Of all the random things, it looks like Better Half and I will be reviewing some of eFoods Direct‘s offerings.
Even better (at least for my ego), they contacted me!
Anywise, not being familiar with the company (and there seem to be so many long-term-storage food companies these days), I did a little digging into them, as I am wont to do. To begin with, they are BBB accredited and carry a rating of A, with 10 closed complaints in the past three years.
Then, I dug around to see what kind of previous reviews I could dig up, and there are
some positive and some middle of the road… and some fairly bad if you go back to the 2008-2010 range, but that may not necessarily be representative of the current state of the company or its products. The primary contention seems to be that they require "too much" water and boiling time to fully reconstitute (which could definitely be a problem for post-disaster preparedness, but that is why we have a rain barrel, a hopefully good filter, and a multi-fuel stove) and that they use too much salt (a common problem with long-preservation foods, but also a matter of taste).
And, finally, I did a little comparison. Mountain House is pretty much the king of storage foods (in my opinion), but the important distinction is that they freeze-dry their materials, versus the dehydrated foodstuffs of eFoods Direct (see here or here for discussions on the respective merits and problems of both). So, just to pull some randomness out of a hat, I looked at Mountain House’s Beef Stroganoff with Noodles and eFood Direct’s Beef Stroganoff (which also has noodles). The former weighs 4.8 ounces and provides 2.5 servings of 250 calories (100 from fat), 11g of fat (4g saturated, 0 transfat), 40mg cholesterol, 820mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates (1g dietary fiber), 3g sugar, and 10g protein. The latter weighs
2.7 10.8 ounces and provides 4 servings of 270 calories (50 from fat), 6g of fat (2g saturated, 0 transfat), 5mg cholesterol, 571mg sodium, 41g carbohydrates (4g dietary fiber), 4g sugar, and 12g protein.
Now, to be fair, those two companies are market to two different groups of people (as evinced by their preparation methods – for the Mountain Home pouches, you add boiling water to the pouch and wait until it cools enough to eat, but for the eFoods Direct, you have to add significantly more water to the product in a pot and boil it all for ~15 minutes), but it does show they are roughly comparable, while also showing the interesting differences between "freeze-dried" and "dehydrated" (predominantly: weight).
I will be honest – my experience with shelf-stable/long-term-storage/preparedness foods has been exclusively limited to the Meals Ready to Eat I had the opportunity to consume in the military, and maybe it was that we had the "newer" versions, or maybe my taste buds are just that uncultured, but I rather enjoyed them at the time (the "at the time" part may be key too…), so I offer no guarantees that if I say something is good, it is actually good. Food is definitely a "taste" thing, pun completely intended, and everyone will like different things. However, this stuff is not exactly going to be your daily diet, and if it is this or going hungry… well, that is why you plan ahead.
One last thing – I do promise to take real pictures of the food we prepare. I always hate how menus or advertisements show these gloriously-staged, mouth-watering glimpses of pure decadence, and then the stuff that ends up in your hand or on your plate looks like got scraped off someone’s shoe, so I am not going to do that to you all. I cannot say as though "presentation" should rank terribly highly for survival food, but we will cover it.
[Update] As AuricTech found (and I overlooked – sorry) all eFoodsDirect products are meatless, which does not really matter to me, but I would prefer they made that abundantly clear, given they refer to "chicken" and "beef" products… [/Update]
(And speaking of reviews, I still owe you one for the UVMatlite I was able to talk The Amazing Light into sending me – thus far, we have been remarkably impressed with just how bright it can be, and I have been struggling to find a good way of representing that (photographing glow-in-the-dark stuff is hard). However, I think we have hit upon something, and I hope to have a comprehensive post up this weekend or next week.)
(Obligatory Middle Finger to the FTC: No items, money, or goods changed hands for this post. Sure, I was told a company would be sending me something, but I have not received it yet, and the receipt of that "something" is not dependent upon this post. In other words, find a real job.)