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What is the FIFO Method of Food Storage?

A commercial kitchen needs efficiency and a well organized space to run as smoothly as possible. The FIFO method is the best method to keep kitchens organized and also prevent as much food waste as possible. Find out below what FIFO stands for and some best practices you can use in your commercial kitchen.

FIFO Explained

FIFO is a popular method of organization in multiple commercial spaces, standing for “first in, first out”. The FIFO method is used to organize food products and ingredients to rotate food and prevent food waste and safety. It starts by organizing the oldest products in front and the newest products in the back. By putting the newer products in back and older products in the front, it prevents older food from being pushed to the back and then spoiling. 

Using the Method

When using the FIFO method, it is very important that everyone involved be following the proper procedures. Everyone should always pull the first from the front and then the next oldest date after that. Products best-by labels should be checked regularly and anything past their dates should be immediately removed and discarded. 

All About Labels

Labels and best-by dates are the most important to keep consumable foods organized. Keep all items clearly marked and labeled with their best-by date and make sure the labels are visible at all times. Labels will make it easier for staff to glance and check for any spoiled foods quickly. Always check the expiration dates on a regular basis to toss any food that's expired. Tossing food right away will prevent any bad odors from stinking up storage. 

Organizing Tips

  • Similar foods together - Try organizing similar food together to keep items that have similar best-by times together. Rice and flour will have longer best-by dates than dairy or produce. Check out our article on commercial kitchen cold storage organizing to get advice on how best to organize cold storage with the FIFO method. 
  • Recording food temperatures - It is recommended to record food and food equipment temperatures twice a day. This will help check for any food that could have spoiled if any equipment malfunctioned. 
  • Don’t overload refrigerators - For cold food organizing, it is essential to not overload products in refrigerators. Overloading it could cause temperature malfunctions 
  • Keep food sealed - While checking labels and keeping everything organized, also make sure that ingredients and food are properly sealed and stored! The best-by date will be useless if food isn’t properly sealed away and it becomes stale or spoiled. 
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