What Is The Best Storable Food?We've been selling and eating storable food for over 21 years now. During that time, we have eaten many different types of storable food - freeze dried and dehydrated from the different companies that we carry (and a few others).
We've gone further than most - incoporating our food storage as part of our daily diet. Every day, we've eaten something from our own food storage program. This has allowed us to know first-hand what is best, and what we like the most, and even what we haven't liked.
We've also found out from direct experience what foods will actually last many years and retain their key characteristics (taste, texture, flavor and nutrition). Some of our food is over 20 years old now and we've still been able to enjoy it.
In a nutshell, the best storable food will have these qualities:
Not all food storage is worth what you paid for it, even when 'new.' We've found some products simply do not last, or have a bad taste, or they can even be so unique and "different" that you won't much enjoy them regardless.
The reason Rainy Day came out on top is the food is simple - no additives, so it does not absorb any other flavors. You can prepare these products and season to taste yourself. Their shelf life was also amazing, which made these foods a real bargain when they were finally eaten. By the time they were consumed (over two decades later) the price of those same foods had risen many times.
Mountain House was our top choice for freeze dried food. It has become readily apparent that they take more time to package their food in durable long lasting packages. Whether it was cans or pouches, none of our Mountain House inventory had leaked once; even far past their expiration date - and this is a huge issue, because oxygen will break down food quality and nutrition. Of any of the other aforementioned brands, we did not find them to last as long. You should plan to eat them before their expiration. Some were so bad even when "new" that we wanted our money back!
The other thing we've found is the taste and texture was considerably better with Mountain House foods. Mountain House only produces freeze dried food (no dehydrated foods) in entrees (prepared meals) and even when opened up past their expiration date, it was still very tasty and enjoyable to eat. This was a hands-down winner. Unfortunately, this was not so with the other brands. After a few bites and finding it mostly inedible with a chemical after-taste, we had to toss the food out.
Not suprising, both Rainy Day and Mountain House have the best shelf life. These are based in real-world examples too (not estimates). We've found that several companies have dishonestly estimated their shelf life claims (some of them haven't even been in business that long), but in our experience, their food will not last anywhere near the claimed time period before becoming inedible. The reasons are many: improper packaging, poor quality oxygen absorbers (or none at all), cheap packaging ("totes" and pouches), packaging failures (leakage), food additives, food preservatives, or ingredients that simply won't last as long as advertised.
There is a huge amount of hype and propaganda about food storage, particularly about how long it is supposed to last. Well, here's the real deal - most of these claims are false.
There are two issues of importance here: 1) product shelf life, and 2) product servings and calories:
In summary, only the companies that have been around long enough to have first-hand experience with the actual shelf life of the food can be deemed reputable. Everyone else is just "guessing" or passing on what they've read elsewhere - or worse, inflating the numbers to make a sale (false advertising at its finest). The storable food industry has had quite a few newcomers within the last few years and we've been unwilling to trust their claims without evidentiary proof.
Unfortunately, this is now a pretty common practice across this industry; advertised claims that do not match up with reality. Ultimately, this reveals the importance of using only time-tested manufacturers with decades of actual, real-world experience.