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Life is full of unexpected events. You never know when a disaster is going to happen. But not knowing if or when one will occur doesn’t mean you can’t plan for it. Some companies, such as Thrive Life, are helping people do their best to prepare for the worst. In this article, we review companies that specialize in freeze-dried foods and other emergency supplies.
What Is Thrive Life?
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Thrive Life is a company that makes and sells a variety of freeze-dried foods including grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat, beans, and snacks. They sell foods that are ready to eat immediately, as well as ingredients for people who want to prepare their own recipes. Their “nutrilock process” involves harvesting ripe produce and flash freezing it within three hours in order to preserve the most nutrients. No preservatives are used. Thrive Life offers people the opportunity to become consultants by introducing the foods to others and attempting to sell them.
What Are Some Reasons People Buy Thrive Life Products?
Emergency preparation is just one reason people turn to Thrive Life. Some people buy freeze-dried foods to bring with them when they travel, especially for outdoor adventures. Freeze-dried foods are lightweight and durably packaged. Some people keep them around because they just like the taste of the snacks and the convenience of preparing the meals.
In one review, a mother said that she started serving Thrive Life freeze dried fruits and vegetables to her children, who had previously refused to eat such healthy options.
In one review, a mother said that she started serving Thrive Life freeze dried fruits and vegetables to her children, who had previously refused to eat such healthy options. The novelty of eating the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables was enough to get the children to try—and enjoy—them. When reconstituted with water, freeze-dried foods look, feel and taste like regular food. People also love the variety of foods available at Thrive Life. Nobody has to feel like they are missing out on anything when all of their favorites are available to them in freeze-dried form.
What Is the Difference Between Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Foods?
Thrive Life flash freezes their foods, but some companies also offer dehydrated foods. One of the main differences is the amount of moisture that is removed in the process. Freeze drying removes almost all of the moisture from the food, leaving it with a crispy or crunchy texture. Dehydration only removes about two-thirds of the food’s moisture, giving it a chewy texture. Dehydrated foods often require additives to help them stay fresh in their packages, while freeze-dried foods don’t need any additives. The freeze-drying process removes the moisture from the food but nothing else, so the food keeps almost all, or even all, of its original nutrients. On the other hand, foods tend to lose some of their nutritional value in the dehydration process. Dehydrated foods also lose a lot of their flavor, and can end up tasting bland. With freeze-dried foods, the flavors come back to life when the food is reconstituted with water. Freeze-dried foods have a longer shelf life of twenty-five years or longer. Dehydrated foods have a shelf life of fifteen to twenty years.
The price of freeze-dried foods varies, depending on the food, the amount you buy, and the company. It averages to about one dollar per serving, but consumers can usually save money by buying larger amounts of food at once.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- Valley Food Storage
- Augason Farms
- Emergency Essentials
Thrive Life Foods
- Ease of Use
Thrive Life foods are already prepared to be eaten, including being chopped up if needed. Every food item comes in a can, making them easy to stack for storage.
Thrive Life sells a wide variety of foods that include fruits, veggies, meat, and grains. People who want to prepare their own food but aren’t exactly sure how to get started can buy meal kits that include all of the freeze-dried ingredients to make something. For example, the Southwest Chicken pack includes chicken slices, bell peppers, brown rice, onions, corn, gravy, chili peppers, black beans, and a seasoning packet. It also includes recipe cards for seven meals that can be made with these ingredients alone. They also sell “Simple Plates,” which are meals that are completely ready to eat, such as stir-fry, chili, chicken and dumplings, and tacos. For dessert, they offer mixes to make baked goods like brownies, muffins, and cookies. Plus, you can buy “snackie” pouches of things like dried fruit, crackers, and yogurt bites.
Thrive Life foods are flash frozen at their peak ripeness stage, so they taste delicious. The flavors are genuine and tasty. While it is rare to find someone who loves everything any company offers, reviewers of Thrive Life all rave about their favorites. Many people love their fruits and vegetables. One reviewer said that the blueberries she tried tasted like the ripe, in-season blueberries that can be bought at the grocery store in the summer. She said it was great to have that flavor available even in the middle of winter. People who are fans of sweets also love the company’s Yogurt Bites. which come in passionfruit, vanilla, blueberry, pomegranate and strawberry flavors.
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Valley Food Storage
While Thrive Life foods come in cans and the occasional pouch, Valley Food Storage foods come in resealable mylar bags. Food can actually be prepared inside the bags by adding boiling water to the bags instead of mixing them in a pot. For those who want a quick way to stock up, you can buy large buckets that contain some of everything from a particular category. For instance, the breakfast bucket contains bags of all of their breakfast options. The buckets are sturdy and ready to store. Valley Food Storage foods have a 25-year shelf life.
