How To Store Protein Powder? (Tubs vs. Pouches)

How To Store Protein Powder? (Tubs vs. Pouches)

By Jen Evansy / October 12, 2019

Here are simple tips on how to store protein powder for the long term, whether it comes in a tub or in a bag. Make sure it is working for you, not against.

An open bag of protein powder

Protein powder is a dry food product with a relatively good shelf life. Typically, it comes in a screw-top tube or container that can be easily closed, stacked, and stored.

However, if your powder comes in a pouch bag, then you should take some extra steps to ensure it stays fresh for longer.

Follow these simple steps listed below to ensure you keep your supplement as fresh as possible and safe to consume.

How To Keep Protein Powder Fresh

  1. Store it in a cool, dry, and dark place. Temperatures of around 72°F and below are the best for storing dry foods.
  2. After each use, close the container's lid tightly to prevent the powder from becoming moist.
  3. Be careful not to let any liquid get into the tub while it is open.
  4. Routinely check the expiration date of the tub and dispose of any unused supplement beyond this date.

If you keep your protein powder in the same container that you bought it in, you should have no problems keeping it fresh for a long time. Even modest consumption should mean that you'll finish it well before the expiration date.

What if your protein powder came in a pouch or a bag?

stand up pouch

Many supplement companies ship their products in stand up pouches and flat bottom bags.

Now, if you have bought your protein powder in bulk, it may come in a flat bottom bag or stand up pouch with a grip seal, zip lock, or even a one-time-use seal.

If this is the case, you'll definitely need to take some care while storing it to ensure it stays fresh. Powders that are sold in a pouch bags can develop an odor after only a couple of days from it being opened.

Here are some tips on how to keep your big bag of powder not smelling bad.

Always seal the pouch securely and only have it open for the minimum amount of time, the same goes for the tub. Exposure to outside elements is not good for protein powder storage. So avoid oxygen, sunlight, heat, and moisture; mainly these last two.

You should store your protein powder in a cool, dark, and dry space. A kitchen cupboard, office desk drawer, or wardrobe are ideal storage spaces for your supplement. Do not store it in the fridge.

Following these couple of straightforward steps 'should' allow you to keep your protein powder fresh and smelling good for some time.

But I can tell you from my experience, and I am sure many people can relate to that, however carefully you seal your bag after using it, there will always be a tiny cap left open. This little opening is usually enough to let the moisture and air get in the bag, and that would accelerate the deteriorating process very rapidly.

But don't worry, there is an easy solution for that. Once you have opened the pouch for the first time, transfer its content immediately to the resealable tub or a container.

You can use a screw-top container that previously held edible powders, or you can purchase a new one. If you're buying one, make sure it is a waterproof, airtight, leak-proof, and saleable container. A proper container will last you for years, and you can use it for all types of dry food storage and not just for supplements.

➡️ Here is a good airtight food storage container that I bought. It has a large opening and built-in level. Check it out here >>>

➡️ Or get a really large one that has an airtight seal with the press of a button. Check it out here >>>

Transferring your protein powder to an airtight container will increase its use time many many times over. It is also a lot easier to scoop it out from the container rather than form the bag.

How To Easily Transfer Your Protein From A Bag To A Tub?

It does sound like a no-brainer, you just pour it into the tub, right. But anybody who has tried it will know that it is not that easy, and simply attempting to do so will make you waste a lot of expensive supplement.

So here are a few tips and tricks for how to transfer your protein powder from a pouch to the tub without any spillage.

  • Find a clean, dry tub.
  • Do not open your bag all the way.
  • Cut a 4-inch cap at both corners of the pouch.
  • Carefully pour the powder from one of these corners.
  • If your tub opening is narrow, use a wide funnel.

Can I Use Protein Powder After It Expires?

Tubs of a supplement on the table

Out of all the protein powders on the market, Whey Isolate is probably the most popular one. Other plant-based options are also gaining popularity fast, such as soy, egg white, casein, and vegan alternatives. All of them have a similar shelf life, whether it is concentrates, isolates or hydrolysates.

Each type should have its' use by' or 'best before' date clearly marked on the bag or container. This is not an expiration date, and it is safe to consider your protein powder still usable for a couple of months after this date.

Often it will remain edible for up to 12 months after the date shown. People can still be using their product to make shakes 2 to 3 years later.

It all boils down to personal preference, and you may not wish to use the product very long after the 'best before' date. This may especially be the case if you're into muscle building as the powder starts losing its effectiveness after its use-by dates.

How Does Opened Protein Powder Lose Its Potency?

A woman taking protein after running

This can happen through a chemical reaction known as Maillard browning. In this process, protein reacts with sugar, resulting in a breakdown of the amino acid lysine. Loss of lysine means that the protein powder cannot do the job that it was designed to do, as it is no longer a complete protein.

Having said that, it is incredibly difficult for this to happen as protein powders are dry, meaning that microbes will find it near impossible to grow. So, these products seldom go off the way that dairy or meat products do. Your shake should be fine to drink even days after the product expiry date.

There is something else that you need to consider regarding your protein drink mix; they very often contain other vitamins, minerals or even carbs. These vitamins and minerals can often lose their effects after the expiry date has passed. This is a particular problem if you are using your protein shake as a daily dietary supplement or meal replacement drink.

How To Tell If Protein Powder Is Bad?

A man is checking protein supplement for freshness

If your protein powder has gone bad, it is generally pretty easy to tell. Most powders are egg or milk-based, and they will give off an unpleasant odor when they have gone bad.

If there is no moisture present, but the product doesn't smell or look quite right, you can give it a quick taste test. Dip a wet finger into the powder and just taste it. When it tastes like cardboard you should get rid of it.

Additionally to smelling bad, when your protein has gone bad, you will notice wet clumps of powder indicating that moisture has gotten inside. Again, if this is the case, you should chuck it away immediately. Ingress of water to your supplement will ruin it really quickly and well before the expiry date. Keep any moisture out of your tub.

How Long Can You Keep Protein Shake After Mixing?

How long does mixed protein shakes last?

A protein shake is drinkable for up to two days after mixing it with water. When you mix up your protein powder with water to make a shake, you should keep it in a good, airtight container and stored in the fridge. If not held in the refrigerator, then consume it on the same day. Before you drink it, give it a good shake to mix it up again. 

Other Ways To Extend The Life Of Whey Protein?

If you've over-bought on your whey or any other protein and you're finding it difficult to get through it all before the expiry date, there is one more simple fix. Stick a few packets of silica gel that will take up any moisture that starts to form. Even if you don't need to extend the life of your whey protein, you could still use these gels to reduce moisture building up inside the tub or a pouch. 

About the author

    Jen Evansy

    Nutritionists, researchers, and writers, interested in everything healthy-living related. Helping you identify the best diets, learn about food and nutrition, to help you live happier, longer and stronger.

  • Jim B. says:

    Great tips and tricks here. I have been using some supplements for a few months now and it is far better to buy it in bulk, much cheaper and convenient. Anyways, I noticed that the bulk orders I was doing were not lasting long enough for me in comparison to the smaller bags. I had no idea this stuff could go bad so quickly! Is it an option to put the pouch in the fridge? Like would that make it last longer without needing to transfer it to smaller bags?


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