Expedition Foods produce some of Base Camp Food’s favourite meals, loved by adventurers of all sorts. We had the incredible opportunity to ask Beth from Expedition Foods some questions, hopefully illuminating you about this wonderful British adventure food brand!
How has Expedition Foods evolved since its start in 1995?
Expedition Foods meals were first developed in 1995 and established the first freeze dried meals in Europe. We developed these meals initially for polar explorers who were looking for home made, lightweight, easy to prepare and highly nutritious meals. At the time and still to this day, most of the brands in the UK were made by taking dehydrated ingredients and mixing them to create meals. Our meals are prepared on the stove by hand, and then put in trays to freeze before taking out the moisture and packing in sturdy pouches. Today our customers include world leading polar explorers, film crews, sailors, ultramarathoners, ocean rowers, bike packers, climbers and mountaineers, and everyday hikers and lovers of the outdoors.
Expedition Foods now offers 28 different meals and 4 desserts, and a choice of serving sizes with our High Energy (800kcal), Single Serving (450kcal) and Double Serving (1000kcal) ranges. We have also recently introduced a new range of meals called "Survivor Foods'' which come in recyclable tins with a 25-year shelf life.
What’s been your favourite adventure in the UK?
Hiking through the Lairig Ghru in the Cairngorms from Linn of Dee to Glenmore one October. In true Scottish fashion we experienced all seasons across 3 days, walking in t-shirts in the baking sun at the start, to fully layered up and coated in snow at the highest point. It was a fantastic experience, especially knowing that I didn't have to travel across the ocean to find an adventure.
That summer I also climbed Old Man of Stoer, which was a great achievement.
What’s the biggest misconception about nutrition when adventuring?
The biggest misconception we come across is people using the terms 'dehydrated' and 'freeze-dried' as though they are the same thing, when actually there are significant differences between the two. Freeze-drying is the most successful method of food preservation…
'Dehydrating' has been used for centuries and dries out or smokes food by circulating hot and dry air across it. The moist air is then dried to continue removing any remaining water in the foods. The drying temperatures are set high enough to remove water but not to cook the food.
'Freeze-drying' is a relatively modern process. Food is placed on large racks inside a vacuum chamber where the temperature is lowered to below freezing, and then slowly raised. The water in the food transforms from a solid state to a gas, thereby maintaining the food's structure and preserving its all-important nutrients.
Out of these two processes, dehydrating removes about 90-95% of the moisture content whilst freeze-drying removes about 98-99%. The lower the moisture content, the longer the shelf life and the less weight per calorie! Dehydrated meals are generally dehydrated/freeze-dried ingredients mixed together in a bag and freeze-dried meals are usually meals prepared which are then freeze dried... quite a difference in preparation time and taste.
What are the benefits of freeze-dried meals?
Freeze-dried foods can be stored for the longest time…
Freeze-drying retains the nutritional value of the fresh product, as well as its fresh flavour and colour…
Freeze-drying makes food more palatable…
Freeze-drying significantly reduces the weight of food…
Freeze-dried food is faster to prepare…
What’s your favourite nutrition adventure tip?
Test all food/drinks beforehand to make sure you're comfortable with them, and make your freeze-dried meal to your preference. The best way to prepare a meal is to slowly add hot water while stirring until the meal is fully rehydrated to the consistency you prefer. You can always add more water later if you'd like.
What makes your meals different from other brands?
Expedition Foods meals are available in 28 nutritious recipes including breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with 4 desserts, and made using our freeze-drying process which is the most successful method of food preservation, making the meals taste better, weigh less and last longer. We use the best formula to produce freeze-dried meals cooked using the freshest ingredients that can be rehydrated in minutes.
Which is your favourite Expedition Foods meal?
I love all of them! If I absolutely had to pick, I'd go for Porridge with Strawberries for breakfast, and Thai Green Chicken Curry followed by Chocolate Chip Biscuit Pudding for my main meal.