Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive
2. Freeze dried food is EXPENSIVE – Because of the intensive time and energy of the process, freeze dried foods are almost double the cost of dehydrated foods. The past few years a Harvest Right (affiliate) has started selling “personal” freeze dryer machines which are well over $1000, but it allows you to do freeze drying in your home.

Why is freeze-dried so expensive?

Why is a freeze dryer so expensive? – Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive The cost of freeze dryer models has been dropping in cost due to the expansion of interested customers. In the last 5 years, the cost has dropped dramatically by almost $2500 on the smallest home freeze dryer, Yet the cost of the cheapest model on the market is still a small investment for your kitchen.

On average, the cheapest model that you can buy is going to cost about $2000 to $2500 for a freeze dryer with an oil-based pump. The reason that freeze dryers are expensive has a lot to do with the vacuum pump. These pumps are a bit different than the kind that air-conditioner technicians use in their work.

What these pumps do is remove most of the air inside the freeze dryer to create a near-vacuum similar to outer space. The whole scientific process is called Lyophilization and uses a combination of rapid freezing that ranges between -30 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Then as the food is frozen, it becomes exposed to a high vacuum as the food is warmed.
  2. The vapor that comes off the food then is filtered out of the freeze dryer while the food becomes completely freeze-dried.
  3. It’s not exactly a science experiment but the process in fact is pure science! For this reason, the entire chamber needs to be air-tight to withstand the vacuum chamber forces.

Vacuum pumps that are used for this process will also cost more if they are oil-free. The advantage of oil-free pumps over oil pumps is never having any need to change the oil inside the pump. Once the oil has become contaminated, the time it takes for the pump to remove the air within the chamber takes longer each time.

Is freeze-dried fruit cost effective?

Advantages of Freeze-drying –

  • Easy preparation. Food is prepared for freeze-drying the same way food is prepared for regular freezing. After rinsing and removing blemishes, blanch most vegetables; pretreat fruits if necessary to prevent browning; meats can be freeze-dried cooked or raw; casseroles are typically assembled from already cooked foods. Place the product on the trays and push the button to start the machine.
  • Freeze-drying can preserve foods other preservation methods cannot, such as most dairy or egg products.
  • Freeze-drying can replace pressure canning of low acid foods.
  • Storage. When finished, freeze-dried products are shelf-stable, lightweight, and food safe for longer other food preservation methods. Conservative food safety estimates of commercial food “canned” in metal-Mylar-type pouches is 8 to 10 years (Jahner & Nummer, 2008). This does not address the food quality after that time, only the food safety. However, no real data exists on the shelf-life of home freeze-dried products, because the company that invented and manufactured the first home freeze-dryer began sales in 2013.
  • Nutrition. Nutrition labels of commercially freeze-dried broccoli, pineapple and cooked chicken chunks compare favorably to nutrient data of raw or commercially frozen products (see the USDA Food Composition Database).
  • Taste. Freeze-dried products rehydrate more fully than dehydrated products, so the taste and texture are closer to fresh with a freeze-dried product than with a dehydrated product.
  • Cost. Home freeze-dried foods are substantially cheaper than commercially freeze-dried foods. Even including supplies and electricity costs, the commercial companies often have a mark-up of up to 85% more than a home-produced product (Jessen, 2018).

Why are freeze-dried berries so expensive?

The Surprising Truth Behind Expensive Freeze Dried Foods: An Insider’s Look Why Freeze Drying Is Expensive: A Closer Look at the Process Have you ever wondered, “Why is freeze dried food so expensive?” The answer lies in the intricate process and the benefits that come with these delicious, shelf-stable products.

Freeze N Dried, the market leader, understands this well and offers a wide variety of exceptional freeze dried foods. Understanding the Freeze Drying Process Freeze drying, or lyophilization, involves freezing, sublimation, and desorption. This complex process preserves the taste, texture, and nutritional value of the food, but the advanced technology comes at a cost.

The Three Crucial Steps

Quick Freezing: First, the food gets frozen quickly to preserve its original structure, which helps maintain its shape and texture when rehydrated later. Sublimation: Next, manufacturers place the frozen food in a vacuum chamber, where they lower the pressure. The ice then sublimates, directly transforming from a solid to a vapor, bypassing the liquid phase. This step is vital in preserving the food’s structure and nutritional content. Desorption: Lastly, the food undergoes desorption, where any remaining moisture is removed. This ensures a long shelf life and prevents bacterial growth.

