Fuizion Freeze Dried Food – The Verdict

Picture Courtesy of Fuizion

When it comes to backpacking and wild camping in general – there’s a myriad of choices out there when it comes to food. Essentially, it comes down to two options for most folk – boil in the bag meals or freeze dried.

The former can be tasty but is bulky and heavy. Not bad for the odd night out but when space and weight is a premium or a must – then you can’t beat freeze dried food. Granted it’s not always as tasty as the boil in the bag varieties but it gets the job done. You pour in hot water, leave to soak, eat out the pouch – job done.

Of the boil in the bag type – personally, I adore Look What We Found meals. These are the top dogs in terms of flavour and variety. But you don’t tend to get large enough portions – and in turn the calories needed on your trips – often you wish for another portion.

Freeze dried food? Well, there are quite a few brands out there that cover this market and in all honesty they can be hit and miss in terms of quality, texture and taste (and that can be within the same brand!). I prefer some brands to others – some I may like and you wouldn’t, in fact. So, it can be subjective – and that’s because if us backpackers were honest – freeze dried food is crap!

But we’ve now got a new kid on the block – and this kid aims to break the rules when it comes to freeze dried food. Some words submitted below from Alison at Fuizion:

Picture Courtesy of Fuizion



“Freeze Dried Food – when there’s no Alternative”
When you’re sailing round the world, walking to the South Pole or climbing Mount Everest and you’re trying to pack in over 6000 calories a day, the one thing you should be able to rely on is a hot and tasty meal, which you don’t have to add chilli sauce or tomato sauce to, just to make it bearable to eat!  Unfortunately over the years Freeze Dried Food, which is a necessary evil to most extreme sports people, has had a bad press and possibly rightly so. I question whether this is due to the complacency of many of its producers. When you supply to a captive market, where there is very little choice but to use Freeze Dried Food, perhaps it’s easy to become complacent. 


It’s actually quite surprising how many companies there are that make freeze dried food, very few of which are based in the UK, it tends not to be something that most people would normally need to think about and up until about two years ago I count myself among those. It was only after one of the clients that our catering company supplied food to, asked if we knew of any good producers of freeze dried food, that I even knew of its existence. The client in question, Chris Sherlock, skipper of Leopard 3, was looking to break the Transatlantic sailing record at the time, which they later went on to achieve. This for me was also the start of an amazing journey!


When I started looking in to the whole question of freeze dried food and actually tried some of it for myself, both my husband and I agreed that we couldn’t possibly do any worse, as the majority of the food on the market leaves a lot to be desired. So for the last two years we have been setting up and running a small concern in, what we feel to be, the gourmet end of the freeze dried food market. It’s certainly been an amazing journey and an even bigger learning curve. Not knowing how other companies produced their food, we went about it in the same way as we would any normal catering, with the ethos of “if you use the best ingredients, you will get the best results”! So we make every dish as we would normally and only when we are happy that, as a freshly cooked meal, it could be served to a paying customer, do we even start the freeze drying process. I have since learned that this is not the normal approach, as I am told that most producers freeze dry each component within a dish individually and only when it comes to the stage of packaging, do the ingredients then get combined in the bag.


In the whole process of setting up the business, apart from dealing with government legislation and bureaucracy, the most difficult thing was actually finding a company that could supply us with a freeze drying machine. It’s not like you can pop to your local Electrical superstore and pick one up on a Sunday afternoon. Machines are on the most part built to order, as was ours, but normally they are made to an entirely different scale. The machines we commissioned and now use, are tiny in comparison to the machines that the well known brands use. We were very lucky, either that, or I’ve become a dab hand at searching for obscure things on Google, when we found the family run company that now supply our machines. The technology involved never ceases to amaze me and I even surprise myself these days at how much I know about the whole complexities of freeze drying anything, I could bore anyone senseless on the subject and I often do!
I’m sure that some would think we were completely mad in taking such an expensive risk, for what essentially was an experiment, but it’s one that seems to be paying off, maybe not financially as yet, but certainly from the satisfaction value. If I were to be told a couple of years ago that I would be dealing with some of the most accomplished and famous sports people in the world I would have laughed, especially as I’m not particularly that way inclined myself (as those who know me will testify). We still have a long way to go and no doubt an immense amount more to learn, but if the years to follow are half as enjoyable as the last two I am certainly looking forward to the future.
I would like to thank Chris Sherlock, Brian Thompson, Alex Thomson, Esimit Europa 2, Dee Caffari, Sam Davies, Felicity Aston, Chris Foot, Mike Golding, Jonny Malbon, Hannah White and Chris Stanmore-Major for their continued support.
By Alison Simmonds

