Albany, Ore. – April 2, 2015 – Yet another study casts doubt on shelf life claims made by major survival food brands. Hot on the heels of the most comprehensive oxygen study in the industry, this new study – also conducted by Fres-co System USA, Inc. – compares Water Vapor Transfer Rates (WVTR) of various brands of outdoor and survival food sold in pouches, which are often bundled into bucket kits. The Water Vapor Transfer Rate of the packaging material is a critical factor in dry food shelf life because it measures how water, one of shelf life’s four enemies, can penetrate the protective packaging over a specific period of time.
The study compared the Water Vapor Transfer Rate of the packaging materials of three brands of backpacking food: Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry and AlpineAire. Also tested were the packaging materials used in four brands of survival food: Wise Company food Storage, Legacy Premium, National Geographic Live Prepared Food and Food Supply Depot.
In an ironic twist, brands marketing their food primarily as “survival” or “long term food storage” use packaging that can allow significantly more moisture to reach their food over time than brands that market their food for backpacking and outdoor activities. Of all brands tested, Mountain House packaging was the least permeable to moisture. The nearest competitor’s packaging – AlpineAire – was more than twice as permeable to moisture as Mountain House. Of the brands marketed as survival food, Wise Company packaging was more than 70 times more permeable to moisture than Mountain House packaging. For perspective, by the end of the Wise product’s claimed shelf life of “up to 25 years”, more than 12 ounces of water could potentially migrate through its packaging into the food itself†. Legacy Premium and Food Supply Depot had transmissions rates in excess of 100 and 300 times that of Mountain House respectively. National Geographic Live Prepared Food packaging allowed the most potential moisture transfer, at up to 1,100 times more than Mountain House.
“Moisture and oxygen are two of the key enemies to the shelf life of dry food products,” says Drew Huebsch, Research and Development Manager for Mountain House. “In dry food systems, exposure to moisture will lead to a reduction in product quality including a loss of crisp texture, off odor, off flavors and eventually spoilage of the product. Obviously, this has implications for how long the food will last.”
One of the key factors to Mountain House’s protection is the proprietary packaging, developed by Mountain House Packaging Engineer Peter Mittmann. He notes, “Our competitors claim their packaging material is superior because they used “Mylar®*”, a term they apply to any number of different kinds of packaging materials. Unfortunately for consumers, the data do not reflect superior packaging.”
In an effort to provide full transparency in a market where misinformation abounds, Mountain House is the only company to regularly retain third parties to test their products. Further, Mountain House publishing the data publically on the letterhead of the testing facility and makes it publically available, validating their claim of having the longest provenshelf life. Period.
* Mylar is a registered trademark of Dupont Teijin Films
† Per ASTM F1249 “Standard Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate Through Plastic Film and Sheeting”
Based in Albany, Ore., Mountain House has been the first choice of backpackers, hikers, campers and emergency preparation experts for nearly 50 years. Why? Great taste, ease of use and reliability, no matter how extreme the environment. As a result, Mountain House commands more than 70 percent of the outdoor freeze dried meal market according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Their line of meals in pouches have a proven shelf life of 12+ years. Foods in their #10 cans have a proven shelf life of 25+ years. Mountain House is manufactured by OFD Foods Inc., a recognized world-leader in freeze-dried food manufacturing. For more information and a complete list of products, visit www.mountainhouse.com.