Selecting Premium Ingredients Freeze N Dried knows that quality is essential for creating the best freeze dried foods. They source first-rate ingredients to deliver the most delicious and nutritious products, which inevitably adds to the final cost. The Longevity Advantage One of the main reasons people are willing to pay a premium for freeze dried foods is their long shelf life.

These products can last up to 25 years, making them perfect for emergency preparedness, camping trips, or even everyday snacking. Freeze N Dried: Leading the Market Freeze N Dried offers an impressive range of freeze dried products, from fruits like freeze dried strawberries and freeze dried pineapple to meals like freeze dried mac and cheese and even freeze dried ice cream.

Committed to providing the highest quality foods, they constantly innovate to cater to their customers’ needs. Why Choosing Freeze N Dried Is a Smart Decision Freeze N Dried stands out as the market leader for their commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

Why do people buy freeze-dried food?

How does it work? – Raw foods are comprised of about 80%–95% water, which can be divided into “free” and “bound” water. While free water freezes, bound water doesn’t ( 1 ). In the freeze-drying process, all free water and some bound water must be removed, and free water must remain frozen at all times.

  1. Freezing: The product is often frozen under atmospheric pressure.
  2. Primary drying: Also known as proper freeze-drying, this is the sublimation step in which frozen free water is removed.
  3. Secondary drying: Also known as desorption drying, it’s the drying of products to their desired humidity by removing the remaining bound water.

Freeze-drying should be performed in controlled conditions that do not melt the water, seeing that the presence of liquid water may change the product’s composition, shape, and physical properties ( 1 ). That would likely lead to a significant reduction of the product’s shelf life ( 1 ).

Once frozen water is removed via sublimation, the remaining product develops a highly porous structure. However, adding water rehydrates the product again almost immediately ( 1 ). Summary Freeze-drying is a form of dehydration that removes a product’s water content by turning it from ice to vapor. The three-step process preserves a product’s nutritional value, taste, and appearance while extending shelf life.

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Freeze-dried foods are a healthy food choice. In fact, freeze-drying is one of the most common dehydration methods due to its numerous benefits. Freeze-drying is one of the best ways to retain the activity of beneficial plant compounds, such as phytochemicals, and nutrients while preserving color, flavor, and structure.

  1. That’s why it’s widely used to produce high-value food products ( 3, 5, 6 ).
  2. For instance, studies show that compared with other drying methods, freeze-drying is the most effective at retaining antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid or vitamin C ( 3, 7 ).
  3. Antioxidants are beneficial compounds that help fight off the damaging effects of oxidative stress in your body.

They’re also the compounds behind most fruit and vegetables’ health benefits ( 7, 8 ). However, while freeze-drying may sometimes even increase a fruit’s phytochemical concentration, the opposite may also be true, depending on the fruit ( 3 ). Additionally, given that decreased water activity inhibits the growth of most bacteria, yeasts, and molds, by removing a product’s water content, freeze-drying helps prolong a food’s shelf life ( 2, 4, 5 ).

  • This is especially important for fresh plant-based foods, which may not be available year-round ( 3 ).
  • Lastly, removing a product’s water content leads to a reduced volume and weight, making it easier to handle, storage, and transport ( 2, 3, 4 ).
  • Summary Freeze-drying helps retain nutrients and phytochemicals in foods.

Therefore, freeze-dried foods are a healthy food choice. It also prolongs a product’s shelf life and facilitates storage, handling, and transportation. Freeze-dried foods are often used for hiking, camping, space exploration, emergency and survival applications, and military rations.

  • Fruits: strawberries, apples, blackberries, bananas, pears, oranges, and fruit puree
  • Vegetables: almost all vegetables, such as carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, pumpkin, and tomatoes
  • Meats: beef, fish, chicken, eggs, pork, turkey, and shrimp
  • Grains: rice, beans, pasta, quinoa, and polenta
  • Frozen meals: whole meals like Pad Thai, stews, chili, and snacks
  • Beverages: milk, juices, coffee, and tea for instant drinks
  • Spices: ginger, oregano, mint, basil, and garlic
  • Sweeteners: maple syrup for sugar powder

Summary A wide range of foods can be preserved by freeze-drying, including fruits, vegetables, meats, whole meals, grains, beverages, spices, and sweeteners. Freeze-drying makes an excellent food preservation method. However, there are some potential downsides to consider.