Fuizion Freeze Dried Food Limited




So, after enjoying a few meals from the range over the past weekend on a Peak District wild camp, what are my final thoughts?


First of all, the packaging is robust and when filled with the required amount of boiling water is not too hot to handle and munch away from. You can open it up and seal it completely with ease when preparing the meal – some brands I find the seal hard to close, for example.


But the packaging is currently too high/deep if you use a short spork or spoon. I got by OK thanks to a long orange spoon I got from Expedition Foods (another freeze dried food company) but others may struggle and get messy hands – unless you decant the food into a separate container. Which kind of defeats the object with these meals for me. I don’t want clutter and weight.


The food isn’t vacuum packed but this doesn’t prove to be too  much of a problem and most brands don’t tend to either. The shelf-life is more than ample and the meals pack away fine in a rucksack stretch pocket etc.


However, Alison informs me that the packaging is about to be revamped and will be wider and less in height – much more agreeable for us outdoors types.


There is no water fill line anywhere on the packaging – not inside or out. So, in effect you need to measure your water on site for cooking. To get round this problem I use a sharp tool and mark my MSR Titan Kettle

with water measuring lines – by measuring and pouring the water into my kettle before heading out onto the hills.


Of course for those that know this can be a waste of time – as most freeze dried meals water fill requirements can be on the iffy side. You can often end up with not enough water – and so find your food not properly rehydrated – or too much and so be slurping on a soup!


With a little common sense, you can gauge the required amount of boiling water in the packet with incremental pours and stirs of the food.


The latter is the first time you’ll notice the difference between Fuizion food and most other brands – the aroma just hits your sense and only make your mouth water! On that initial pour the food smells as you would associate with your chosen meal. Surely a good sign, eh?


So, with those basics covered what about the food itself?


Calorie to weight ratio wise – the range is average to excellent. You can get about 600kcals of energy from approx 120g’s with some of the meals. On expeditions you’d require more, obviously (and this can be bespoked by Fuizion) but for us mere mortals on the odd long weekend or week long trip – it should do perfectly.


Granted, on long trips you may want to take along some other snack to up your calorie intake but other than that – it’s not too bad.


As for the taste, texture and quality? Personally, I’ve not come across a range of freeze dried meals as good as this. I’ve had a few in my time but these are really, really good in comparison.


Fuizion freeze dried food is what Look What We Found meals are compared to your bog standard Wayfayrers. The range of meals I’ve had the pleasure of tasting so far have been excellent.

Kung-Po Chicken – 10/10. Nice large chunks of chicken breast mixed with noodles and chunky vegetables. The chicken is flavoursome, moist and tender and the veg nice and crunchy. The sauce is not too spicy or sweet and complements the other ingredients very, very well. Picture below shows the Kung-Po Chicken meal pre-hydrated:

Picture by terrybnd

Chicken Jalfrezi – 8.5/10. Again the chicken was spot on and the rice tender. And the sauce itself was excellent. Not quite what you’d get in a restaurant, mind – but as good as the high quality sauce jars you find in supermarkets. This meal was another favourite and went down very well with some wine I took along with me on my wild camp. Here’s a picture of the meal pre-hydrated I took on my phone at the weekend:

Picture by terrybnd

You can clearly see how different the food looks compared to other freeze dried meals. Aye, the picture is a bit dark but it was from inside my tent at 8pm.

