Wise Company food storage marches to the beat of its own drums. There were a variety of differences we noticed as we conducted our research for our Wise Food Storage review. We look forward to sharing them with you. So read on to find out what we’ve uncovered.
Founded in 2008 from a messy split from partner Food For Health International, this Utah company decided to skip the traditional route of putting food storage in #10 cans and instead package it in metalized pouches instead. This idea has since grown in popularity within the preparedness community and Wise has been at the forefront of it.
Before we do get too deep, we’d like to point out that since Wise Company sells mainly food products they are naturally going to score low vs other more well-rounded preparedness companies we have reviewed. Nonetheless there’s a lot to talk about so let’s jump in!
Normally when we review a company it means we have purchased from it directly. That isn’t the case with Wise Foods as we were able to buy various pouches at our local Cabela’s instead of being forced to buy a large pouch-filled buckets from their website. Their retail presence is spreading into other store fronts. Often you will find Wise Food products sitting side by side the industry leader of pouched freezed dried meals, Mountain House.
Buying at a variety of retail locations was a convenience many other brands can’t offer. We didn’t get to experience the buying process through their E-commerce website which but we did still have some customer service experiences to share in our Wise Food storage review.
On a few occasions we reached out to their customer service reps via phone and email to ask a variety of questions. Generally speaking they have been knowledgeable and quick to respond via email though we would like to see a live chat feature added to the site. Julie and I prefer the option for quick chat sessions opposed to calling in or emailing questions. [UPDATE: they now have Live Chat]
Our only gripe with their customer service was the unsatisfactory response we got over one of our biggest problems with Wise Food Storage. Advertising food kits by servings. Wise Food advertise’s their product by serving count as opposed to calories per day, a much more informative and worthwhile number. They had no logical reason for marketing their product that way. In our opinion it can be deceptive and should be changed. The end result is it makes people think they are getting a lot more food than they really are.
For example, their food storage calculator seen below tells you that a person only needs 2 to 3 servings of food per day. When you look at the nutrition panels you quickly recognize that they are on average 250 calories per serving. I don’t know about you, but I would like more than 500-750 calories a day to live on. You are going to want to supplement their buckets with other calories.
When you compare Wise Food Company food storage pouches to other similar products such as Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry you will see that their food is priced very competitively. On average we found them to be about 15-20% cheaper than Mountain House. A Mountain House pouch that yields 2.5 cups (prepared) is on average $8.09 while the average Wise Food pouch is $6.99.
While their pricing is lower, our experience is that the Wise Food products are not as good as Mountain House meals. This of course subjective opinion. In the near future we plan to do a blind taste test to get more opinions on the matter or you can request a free sample from their website.
Lastly, it is important to look at shipping and other miscellaneous costs. They often have free shipping deals going on. Check out our Today’s Deal page or our Wise Company coupon page for the latest deals. If you are not shipping the product to the state of Utah you can also save on sales tax when placing an order online.
It didn’t take long when we started doing the research for our Wise Food Storage Review that we noticed Wise Foods is just selling the tip of the ice berg when it comes to food storage. Wise has the just-add-water meal pouch product line down pat but offer no other packaging options like most food storage companies. That means no #10 cans, 6 gallon buckets, nor the smaller pantry size can. As for food variety that is lacking as well. Wise Food Storage has only been carrying meats and fruits for a couple years, you are going to be hard pressed to find the hundreds of other traditional food storage options most other places carry but that might not be a bad thing if all you are looking for are entrees.
Wise Foods is a solid option for people that want just add water meals (and a few other items) but don’t want individual food components like baking soda, wheat, oats, ect . People that prefer the convenience of a pouch and don’t mind the reduced shelf life (more on that later) are going to definitely want to look between Wise Foods and the pricier yet tastier Mountain House brand.
A positive of purchasing all of your food storage in pouches is that you will 100% avoid BPA that is often found in the enamel interior coating of steel cans.
As we mentioned in the opener, Wise Foods has only carried just-add water meals for the majority of its existence. They are sorely lacking non-food survival gear so there really isn’t much more to say here. They are adding to the selection but at the moment have only about 35 non-food items.
Wise Food Storage makes their meals from a blend of dehydrated and freeze-dried components. They are sourced and packaged here in the good ol USA, a great thing compared to some companies going overseas to places like China for ingredients.
As for taste, of the 5 entrees we tried, we preferred the Mountain House equivalent more. In some cases they were not close, while a few were almost on par.
This doesn’t mean Wise’s foods should be avoided. Many people are ok with trading quality for getting more for their dollar, and that is where Wise Foods will be a compelling alternative for many.
A lot of people prescribe to the idea that they hope for the best and plan for the worse and will be lucky to have something in a time of need or another way to put like my dad would say “beggars can’t be choosers.”
While we are not raving fans of all of their emergency meals, we like that Wise Company offers free samples for people to test out the food before buying which is something most companies don’t do so you have to give them credit for giving customers the option to try before you buy.
Over the last 5 years we have tried several of the same Wise Company meals and have noticed the quality improving. The original recipes had a weird chemical aftertaste but that does not appear to be the case with the last 4 meals we tried from them in July of 2016. It would make sense that they would improve the product over time but we think they need to spend some more time on their Chili Mac. Our favorite was the Apple Cinnamon breakfast cereal.
The Wise Foods’ website is very easy to navigate. It is helpful in getting most of the information someone needs to make a purchase. Simply hover over the various dark maroon menu buttons to expose a variety of sub-pages that will take you everywhere you need to go.
Product pages as the one seen below are helpful in that they have tabs of information like Nutritional Specs, breakdown of what comes in each bucket, and more. We wish the images of the food were actually their food (their lasagna doesn’t look like that) but we can’t harp on them too much for that as it is done almost everywhere in food marketing. Ever been to a fast food joint and compared the hamburger in front of you to the one you saw on TV?
Something Wise Company has improved upon greatly in the last year or two is in providing information and resourcefulness to its customers. In the past their blog would publish a new article once every blue moon but now they are posting articles weekly. The quality of the content has improved as well. Beofre the topics we often covered on a surface level with many details left out (reminded me of some of my college assignments) but their new staff has turned that around with far more credible information.
Some might wonder why we’d even mention this but to Julie and I we fill that if a company is truly focused on the customer they are not only going to provide products but also information to help them out. Preparedness is a lot more mental than most people realize so providing useful information to help those that are learning is a great thing in our book. Kudos to Wise for improving here.
As you can see Wise Food Storage has some big ground to gain if they want to be more than just a quick meal pouch company. That’s why they scored so poorly in the overall score for their review, but if you are in the market for a lower cost alternative to Mountain House pouch meals, give Wise Food Company a shot. They do a pretty good good at what they focus on.[UPDATE: Our Wise Foods review has recently been updated to reflect current pricing and details that have changed. We have updated this review 8 times since our original review in 2012, with the most recent being August 2016.]