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Tasting Long Term Storage FoodIt’s always a good idea to try before you buy. That’s especially true when it comes to long-term storage (LTS) food. Whether you buy the less expensive dehydrated food or the premium freeze-dried, LTS food isn’t cheap, and those who buy it tend to buy it in bulk.

You buy it to eat when you don’t have anything else to eat, but that doesn’t mean that it’s OK for it to taste bad.

Some people have the mindset that if they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat anything. Remember the line from the movie Crocodile Dundee: “Tastes like crap, but you can live on it.” That isn’t necessarily true. There is such a thing as “food fatigue.” Some people get so tired of eating something over and over again that they stop eating altogether. In a survival situation, that’s not a good thing. Your body is already stressed. You don’t need to add starvation to your list of problems.

Sample Packs are Your Friend
Fortunately, with many brands of LTS food you can buy sample packs or pouches to try a small quantity before you invest a big chunk of change. We recently took advantage of two such offers. One was from Wise Foods, one of the giants in the LTS food industry. Wise Foods is the most heavily advertised of any LTS brand that I’m aware of. Their commercials run over and over again on Doomsday Preppers. Their website has an offer for a free 4-serving sample of one of their entrées. They pick which one you get. Over the past couple of years, I’ve requested and received two samples from them.

The other sample we tested was from eFoods Direct, a much smaller company that you probably have never heard of before. Neither had we until we started shopping for LTS food. eFoods Direct’s website offers a “free” six-meal sampler. I put free in quotes because they charge you $9.95 for shipping, but in their defense you get quite a lot for your ten bucks. They send you three 4-serving samples of entrées or dried soups, a food planning guide to help you determine how much food you need for the number of people and amount of time that you’re planning for, and a 30-minute audio CD (which is essentially a sales pitch).

We decided to compare these two brands head-to-head one evening. We didn’t have the same entrée from both companies, but we hoped that by trying both brands at the same time we would get a feel for the quality of each.

Let the Sampling Begin
The product we sampled from Wise Foods was their Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini. Sounds good to me. I like pasta and I especially enjoy having some veggies with my pasta. We matched it up against eFoods Direct’s Tortilla Soup mix. So how did they compare?

Wise Foods, for all their advertising budget and celebrity endorsements, did not fare very well. Not at all. On the plus side, it was easy to prepare. Boil four cups of water, add the mix, stir it up, remove it from the heat, let it stand covered for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Easy peasy. The resulting dish had eye appeal, but that was all. Our first impression was that it really didn’t smell good at all. It just didn’t have a food product aroma to it. As for taste, it was salty (800 milligrams of sodium per one-cup serving), but otherwise bland and starchy. We gave their Creamy Pasta two stars out of a possible five. And that might have been generous.

On to eFoods Direct’s Tortilla Soup. As I said, this was one of three 4-serving samples they provided. The other two are Creamy Potato Soup and Cheesy Chicken Rice. The rice dish would have been a more direct comparison against Wise’s Creamy Pasta, but we wanted a little variety. I’m a tortilla soup fan, so it’s not like we were comparing something we liked against something we didn’t.

The Tortilla Soup instructions required bringing 4-1/2 cups of water to a boil, whisking in the mix, reducing the heat, and simmering it for 15-20 minutes. This preparation would take significantly more fuel in an emergency situation over the Wise Foods product, where you boiled the water but reconstituted the food with no heat at all. The energy advantage goes to Wise.

But this was a taste test, so how did eFoods come out in that category. Let’s just start by saying that this is not a pretty soup. It was a reddish-gray color, about like a bowl of mashed kidney beans would look. So Wise beats eFoods in eye appeal, at least between these two very dissimilar dishes. As for aroma, the Tortilla Soup smelled just like you would expect tortilla soup to smell. You could tell what it was with your eyes closed. It was ringing my olfactory dinner bell. But the pleasant aroma didn’t fully prepare us for the flavor of the food. As good as it smelled, it tasted even better. This was restaurant-quality tortilla soup. It was very well seasoned, but not overly salty (451mg of sodium per one-cup serving) or what you would call spicy.

One of the things that I liked best about this Tortilla Soup is that the flavor was well saturated. What I mean by that is that the next day I served some of the leftover soup over a bowl of rice and a relatively small amount of soup flavored the rice exquisitely. This is hugely important in an emergency food situation. Having something that flavors and stretches an inexpensive base like rice, pasta, or potatoes is an enormous plus. This takes the number of servings per pouch of the more expensive soup mix up and the cost per serving way down.

Both Sandy and I loved eFoods Direct’s Tortilla Soup mix. We both gave it five stars. A week or two later we took a stab at their Creamy Potato Soup. It was also very good, about on par with a good store-bought dried potato soup mix from a company like Bear Creek. It didn’t ring our bell quite the way the Tortilla Soup did, though, but it still scored a solid four stars out of five. Not too shabby. We would never turn our noses up the Potato Soup.