Coq-au-Vin – 8/10. Not particularly a meal I’d go for on any given day – but the chicken was again very good but the flavours hadn’t quite absorbed as well compared to the other meals above. Nevertheless, the flavours were very good and despite my preference for the above two meals – I actually wanted to eat some more of this meal. Not out of hunger per se but because I was enjoying it.

Incidentally, the appearance of the food is as good as they taste – much better than some prepared ‘high-end’ microwave/oven meals.

Boil in the bag meals I don’t tend to rate any higher than 7/10 – they can be tasty, don’t get me wrong. But they do come across as baby food for adults at times. I’m happy to eat them or anything else on most wild camps as any of my friends will testify.

Here’s what my good friend and fellow backpacker Yuri aka Moonlightshadow  had to say about one meal I gave him to try (Thai Green Curry):

“Food on the hills? I’m an unapologetic gourmet and if out for one night, carrying a kilo of food with me is not an issue. For me slumming it is a decanted can of M&S curry and Ainsley Harriott’s couscous pouches (for 2…). Fresh gnocchi and home made bolo is a realistic option (complete with big aluminium pan and colander) not forgetting grated Parmesan cheese and red wine…I guess it goes with my accent…(I’m Swiss-French)

It was with some curiosity I tried Fuizion Thai Green curry as I wanted to find a good lightweight option for longer trips. I have tried a few of those kind of meals and I guess if you are starving they’ll do a job but in this case it was to be a bit different. Despite adding too much water, it proved to be a rather surprisingly pleasing experience within the limits of freeze-dried food. The vegetables reconstituted nicely, the meat tasted rather better than the usual blobs of fibres on offer in inferior products and the rice was alright if a little inconsistent. Where the product scored highly was in the flavours and scents, quite a beautiful smell came out of the bag, rich in Thai aromas, it tasted lovely too, a good mix of coconut, chilli afteraste and the various spices came out quite well. All in all, I felt satisfied, which is important when out in the hills.

My approach to food remains unchanged but when packing lightweight food will be a necessity, Fuizion will be my first port of call. I’m quite curious to try their Spaghetti Bolognese version actually…”

So, when it comes to gourmet food out on the hill – if you don’t bring your own and all the subsequent tools and accessories and weight – then Fuizion freeze dried food really is a good alternative.

A real treat and morale booster when tired and watching the sun set over a distant horizon.

Fuizion are a small company and only too happy to take any questions or queries. They can even cater for those with allergies – just email and ask.

So, who knows – are Fuizion the new kid on the block to threaten some of the more established brands? I’d say so, yes. Just the above meals are miles better than other well-known brands and for me personally offer a better selection that I enjoy already!

Only time will tell and only you, myself and others can help in raising their profile. Many a brand has grown due to bloggers and outdoor forums in recent years. Consumer awareness and power has reached new levels where reputations are made and even destroyed.

In Fuizion’s case, I hope they succeed – because I want to keep munching on more of their food!!! And I’m sure they shall. You definitely get what you pay for with this company.

Good luck Fuizion and keep up the excellent service!

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. One measly veggie option? That is pretty pathetic this day and age (dont worry as veggies are usually underwhelmed by many companies efforts!).

    Like

  2. terrybnd says:

    Hi James,

    Yeah – I know what you mean.

    However, I'd email Alison mate.

    They do bespoke meals on request. My missus is a coeliac and they'll produce meals for her.

    Worth a punt.

    Like

  3. I'm salivating already!!

    Like

  4. The Odyssee says:

    Thanks Terry.
    Most enjoyable post and i will be trying them out in the near future. One thing you missed if you don't mind me saying, or it may have been omitted for other reasons, was the cost comparison against others. I believe they are good value for money. On a long trip food costs can end up being quite an expensive item, so these win here too. Bon Appetite.

