Recent news coming out of Oregon Freeze Dry, makers of Mountain House Freeze Dried Food, states that shelf-life for their pouch product line is closer to a 20-30 year shelf life as opposed to the 7 year shelf life they have been claiming for a very long time.
At the 2012 Summer Outdoor retailer show (my friend got me in) I was able to find the Oregon Freeze Dry booth and ask some questions to the retail marketing manager Reiner Bohlen about the July 12, 2012 press release concerning a head to head shelf life test of Mountain House pouches versus Wise Food’s pouches.
In summary, the press release states that Mountain House pouch oxygen levels are 110% less than Wise Food’s levels. Wise Food’s pouches oxygen level was very close to the atmospheric level, meaning an opened pouch had similar oxygen levels.
As food experts state, oxygen is one of the main contributors to food rancidity, a damning indictment that Wise Food’s responded to a few days later. My summary of their response “our levels are not as high as you stated”. Nowhere did Wise Company publish data to back that claim or show any proof that the 3rd party test conducted by Columbia Food Laboratories was not accurate .
While talking with Mr Bohlen he did not veer off course from the message that the press release stated. Instead he took the opportunity to show me two new pouch filled bucket products they have recently started selling. The two buckets were filled with a variety of the Mountain House pouches. Nothing out of the ordinary, just pouches in a clear bucket.
What was exciting from our conversation was that from doing the tests of their product vs Wise Company, they also tested some 30 year old Mountain House pouch products. In a blind taste test, the 30 year old Mountain House pouched foods scored a 6.6 on a 9 point hedonic scale whereas the new pouch (the control in the experiment) scored an 8.6. There was only a slight drop off in taste from the 30 year POUCH!
For years preparedness minded people have been under the belief that #10 cans could reach the 3 decade mark but the pouches only 7 years (this is what Mountain House claimed). Good news is there is little to no difference now between buying the Mountain House mylar pouch food product versus the #10 can product. While there are certain benefits of one over the other, shelf life is no longer to be considered when looking at a #1o can versus a metalized food storage pouch bag.
Of course the other story to tell is that of Wise Company and the shelf life claim that appears to be unfounded (until they can claim otherwise). Hopefully you have not purchased much of their product yet. We are not a fan, we have tried it on several occasions and felt it was one of the more poor tasting options around. Yes it is cheap but in the end you get what you pay for and in this case a world of difference not only in taste but in how long the food will actually last.
UPDATE 9/9/2019 – Mountain House recently updated their official shelf life claim on their pouches to 30 years, quite the increase! Looks like they are no longer sand bagging their claims, makes sense when there are inferior products on the market claiming 25-30 years and they were only claiming 10.
UPDATE 8/3/2014 – Mountain House’s official shelf life claim on their pouches has been raised to 10 years from 7 years. This is more of a “Best if Used By date” than anything else as they have tested 30 year old Mountain House to be safe and still very good tasting as you will read in the article above. In summary, these pouches when stored right can last 30 years.