  1. First, while reducing a product’s water availability diminishes microbial growth, disease-causing microorganisms in raw foods can survive the drying process and remain present during storage.
  2. They can cause foodborne illness when eaten ( 4 ).
  3. Therefore, foods that need to be cooked before consumption must also be cooked before being freeze-dried.

Second, despite preserving foods’ antioxidant content, the high porosity of freeze-dried products allows easy access to oxygen, which may lead to higher levels of oxidation or degradation of bioactive compounds ( 2, 7 ). Summary Freeze-drying doesn’t kill bacteria present in raw food.

  • Thus, you must cook raw foods before freeze-drying to avoid foodborne illness.
  • The high porosity of freeze-dried foods may lead to greater degradation of nutrients.
  • Freeze-drying requires specialized and often expensive equipment that works under a specific temperature and pressure.
  • However, you can still freeze-dry foods at home by following the freezer method if you don’t want to invest in a home freeze-drying machine.

Here are the steps you need to follow for the freezer method. It doesn’t require special equipment, yet it does take the longest.

  1. If necessary, wash, dry, and cook the food.
  2. Cut it into 1-inch squares, or as small and even as you’d like. It is best to avoid large chunks of food.
  3. Place the food into a single layer on a tray and place the tray in your freezer. It’ll take roughly one week to freeze-dry foods in the freezer properly.
  4. Test your food by removing a piece from the freezer and letting it thaw. If it returns to its natural or standard color, the process is complete. Yet, if the food turns black or dark brown upon thawing, it hasn’t freeze-dried completely.
  5. Store your freeze-dried foods in airtight containers,

Summary You can easily freeze-dry foods at home without purchasing specialized equipment by following the freezer method. Freeze-drying is a way of dehydrating frozen food via a process that transforms ice into vapor, also known as sublimation. It is a healthy food preservation method, as it retains most of the beneficial plant compounds and nutrients in foods, as well as their color, taste, and appearance.

What is the point of freeze-drying fruit?

2. Closest to the fresh form – Freeze-drying retains nutritional value better than other drying methods, further supporting consumers’ desire for nutrition from whole foods. The process also preserves the actual color and shape of the original raw material, reassuring consumers they are actually getting real fruits and vegetables in their diets.

Why does freeze-dried fruit taste so good?

Freeze Dried Fruit vs. Dehydrated Fruit – Both freeze-drying and dehydrating fruit are methods for preserving nutritious produce for later use. By removing the moisture from fruits, including bananas, most berries, apples, dragon fruits, apricots, and pineapples, the food becomes more shelf-stable and resistant to mold or rot, which plagues fresh fruits as they age.

  • While dehydrating and freeze-drying are both great ways to preserve fruit, the processes and the final products differ.
  • Freeze drying removes all the moisture through sub-zero temperatures.
  • This method keeps the shape of the fruit well, and some say it preserves the flavor better.
  • Freeze-dried goods can last decades and still offer the bright essence of the fruit.

Freeze-dried fruit is also airy, light, and crunchy, where dehydrated fruits have a thick density and distinct chew. Dehydrated fruit is chewy because it retains about one-third its water content. Because dehydrated fruits still have some moisture, they often need preservatives to help keep the fruit shelf-stable, and even with additives, this type of dried fruit doesn’t last as long as the freeze-dried counterpart.

Why does my stomach hurt after eating dried fruits?

Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on November 27, 2022 Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive The teachers’ favorite contains sorbitol, a sugar that’s naturally in many fruits. Some people’s bodies can’t absorb it properly, which gives them gas and bloating. It can cause diarrhea, especially for children. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive Maybe you’ve enjoyed them fresh, in a juicy cobbler, or dried in teas. Their natural sugar is good for people who want to cut back on sweets, but it’s not always good for the gut. If you have a problem digesting sorbitol, you may feel bloated, have belly pain, or have diarrhea, gas, or nausea. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive This popular summertime treat is high in fructose, a sugar in fruit. Your body can have trouble digesting it, so you might get gas. It’s rare, but the problem might be in your genes. Doctors call that a “hereditary fructose intolerance.” A blood test can tell if you have it. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive These veggies have a sugar called fructan that helps set off gas. If you don’t feel well after you eat them, just stay away from them. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive Spuds are usually a safe choice for a dinner side item. The starch gives some people gas and bloating, though. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive These famous fungi can make you get a little funky. Blame it on mannitol, another natural sugar. It can give you gas – and if you eat too much of it, it also can act like a mild laxative, Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive Love them or hate them, these soft, green veggies have a chain of sugars called galacto-oligosaccharides that feed gut bacteria and cause gas. This can make for a not-so-pleasant post-meal experience. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive The caffeine in your favorite daily jolt might be making you bolt to the bathroom. Dial back on the java if you feel an urgent need to go or you get a stomachache after drinking up. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive This breakfast superstar has plenty of fiber, which lets you feel full and satisfied all morning. But if you add too much to your diet too quickly, your tummy might get a little uncomfortable. To get more of this important nutrient, introduce it slowly to your eating plan so you don’t overwhelm your system. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive They’re crunchy, delicious, and super healthy, but they can also be tough to digest. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts might make you feel bloated or crampy. If they do, you may want to occasionally swap them for veggies that are less likely to give you gas, like bell peppers, zucchini, or green beans. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive The fiber in dried fruit has a lot of things going for it. A handful can work like magic if you’re constipated, These sweet treats, though, are also high in a sugar called fructose, which can give you a tummy ache if you eat too much. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive It’s a real treat to dig into one that’s juicy and ripe, but the sweetness inside can sometimes cause problems with your stomach. Peaches have natural sugars called polyols, which may not always get along well with your gut bacteria. Sometimes, that leads to cramps and bloating. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive This sweetener, which is found in some low-cal drinks, can be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. But sugar alcohols can act like a laxative if you take in too much. Check labels to know if a drink has this ingredient. Xylitol and mannitol are examples. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive You swallow air as you chew, which brings gas into your gut. “Sugar-free” types of gum often have sorbitol and xylitol as sugar substitutes. Those give some people gas or even act like a laxative. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive You swallow air when you suck these treats. Plus, some candies are sweetened with xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, or other sugars that make some people get an upset stomach.

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Do freeze dried strawberries mold?

How can we tell if freeze dried fruit has gone bad? – As mentioned earlier, freeze dried fruits may change taste, color, or smell. This happens when they are exposed to light, oxygen, moisture, or high temperatures. In this regard, they are no different than other foods.

  • The more common signs of freeze dried fruits spoilage include cross-contamination with raw vegetables, obvious mold and dark spots, liquid oozing, and unexpected changes in color.
  • In any of these cases, the freeze dried fruits should be thrown away.
  • You should also avoid freeze dried fruits if the package is not sealed or content feels wet to the touch.

However, if you have kept your freeze dried fruits in suitable storage conditions they can remain good even after the “best use by” date. The lack of moisture halts any microbial growth and chemical reaction during storage.

Is freeze-dried more expensive?

Important Freeze-Dried Raw Food Considerations – Freeze dried raw diets are often quite a bit more expensive than traditional raw food diets. This is mainly due to how expensive it is to freeze dry food properly. Therefore, if you find a cheap freeze-dried food option, you should be asking how exactly the product was made or question the quality ingredients.

Is freeze-dried food expensive?

This post comes from something I see over and over on social media. I often am shown ads for backpacking freeze-dried meals, by various companies. And often I see: “Your meals are too expensive!” “Who can afford this!” and so on, posted by other readers.

And sowhy are they so expensive? Or.are they actually expensive? Let’s take a look at this. Outdoor meals were never cheap, even in the old days. I actually got into developing recipes because I was going broke buying packaged meals every week, to go on trips. I was feeding myself and my oldest son, and we often went backpacking every week when he was young.

I can remember complaining when Mountain House meals were approaching $7 a meal in the mid 2000’s. That was how the “empire” of Freezer Bag Cooking & TrailCooking was born. Because I was frugal. But making my own meals took a”hiker’s pantry” of supplies and the willingness to stand there and do prep.

  • I was buying in bulk or dehydrating base ingredients to mix up meals, and that still costs money.
  • Buying all the ingredients adds up.
  • The TL/DR comes down to this: They may seem expensive, but the base ingredients are also expensive these days.
  • If you like having a few meals to make life easier, then treat your self, if you can afford it.

Yes, you can go cheap and eat boxed mac and cheese or other packaged meals (that require cooking) and add in a pouch of tuna, and eat for $2. Or you can invest the time and money into a “hiker’s pantry”. But these meals are priced pretty fairly these days for what they offer.

Or maybe I am just living my best bougie lifestyle Hiking Solo, This is a big one. When you are prepping just for you, and you don’t go often, it may just be easier to buy bagged meals. Prepping for a group? Then doing it yourself is nearly always far cheaper. Even with buying supplies. Convenience, You will always pay for this, no matter what it is you are buying.