    Like

  5. Maz says:

    The more competiton there is the more the stalwarts will have to up their game which means more choice at reasonable prices for us. Great review – must've been a real hardship having to eat all that great food…

    Like

  6. terrybnd says:

    @blogpackinglight – Yes, they are that good. You just wait til the smell hits you upon opening the pouch after hydrating. Wow! Though – my faves are the Kung Po and Jalfrezi so far.

    @The Odyssee – Thanks. I didn't put any cost comparison in because I thought it maybe unfair to all brands. They're all about the same mark though – £4-6 – though I'm well aware that the odd pound lost soon adds up in the long run. But they are subject to change a lot of the time.

    Fuizion meals are good value for money in that you get gourmet food and not some powdered crap with chunks of what looks like poultry feed that's supposed to be beef or chicken. If you know what I mean.

    For the money – I'll defo be buying the Jalfrezi and Kung Po from now on.

    @Maz – I couldn't agree more. It was a real hardship tasting the food 😉 LOL

    Like

  7. The Odyssee says:

    Terry, Real Turmat foods, that i mainly use, are between £8.50 and £8.95. So £4-£6 is a massive saving. If they are as good of course. Thanks.

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  8. -maria- says:

    If I was located in the UK, I would most definitely try this brand! I guess the flavours blend better if they freeze dry the food when it's already prepared (vs. freeze drying the individual components of a meal separately). I also like to support small companies.

    Nice post Terry, and the Fuizion really seems to be an interesting new brand.

    Like

  9. Martin Rye says:

    i see your ad words are showing Cobra Beer and curry! Which is a combination dear to my heart. Now if we could have lightweight beer to go with the Fuizion curry range – perfection would be found in light weight food for a night in the hills. Till then I will be getting some of their stuff to try.

    Like

  10. Mac E says:

    Good write up Terry, looks like I'll have to order some, Kung Po Chicken and Thai Green Curry are definitely on the list.

    Richard

    Like

  11. terrybnd says:

    @Maria – do Fuizion not deliver abroad? And yes, they are definitely an interesting new brand. No doubt.

    @MacE – Thanks and you won't go far wrong with those meals. I effin love the Kung Po. Couldn't believe how good it was. That meal was the standard for me. Chunky, crips begetables the lot. I'm not exaggerating. I'd honestly eat it at home! And I have 😉 LOL

    It's the all day breakfast I'm keen to try. How cool would that meal be for a wild camp – if it's any good, mind

    @Martin – thats the Holy Grail isn't it? Some lightweight version of beer for backpacking? LOL

    Like

  12. Anonymous says:

    Need to see what the cost/portion size is ratio is! but looks good

    Like

  13. owdbum289 says:

    instant noodles, scotch eggs, chocolate, nuts, dried fruit and coffee are all you need on the fells…I've survived for days on this…I save the gourmet eating for when I arrive back in town.

    Like

  14. terrybnd says:

    @owdbum289 – Good for you. I've done the same – but I do like nice food when out on camps 😉 Good food and Fuizion appear to have come up with that 'alternative' for me.

    Like

  15. Ukmase says:

    Too expensive for me, I can get a pub meal for a few more squid.

    I'm on the primal blueprint diet and devising a 5day meal plan for an upcoming adventure proved to be quite tricky but I got there in the end.

    Carbs ain't good but getting enough energy for a full days hiking without them is a challenge.

    Like

  16. owdbum289 says:

    scotch eggs are 'nice food'??…luckily, I generally camp solo, as the fartostinkometer is usually in the red zone by the early hours…keeps the midges away at least…

    Like

  17. Mark Roberts says:

    They look and sound delicious! I hope they start to sell them in the US – I'm getting fed up with stodgy Mountain House and Backpacker's Pantry.

    Like

  18. terrybnd says:

    Hi Mark,

    I'm pleased to say they are as tasty if not tastier than they look!

    Why don't you send an email to Alison at Fuizion and see if they can send over their products?

    She's extremely helpful.

    Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I'm based in Germany, and I just found some Fuizion and Real on this website: http://www.lyophilise.fr, have somebody ordered there before? Thank you for your advice

    Like

  20. terrybnd says:

    I haven't – sorry.

    Like

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