Like most food products, Wilton Candy Melts candy, icing, fondant, and sprinkles all have a best-buy or manufacturing dates; however, it takes a little code-breaking to decipher it! Here’s our helpful guide on how to read Wilton manufacuring dates.

Though Wilton Candy Melts candy, fondant, sprinkles, and meringue powder all have a long shelf life, they don’t last forever. Like most food products, our candies and edible decorations are stamped with a best-buy or manufacturing date so you can use them at their freshest. However, this date uses the Julian date code rather than traditional calendar dates.

What is the Julian Date Code?

The Julian date code is a 5-digit number stamped onto the packaging of your food. The first two numbers represent the year of manufacture. Download the Julian Date Calendar for reference. For example:

  • 21114 is 2021
  • 20294 is 2020
  • 19221 is 2019

The last three numbers represent the day (out of 365) that the food expires. Remember, day #1 is January 1; day #365 is December 31st. So, for the examples above, the 114th day of 2021 was April 24th, meaning April 24, 2021 is the manufactured date for the food item. Here are the dates for the other examples:

  • 21114 is April 24th
  • 20294 is October 20th
  • 19221 is August 9th

Here are some benchmark numbers for better deciphering the Julian date on your package:

  • 001 (1st day of the year) – January 1st
  • 050 (50th day of the year) – February 19th
  • 100 (100th day of the year) – April 10th
  • 150 (150th day of the year) – May 30th
  • 200 (200th day of the year) – July 19th
  • 250 (250th day of the year) – September 7th
  • 300 (300th day of the year) – October 27th
  • 350 (350th day of the year) – December 16th
  • 365 (365th day of the year) – December 31st

No matter what day of the week the new year starts on, January 1st will always be the first day of the year, so these benchmark numbers apply to all calendar years.

Can I Still Eat Items that Have Past Their Freshness Date?

If the food items you have are past their best-buy date, they are not harmful if consumed. However, they may not perform or taste as a fresh batch would.

Here are some common freshness dates for popular Wilton products:

Food Product Freshness Range
Candy Melts candy Within 18 months of coded date
Icing colors Within 36 months of coded date
Fondant Within 18 months of coded date
Color Right food coloring Within 48 months of coded date
Sprinkles Within 36 months of coded date
Decorator Icing/Frosting Within 12 months of coded date
Meringue Powder Within 24 months of coded date
Gingerbread and Cookie Kits Within 12 months of coded date

And that’s all there is to it! Now you can enjoy Wilton Candy Melts, icing colors, fondant, sprinkles and more at their freshest!