production facilities, our software can give you a great deal of ease by standardizing your food safety policy.

  • Digitize food safety with automated HACCP plans and templates:

Forget manual paperwork and tiresome processes with EcoDocs, an instrument that enables the digitalization of HACCP plans and templates. This function simplifies routine tasks and preserves compliance efforts in the proper direction.

  • Customize, monitor, and track all food safety tasks in real-time:

Under EcoDocs, your food safety tasks’ control is all up to you. Define workflows, implement monitoring tests, and track progress as it all happens in real time. It puts you in complete control of the situation, allowing you to promptly resolve emerging problems.

  • Ensure FSIS, HACCP, and BRC compliance with instant alerts:

Compliance with regulatory standards is not optional. With EcoDocs, it is easy to remain compliant with FSIS, HACCP, BRC, and other industrial regulations. The system triggers instant alerts and notifications to report any deviation or system failure.

  • Empower your supervisors with a real-time analytics dashboard:

A real-time information and metrics dashboard will help you determine the effectiveness of food safety programs. Monitor the main metrics, notice trends, and make data-based ones for street safety food practices.

Book a demo today and take the first step towards enhancing your food safety management with EcoDocs!

Minimize Risks and Maximize Efficiency at All Levels
Digitize traceability, reporting, and compliance management processes to prevent food safety issues.



FIFO refers to ensuring food safety and compliance with principles crucial for food businesses’ success and reputation. Implementing EcoDocs Custom Food Safety Software streamlines compliance efforts digitizes processes, and keeps you ahead of regulatory requirements.

With features such as automated HACCP plans, real-time monitoring, and instant alerts, EcoDocs empowers you to achieve the highest food safety standards while saving time and resources. Take control of your food safety today with EcoDocs/ Schedule a demo now and experience the future of food safety management firsthand!


What Does the FIFO Method Stand For?

FIFO stands for “First In, First Out.”

What Does FIFP Refers to?

FIFO refers to a method for organizing and managing data based on the principle that the item stored first is the first one retrieved. In other words, the oldest item in the system is processed first.

How Do You Calculate the FIFO Cost of Goods Sold?

To calculate the FIFO cost of goods sold (COGS), follow these steps:

  • Identify the cost of your oldest inventory.
  • Multiply the cost of your oldest inventory by the quantity of inventory sold.

The formula is COGS = Quantity of goods sold x Cost of inventory sold.

How Do You Restock Food Using FIFO?

To restock food using FIFO (First In, First Out), follow these steps:

  • Identify products with the earliest best-before or use-by dates.
  • Remove any items that have expired or are damaged.
  • Place items with the earliest dates at the front of the storage area.
  • Stock new items behind the front, ensuring those with the latest dates are at the back.
  • Prioritize the use or sale of stock from the front first, ensuring older items are used before newer ones.

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