You are buying a meal, packaged to last. It is shelf stable, has a long shelf life, and is designed to hold up in storage, in heat and cold. It is for 1 meal. You do nothing but pick it out and toss it in your food bag. Using freeze-dried meals can help a person plan an entire trip simply, especially if they are buying the meals many months in advance before they need them.

  1. Such as preparing for a thru hike or similar).
  2. You know the meals won’t be stale or go bad when you are opening a resupply box.
  3. The Cost of Being Busy,
  4. See above.
  5. Have a full time job and little spare time? Maybe it is easier to let someone else do the hard work.
  6. Space At Home,
  7. I am a shameless prepper, who loves creating recipes from dry base ingredients.

And I have a large family and the space, and the equipment to store those ingredients so they last. But if you live in a tiny apartment, especially solo, you won’t have room to have a “hiker’s pantry”. Actual Freeze Drying, Commercial freeze drying is not cheap to do.

The equipment is expensive. Every time I fantasize about buying a home freeze drier I look at the price and gasp. You can buy a lot of food for $2,000 to $3,500. Advertising, Those Facebook and Instagramand Google ads are not cheap. In the old days, it was ads in Backpacker and Outside magazines. Shelf Life of Ingredients : Making your own meals is a good thing, no doubt about it.

But there is planning you must do. If you are buying base ingredients (dried meat, vegetables, etc) the clock starts ticking once you open the master package, especially if you are using freeze-dried meat, the longer it is out of its original packaging, the limper it gets.

It starts absorbing moisture from the air. If you go out often, and are using up the ingredients quickly, then it isn’t an issue. But if you go on one trip a year and figure your $50 #10 can of dried meat will be good the next year, no, it won’t. The Cost of Ingredients, This one varies but it is simple: If you want higher end food, it will cost more.

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The newer companies making meals are using cleaner, shorter ingredient lists. They are packing the meals full of real meat. And more exotic vegetables. Cheaper meals use a lot more carbs, and less meat/vegetables. They also use thickeners, so the meal tends to remind you of Chef Boyardee cans, rather than real food.

  1. If you are on a Keto or Paleo diet, you want to avoid the old school brands.
  2. So what is the actual price range of commercial freeze-dried meals? The lowest I see is $8 for a meatless pasta dish.
  3. With meat they start at $9.
  4. The most expensive can top at $15 a bag.
  5. If you buy direct from the companies, often you can get a deal if you buy a “sampler” of meals, most offer it.

It can shave a dollar or two off each meal. Or see if they have a code for 10 to 15% off for giving up your email address. While Amazon is my choice, it isn’t always the cheapest. So do your homework (and many companies offer free shipping now – but it can vary from $30 to 100 to get it).

  1. Recommendations for Brands: If you are doing Paleo and/or want the best brand on the market? Wild Zora,
  2. It is literally just meat, vegetables and a bit of herbs/seasoning.
  3. Yes, they are $12.95.
  4. But you get what you pay for, these are clean and high in protein (37 grams) and low in sodium, at 570 mg.
  5. Eto? Check out Next Mile Meals,

These run about $14 a meal on their website. Sodium for the 1 person bags can run from 1100 to nearly 2,000 mg, so salt can be an issue. They are high in protein though. Looking gluten-free/ethical? Heather’s Choice, which are made in Alaska. (They run $15 a bag on Heather’s website) Sodium is under 300 mg and a good source of protein.

Want homestyle meals that have a short ingredient list, and heavy on the meat? Try Peak Refuel meals, They are $12.95 a meal for entrees. But they are high in protein. Eating the 2 person bag is less than a 1,000 mg sodium. Looking for a salt lick? Backpacker’s Pantry has you covered. You can score them for around $10 a bagbutyou won’t want to eat an entire 2 person bag! You would consume 2200 mg sodium! Looking for the most affordable version? Well, old school Mountain House has you covered.

But.you will have less clean ingredient list, and a lot more sodium, at nearly 1,600 mg. Drop $8 and up per meal. For gourmet, consider PackitGourmet version of pasta. This one needs cooking, but there is something to be said about that. It will fill you up, and have a more in depth flavor. Why Are Freeze Dried Strawberries So Expensive FTC Disclaimer: This post is riddled with affiliate links. But you are sooooo appreciated when you use them!

Is dried fruit cheaper than fresh?