- Ease of Use
While Thrive Life sells many ingredients for people who want to cook, Valley Food Storage sells meals that are ready to go. Users simply pour the contents of one of the bags into a pot, add water, boil for ten to twenty minutes, and then let it sit for five to seven minutes to finish absorbing the water. This is great for people who prefer the convenience of not having to find a recipe and measure out ingredients. People who are not sure what to buy or how much of each to order can get a kit that has a little bit of everything in it.
Because they sell mostly ready-made meals, your choices are limited to what they have made. They do, however, have lots of options. For breakfast, they offer a variety of hot cereals and freeze-dried milk to go with it. They offer thirteen different entrees that would be suitable for lunch or dinner, such as chicken teriyaki, Irish Pub potato soup, and fettucini Alfredo. They also sell fruits, vegetables, meat, and cheese.
Reviewers agree that the meals sold by this company are flavorful and taste fresh. Many people stated that the freeze-dried foods tasted even better than the “real” versions. One popular choice is their mac ‘n’ cheese, which reviewers said had a creamy and cheesy taste that was similar to the blue boxed versions they were used to. Reviewers thought that the Irish Pub soup was not quite as good as homemade, but was as good as or better than any version they’d bought in a store.
Augason Farms is one of the oldest companies out there that sell freeze-dried foods. They’ve been around for almost fifty years. They’re similar to Thrive Life, in that they both sell ingredients for people to make their own food. Foods come in easily stackable cans. They also sell supplies such as water storage systems, utensils, matches, glow sticks, and flashlights.
- Ease of Use
Like freeze-dried foods offered by the other companies, these foods only need to be mixed with boiling water in order to prepare them.
One thing that makes this company stand out is the fact that they have options for vegetarians and gluten-free people. While meat eaters are having beef or chicken, vegetarians can enjoy meat substitutes and black bean burgers. Gluten-free people only need to go to the “gluten-free” tab on the website to find all of the gluten-free choices from every food category, Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and rice are also available. While there is a focus on ingredients, they also offer some ready-made “entrees,” including a cheesy pizza kit! They sell emergency kits that contain a variety of products, but reviewers say these kits are limited to the basics and don’t contain all of the products that are available for purchase. Some of their products are their own brand, while others are by the brand Mountain House.
Unlike some of the other companies on our list, Augason Farms didn’t get great reviews for the tastes. Many people felt that the food was simply edible, and they noted that in a true emergency nutrition would be the priority over taste.
Emergency Essentials is a company that sells all sorts of emergency supplies, including food, gear, and water storage systems.
- Ease of Use
Emergency Essentials foods only need to be added to boiling water in order to be reconstituted.
This company sells a wide variety of choices. Breakfast foods include hot cereals, scrambled eggs, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. You can get entrees such as spaghetti with pork sausage, black beans and rice, chicken noodle casserole, soups, and stews. Drinks include milk, hot chocolate, and fruit juices. You can buy dry ingredients to do your own cooking, such as meat, fruits, vegetables, butter, and shortening. They even offer desserts like ice cream sandwiches, chocolate pudding, and apple crisp.
Reviews of Emergency Essentials say that the food tastes okay, but not great. Their Mountain House products get higher reviews, with people describing the taste and smell as pretty good, but some people also said that the foods left a metallic taste in their mouths.
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When choosing a company to buy freeze dried food from, you should consider what your priorities are. If you are storing food for a real emergency situation, such as a natural disaster that leaves you stranded inside your house with no electricity, you might want to look for things that will taste good and resemble regular food as much as possible. Preparing and serving enjoyable meals will add a sense of normalcy to your family’s life during a turbulent time. When preparing for this type of situation, you may be willing to spend a little more to buy freeze-dried versions of your family members’ favorites. You could even whip up a batch of Thrive Life’s cookies or brownies to cheer everyone up.
Likewise, if you are planning to incorporate freeze-dried foods into your everyday life, preparing them at home or while traveling, you’ll want to make sure to find foods that are palatable. In those cases, we’d recommend Thrive Life Foods or Valley Food Storage. Thrive Life Foods are best for people who want to prepare their own recipes, while Valley Food Storage is best for people who want things that are ready to eat.
Thrive Life Foods are best for people who want to prepare their own recipes, while Valley Food Storage is best for people who want things that are ready to eat.
If you are envisioning a situation where you’d be living underground for months or years, you might focus more on survival than on enjoyability. You should try to get as much food for as low of a price as you can find in order to make your food supplies last for as long as possible. If that is what you are prepping for, Emergency Essentials could be your go-to company. While they don’t get rave reviews for tastiness, they do have lower prices.
Whatever reason you are storing freeze-dried foods for, you will be certain to find some great choices at one of these four companies we’ve reviewed here.