Vegan protein powders are great for repairing and building muscles, not to mention the bonus of impressing your gym crush with your toned physique.
But just like that block of vegan cheese you forgot about in the back of the fridge, vegan protein powders have an expiration date. And let’s face it; nobody wants to be the person drinking a shake made from expired powder.
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of vegan protein powder expiration and how to avoid being the punchline of a bad joke at the gym. We’ll talk about how long these powders last, how to tell when they’ve gone bad, and some tips for making your protein powder last longer than your last relationship.
So buckle up and get ready to learn about the delicious yet fleeting world of vegan protein powder!
Do Vegan Protein Powders Expire?
Yes, vegan protein powders have an expiry date. However, the good news is that they may often remain edible. There are some instances, though, where your vegan powder becomes unsuitable for eating if it’s expired beyond a specific period.
What does the expiry date on your protein packaging mean? It represents the date until the manufacturer guarantees the protein’s quality and safety as long as it is stored correctly. This date is determined based on various factors, such as ingredients, packaging, and storage conditions. It is usually found on the packaging and is often labeled as “best before” or “use by” date.
The “best before” date indicates that your vegan protein powder will retain its optimal quality and flavor until that date, but it can still be consumed after that date if it has been stored properly and does not show any signs of spoilage.
The “use by” date is usually found on perishable food items, such as dairy, meat, and seafood, and it indicates the last date that the food should be consumed to ensure safety and prevent the risk of foodborne illness. Consuming food after the use-by date can be risky and should be avoided.
Vegan protein powders are mostly labeled as “best before.”
Determining your Vegan Protein Powder’s Expiry
Many vegans taking protein powders often have multiple plant-based powders at home. Their rising popularity makes them a common addition to most fitness and health diets. However, this also makes it hard to remember old containers or packets while trying out new brands.
Manufacturers will typically mention the print date somewhere on the container. However, in most vegan protein powders, this expiry date remains about 24 months from the manufactured date.
You have roughly two years to finish the contents, which is enough time for containers of any size. So ensure you keep them around only a short time after the contents cross expiry.
An advisable thing to do here is only to purchase a few additional protein products before you finish the initial batches. That way, you can try out different powders without them going past the expiry period.
Is It Safe to Consume Expired Vegan Protein Powder?
Vegan protein powders may have different expiry dates depending on their type and composition.
While some users prefer the fibrous benefits of hemp protein, others may enjoy the mineral-rich pea protein. Meanwhile, some users may choose brown rice over soy protein.
Today, the market provides unique protein blends containing content from different plant-based sources. These options suit users who may wish to get selective benefits from different vegan proteins.
In each type, the expiry may vary slightly. So, the safety of consuming them after expiry may also depend on this period.
In vegan protein powders, the printed expiry date normally expresses the quality, not the safety. So, safe consumption may be possible after expiry, but fewer benefits may exist.
Expiry Date is not an Exact Science
Expiry dates on vegan protein powders are not precise calculations. So, the dates mentioned are estimates.
This implies that the actual expiry of the powder may be days, weeks, or even months after the printed date. In this case, consuming the powder beyond the printed date is still safe and nutritious.
However, a slight risk is involved here because you don’t know the exact date. So, watch for signs of expiry, like a change in color or aroma (more on this later).
The printed date is still your closest idea on expiry, although it may be less than 100% accurate.
Another advantage of vegan protein powders enjoying extended durability is their dry content and storage.
The powder itself is in dry form and doesn’t contain any dairy, allowing for better preservation than fresh foods. It lasts even longer if you store it in dry cabinets. Dry enclosures prevent moisture from building up and allow microorganisms to destroy food.
Proper storage and correct preservation practices may allow safe consumption even after expiration.
Risks of Consuming Vegan Protein Powder After Expiry
Like any other food product, consuming your pea or soy protein powder after expiry involves some hazards.
Studies show that products like Whey protein will deteriorate in quality within the first year of storage if regularly exposed to a higher temperature. So, the nutritional value will decrease significantly, and even the powder’s appearance will appear unsafe.