Frozen and dried fruit were never the cheapest way to buy fruit. When converted to servings, the cheapest way to eat fruit was overwhelmingly fresh (fig.12b). Two-thirds of all fruits were cheapest when eaten fresh.

How much does a freeze-dried meal cost?

Food costs – Over the years, I’ve found that a Mountain House two-serving package is just about right for one dinner for one backpacker (me). They define a serving as 2 ounces (55 g). I’ve also found that 3.5 to 4.2 ounces (100 to 120 g) of food that I’ve freeze-dried constitutes a good dinner.

brand meal cost/package grams/package cost/4 ounce meal
Mountain House Classic Beef Stroganoff $15 165 $10
Mountain House Pasta Primavera $9 108 $9.42
Backpacker’s Panry Pad Thai $10 176 $6.22
Trailtopia Pesto Chicken Pasta $11 196 $6.17
Pinnacle Sticky Teriyaki Chicken $16 122 $14.43
Good to Go Mushroom Risotto $14 180 $8.71
Food for the Sole Coconut Rice and Beans $15 146 $11.26
Farm to Summit Garden Mac and Cheese $13 170 $8.73
PackitGourmet Austintacious Tortilla Soup $13 99 $14.44

Averaged together, costs look like this:

meal type average amount of food per package average cost per 4-ounce ( 110 g) meal
omnivore 5.3 ounces (151 g) $9.93
vegetarian 5.1 ounches (147 g) $9.80

I’ve broken out the average cost per meal for all meals listed (omnivore) and for just the vegetarian meals. The reason why will soon become apparent. The most surprising pattern in this table is that there is no pattern. The big dog Mountain House is not cheaper than the little guys, and vegetarian meals are not necessarily cheaper than meals containing chicken or beef.

  1. We can also break costs out by calories rather than weight.
  2. The FDA recommends a daily intake of 2000-2400 calories/day for active women and 2600-3200 for active men (but see Backpacking Light’s How much food should I pack? article).
  3. Let’s call 500 calories a meal, as most backpackers snack several times a day on high-calorie foods like nuts and chocolate, and energy bars.

That calorie level gives us these results:

brand meal cost/package calories/package cost/500 calorie meal
Mountain House Classic Beef Stroganoff $15 750 $10
Mountain House Pasta Primavera $9 440 $10.51
Backpacker’s Panry Pad Thai $10 730 $6.82
Trailtopia Pesto Chicken Pasta $11 740 $7.43
Pinnacle Sticky Teriyaki Chicken $16 700 $11.43
Good to Go Mushroom Risotto $14 820 $6.89
Food for the Sole Coconut Rice and Beans $15 670 $11.16
Farm to Summit Garden Mac and Cheese $13 850 $7.94
PackitGourmet Austintacious Tortilla Soup $13 370 $17.57

Averaged together, costs look like this:

meal type average calories per package average cost per 500 calorie meal
omnivore 674 $10.17
vegetarian 630 $10.45

These tables set our baseline: it costs about $10 per meal for store-bought freeze-dried food, probably more like $11 if you account for taxes and shipping. But $10 is a nice round number, so we’ll go with that. To estimate the food portion of the cost of making your own freeze-dried food, I looked up the prices of a number of staples at the local Whole Foods.

food cost/pound cost/110 g (dry) cost/110 g (wet)
beef – top sirlion $12 $2.91 $8.72
chicken breast $8 $1.94 $5.81
pasta $1.39 $0.34
tomato $2.29 $.0.55 $2.22
beans $1 $0.24
corn $1.50 $0.36 $1.45
rice $1.85 $0.45
potato $1.19 $0.29 $1.15

Averaged together, costs for dry weight look like this:

meal type average cost per 100 g of dry food
omnivore $2.55
vegetarian $0.98

Most foods lose about 3/4ths of their weight when freeze-dried, so to get the dry weight of the wet foods, I divided by four and converted pounds to grams. Unlike prepared meals, adding meat incurs a substantial food cost. Because the cost of eating vegetarian is so much lower, I will track omnivore and vegetarian costs separately.

Of course, we don’t eat plain meat and vegetables. There are additional food costs for spices, herbs, sauces, etc. So let’s round up the food costs per meal to $3.00 for omnivores and $1.25 for vegetarians. An additional conclusion from this analysis is that food costs are a minor component of prepared meal costs.

I assume the commercial preparers buy in bulk at a discount, so their food costs will be even lower than what I presented above.

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