Options abound when it comes to choosing a Freeze Dried Food (FDF) brand to trust. Total Prepare has done much of the legwork already, narrowing our selection carefully to a handful of brands we keep in our own kits. Today we’ll look at the most common question we receive at Total Prepare.
What’s the Difference Between These FDF Brands?
Great question! As covered last week, the biggest factors to look at when deciding on a FDF brand are calories and protein, but there are other elements that also come into play. Shelf life, allergies/sensitivities, cost, and taste are other aspects that we’ll also include in this article. Without further ado, let’s jump into our most popular brands!
We are proud to be the sole Canadian distributor of Legacy Freeze Dried Food. It’s a great brand and a staff favourite to recommend to all our customers and to pack into our own kits too. Heck, we even take it camping!
Legacy meal pouches have a shelf life of 25 years when unopened, making them perfect for set it and forget it preparedness. They have the lowest cost per pound in the industry (for pre-made meals) so they’re top notch for value, couple this with their stacking buckets for convenient storage and you have a great solution for families or businesses looking to prepare.
Big serving sizes are a priority for Legacy Food, and as a result they have the largest serving sizes around, often offering a third more food than the competition in the same number of servings. All of our Legacy options are vegetarian, with gluten free options available, non-GMO, and have no added MSG.
In order to make their meals so lightweight and long-lasting, manufacturers freeze dry their food. In order for the end user (you and me) to undo the magic and make the meals okay to eat we need to rehydrate and cook them. This means that to prepare any freeze dried food (including those below) extra water and a heat source is required. On average, Legacy uses 6 cups of water per pouch (4 servings) and requires cooking for 15-20 minutes.
The second challenge for keeping FDF is storage temperature. In order to maintain that wonderful 25 year shelf life freeze dried foods (Legacy included) need to be kept at a cool, dry, consistent temperature. 11 Degrees Celsius is ideal.
Wise Food also boasts a 25 year shelf life for long term storage, storing easily in stackable pails with ergonomic carrying handles. Smaller pouch sizes make Wise a great option for couples or individuals who might not finish a larger pouch, taking leftover management out of the equation.
Wise Food takes less water to cook than other brands (1 cup per serving) and can be removed from heat once it is brought to a boil, preserving potentially precious fuel. While the taste is similar to Legacy options, Wise generally pulls ahead in blind taste tests.
As with all Freeze Dried Food, Wise encounters the same temperature requirements for storage. Cool, dry places are best. It also still requires a stove and extra water to cook (though less than it’s counterparts). The smaller serving sizes make it extra important to watch your calorie counts. Three meals a day might not cut it.
Augason Farms is easily the most economical option for freeze dried meals. Every package is tailored to maximize raw calories and fill bellies quickly and efficiently. The clear labeling is excellent for ensuring that you’re getting enough food energy each day, detailing how many calories to expect and for how many days. Many of their meal packages even come with a meal plan to keep you on track.
Bulk fruits and vegetables is where Augason Farms really shines. Packaged with longer shelf lives in attractive, clearly labelled pails or #10 cans they’re perfect for filling out your emergency food storage with important vitamins and minerals. Not to mention they’re tasty!
Where Legacy and Wise Foods both offer a large variety of meals (13+ menu options) Augason Farms keeps things simple, offering 6 meals and a handful of snacks and sides. For short term emergencies this is great, but if you’re hunkering down for a week or more the lack of variety isn’t ideal.
As one might expect with an economy option, Augason Farms is less flavourful than its counterparts. While it does a great job of keeping survivors full, it definitely tastes like emergency food.
As above, Augason Farms requires additional water and a heat source to cook, and it’s shelf life is shorter than Legacy or Wise, coming in at 10-20 years, depending on the meal.
Whether you’re feeding Legacy to a family or persons with sensitivities, storing Wise for a couple or individual, or cashing in on the economical Augason Farms packages, all of these brands are a great addition to any emergency food store. Why not try them all?
If you have any questions about freeze dried food, or would like to suggest a topic for a future post, please feel free to leave a comment, email, or give us a call! Thank you for reading and join us next week as we look into alternative food storage options like SOS calorie bars, Backpacker’s Pantry, and bulk fruits, veggies, and meat.
This article was written by Zenia Platten – Writer and emergency preparedness professional.