With higher temperatures, there’s more risk of microbes appearing and thriving. In such cases, consumption may cause stomach upsets and other side effects.
Consuming your protein powder before the expiry date remains the best option if you want the best-case scenario in nutrition, taste, and appearance.
How To Tell If Expired Vegan Protein Powder Is Still Good?
Identifying the quality of your protein powder is crucial for healthy consumption after expiry. However, it would be best if you did not make it a regular practice. In any case, you should throw out the powder if you see or detect any of the following changes in the powder:
- Unusual taste
- Unusual smell
- Unusual appearance
You’ll already know what your protein powder tastes like, whether prepared as a shake or mixed with oatmeal. However, if you find that the taste and flavor of the powder are different, consider how long it’s been sitting in your kitchen.
If the powder tastes ‘off’ or unusual, it’s usually best to get rid of it and go for a new batch. A bad taste may indicate that the powder has worsened. So, there’s less nutrition and an increased risk of unpleasant conditions.
Storing vegan protein powder in higher temperatures may lead to undesirable taste changes.
Vegan protein powders come with a distinct smell that’s easily identifiable. For instance, flavored protein powder will have a specific aroma. However, even standard protein powders with no particular flavor have a faint but unmistakable smell.
Remember this smell and be cautious if the smell changes. The powder’s aroma is an obvious indicator of its quality. Therefore, any change in aroma should be considered worrisome and worth replacing at the earliest.
Check to see if the color or texture of your powder has changed. Most of the time, the composition and ingredients of the powder determine its color.
Vegan protein powders with a single protein source may carry a lighter and more subtle color. On the other hand, protein blends or nutrient-rich powders may come with a stronger color. Consider removing the product if you notice that your powder is changing color.
Sometimes the texture also reveals unhealthy conditions. For example, vegan protein powders past their utility may carry a different texture than when they were new.
The formation of clumps is another sign of your vegan protein powder going bad. In its best condition, your powder should be soft, smooth, and easy to scoop.
Inconsistency in softness will lead to clumps and morsels that stick together. Powders like that should be discarded even if the expiry date isn’t yet. They’ve most probably lost their nutritional benefits with decreased protein content.
Avoiding the Expiry Dilemma
Expired vegan protein powder will offer confusion about whether to consume or discard.
It may still be suitable if the powder tastes, feels, and looks good. In such cases, immediate consumption without delay may be advised.
However, if any apparent signs of deterioration appear, it’s best to discard them entirely. Even if it doesn’t cause adverse effects, it will not offer any positive benefits either.
So, consuming your protein powder before they approach its expiry is still the best practice. Here are a few ways you can ensure timely consumption.
Buying in Bulk
Buying your protein powder in batches will allow easy identification of expiry and quality. You know that all of your protein powders are more or less in the same condition because they all arrived together.
There’s no confusion about tracking individual containers’ expiry because they all belong to the same batch. Check the expiry label before purchasing and consume them before that date arrives.
If buying in bulk, try to ration your powders to last for the year.
Rationing for an entire year has two clear advantages. One, you know exactly what quantity to buy based on the number of weeks or months remaining in the year. Consumption automatically aligns with the powder’s “best before” dates.
For instance, you can ration 45-50 lbs of vegan protein powder for the entire year if your diet demands two protein shakes per day. This quantity will last you about a year; most powders last over 20 months in their best condition.
Storing the powders correctly goes a long way in ensuring their quality and nutrition. As mentioned earlier, dry storage is vital. Make sure the storage area remains free of moisture to avoid the buildup of microorganisms.
Stick to the original containers that come with seals. Containers for protein powder must remain airtight and secure.
Additionally, correct temperature also plays a part in sustaining the powder quality. Cool cabinets remain the best option. However, don’t store the powder in your refrigerator. Temperature changes as you take the container out and in will affect the powder’s integrity.
Consuming vegan protein powders after expiry may be safe but with lowered benefits. So, the best advice is to create a protein-intensive diet that you can follow for the near future. This way, meals, shakes, or snacks can all be consumed before expiry.