When buying food at the airport, it can be difficult to tell which of the many prepackaged items is the freshest.
Now, a TikTok user has sparked a discussion with her own take on how to find the freshest airport food. In a video with over 185,000 views, user Mariel (@marielynoalopz) explains it simply: take the food from the back of the refrigerator.
“POV: you have 4 years of food and [beverages] experience. now you know how to pick the food at the airport,” she wrote in the text overlaying the video.
@marielynoalopz Side note: don’t ever take the front food from the refrigerators or coolers. Always take the last one 😉 #airporthack #reststophsck #food #airport ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
Mariel believes that the food in the back of the refrigerator is fresher than that in the front because many stores “rotate” their food.
This means that, as items are purchased from the front of the shelf, the items in the back are pushed forward and newer items replace them. If a store follows this practice, it would be correct to assume that the freshest items are in the back.
This is sometimes referred to as the “First In, First Out” rule, or FIFO.
To some on TikTok, this seemed obvious.
“That’s just common sense,” wrote one user.
“I never pick the [first] of anything. I always hit the back,” added another.
However, some users claimed that, while FIFO may be the rule in many stores, in practice, this isn’t always the case.
“Well i work in food and beverage and know everyone does this and the front ends up being fresher anyway,” claimed one user.
“At my store idgaf and I just put the new stuff at the front cause I don’t have time for that,” shared a second.
“People really need to figure out that this only works with milk,” alleged a third. “they are not taking the time to push new things to the back.”
In response to comments like these, Mariel says she also checks expiration dates to ensure the freshest product.
“…another tip they have expiration date in the bottom after they put it on the floor,” she wrote in a commenter. “Just check them.”
Update 3:45pm CT, Dec. 7: In an email to Daily Dot, Mariel added further thoughts on the issue.
“It’s not about the customer, it’s about the company and employees,” she wrote. “When it comes to business, [the] company as a whole has to deliver the best customer service, so let’s start from there. Having so many years of experience in food and beverages, I always loved the job and the fact of providing a great customer service. My strategy for delivering fresh food to [the] customer was to follow FIFO but whithin 24 hours. Sometimes food used to be in the fridge for [a] couple of days and for me it wasn’t the first thing to do.”