Freeze Dried Food vs Dehydrated Food: What’s The Diff?

There was a time when freeze dried food was thought of as only being fit for astronaut consumption. It certainly wasn’t made for more earthbound palates. But you can be assured that freeze dried food in NZ is delicious and different. When you get a chance, check out this range and you’ll see how many options there are. Butter chicken to bolognese, beans to banana mash, chilli con carne to creamed rice – it’s all on the menu!

Many people think freeze dried foods and dehydrated meals are the same things but they vary in quite a few areas. As you prepare for your next outdoor adventure and want to know which type of food would best meet your needs, here are a few key ways in which they differ.

Freeze drying removes 98% of the water in foods while dehydrating food removes about 90%. This means freeze dried products have a much longer shelf-life. Freeze dried food is flash frozen and then exposed to a vacuum, which causes pretty much all of the water in it to vaporize. This requires expensive equipment but it makes it possible to store freeze dried foods for 20 to 30 years, compared to dehydrated foods, which will typically last for one to five years. However, as its highly unlikely that you’ll be in the outdoors for 30 years, this difference might be immaterial!

For many people, the biggest difference between freeze dried and dehydrated foods is in their respective nutritional values. Research carried out by the American Institute for Cancer Research found that freeze-dried foods retain most of the vitamins and minerals in the original food. On the other hand, dehydration doesn’t change the fibre or iron content of the food. But, it can break down vitamins and minerals during the preservation process and retain slightly less of their nutritional value when compared to freeze dried food products.

Freeze dried foods retain a great deal of the taste, smell and texture they had in their original form. Plus, they rehydrate more quickly, usually in five minutes or less in hot or cold water. And, because more moisture is taken out of the food during the drying process, freeze dried food is lighter and easy to carry in your pack.

In all honesty, the ranges of freeze dried food and dehydrated food on the New Zealand market both contain tasty and nutritious options. It’s not uncommon for outdoor enthusiasts to buy a bit of both before they head into the wild. But if you haven’t tried freeze dried food before, we suggest that you give it a go. It’s not just food for astronauts and it can be a filling and delicious form of sustenance for terrestrial appetites.