Wise Food Sample

eFoods Direct Sample


Creamy Pasta &
Vegetable Rotini

Tortilla Soup Mix

Overall Rating 2 Stars 5 Stars
Ease of Preparation 4 Stars – Easy-peasy 4 Stars – Easy-peasy
Fuel Required for Preparation 4 Stars – Boil 4 Cups water 3 Stars – Boil 4.5 cups water, simmer 15-20 minutes
Eye Appeal 4 Stars – Yum! Let’s eat! 3 Stars – Reddish-gray
Aroma 0 Stars – Hold your nose! 5 Stars – Makes your mouth water!
Taste 0 Stars – Too salty, bland & starchy 5 Stars – May I have some more, please?
Bonus 5 Stars –Great over rice or to add flavor to other dishes

In a Bit of a Quandary…
Like I mentioned near the start of this review, we received another sample from Wise Foods a couple of years ago. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I would guess a Pasta Alfredo. It was just plain awful. Those who know me know that I’m not a picky eater – actually, I tend to be an adventurous eater. I’ve eaten from sidewalk food carts in Tiajuana, Mexico and lived to tell the story. That first sample we got from Wise was so bad that neither of us could eat it. Worse still, I gave it to our dog and even she wouldn’t eat it. There was nothing about it that told your body that it was a food product.

I have an acquaintance who writes an excellent prepper blog. I won’t name the person or identify their website in this context because of what I’m about to say here. This blogger recently did a head-to-head comparison of LTS food from eight companies, all at the same time, using as close to identical entrées as possible. I would have loved to know who all eight companies were and how they ranked, but I didn’t want to press my luck with this person whom I know only slightly, so I just inquired about the winner and the loser. The winner was another small company that I haven’t tried yet — Food Insurance. The clear loser was (…wait for it…) Wise Foods.

These results have placed your humble correspondents in a bit of a quandary. We run ads on this website with two goals in mind. First, we want to make it easy for our readers to find products that will help them get themselves and their families well equipped to face whatever emergency situation might come their way. I do a lot of reading and shopping so you don’t have to. We haven’t purchased from every vendor whose ads we run on this site, but we screen them all as carefully as we can for quality and value. We never want to give any of our readers a bum steer. That’s a great way to make someone a former reader.

Our second goal with the ads is to make money. Both the missus and I spend many hours every week working on this website to make it a worthwhile resource for beginning preppers. We don’t get paid for it. The purpose for this website is to sound an alarm about the delicate condition of the world we live in. We are in danger from the threats of warfare, terrorism, the economy, and ecology. We are under a relentless cyber attack by our enemies and we could get sucker punched by a solar flare or a stray asteroid. How many times have you heard the phrase “the storm of the century” in the past few years? We really want you to be as well prepared as possible if any of these potential calamities becomes a reality in your neighborhood. But we can’t afford to do it for free, so we run ads on our website that pay us a small commission on each purchase that you make when you click through to the vendor’s site from ours.

The Verdict Is In
We’ve been running ads for Wise Foods on our site. They are a leading company in their field. They are one of the two best known players (along with Mountain House Foods) in their industry. A lot of people are buying Wise Foods for their LTS needs. So should we continue to run their ads because some people seem to like their product, even when we and the other blogger I mentioned can’t recommend them?

I can’t do it. Even if I don’t personally endorse Wise’s products, running their ads still promotes them. I have nothing against the folks at Wise. They have been nothing but nice and helpful to me. But when it comes to a sizeable investment in LTS food, you can (and should!) do better than that.  You can buy Wise through almost any other prepper site, but as of today you won’t be able to buy it through ours. I endorse eFoods Direct based upon my limited (but crazy tasty!) experience with them. FYI, I’ve also been very happy with the foods I’ve bought from Emergency Essentials and The Ready Store. Both of those are good, one-stop superstores for all things preparedness. But as of today, Wise Foods is gone from this site.

In the words of one of my favorite foodies, I bid you good eating.

8 Responses to Tasting & Judgement – Wise Foods vs. eFoods Direct

  • Stef says:

    Hi, this is the first time I’ve been to your blog and I have to say I am impressed. It takes guts and fortitude to bite the hand that feeds you, so to speak. I really respect your decision and am now going to sign on and come back often because now I know what kind of standards you hold yourselves to.

  • TADPrepper says:

    Lady Stef — Thx for your comment and for reading our blog. Yes, it was a tough decision to take Wise Foods’ ads off our site based on our appraisal of their products. They are a powerhouse in the industry, so people are buying their food, but the first sample that I tried from them my dog literally would not eat. There are better options available. In the interest of full disclosure, we have maintained an ad for Wise’s fire starter product on our Energy topic page. Readers could conceivably follow that link and buy food as well as fire starter, but that’s up to them. I’m OK with promoting the fire starter product. And I recently received an email from Wise saying that they have reformulated some of their foods to make them even more tasty. I’ll wait for the dust to settle on that before we go back for a follow-up review. It isn’t our intention to keep anyone in the doghouse forever. If they correct their issues, we’re more than happy to re-evaluate the situation and give them another shot. Lord knows I’ve needed a second chance a time or two in my life. Thx again for writing.

  • Chris says:

    Hi, I agree with your review. I had similar experiences. BTW, Patriots Pantry is identical to eFoods Direct. They have the same ingredients, and nutritional information. Even the packaging is identical except for the graphics.

    • Chris,
      I take no pleasure in publishing negative reviews of products, but I felt strongly about this one because of the huge advertising budget and market share that Wise has. For good or for bad, they are the face of the industry. With my personal experience of their food product being so poor, and finding another product that was so much better, I had to get the word out. And I backed it up by removing Wise as a food advertiser on my site. (I kept the ad for their fire starting product.) Since we ran that review, Wise Foods has been advertising that they’ve changed their formulations and improved their products. We are in the process of sampling their new products for review. I’ve only tried one so far but (…spoiler alert…) it wasn’t bad.
      Thanks for sharing your experience and for the tip about Patriot’s Pantry.

  • gerry says:

    I read so many blogs but your one is really impressive. I always buy efoods and it is one of my favorite store they really have good taste of food.

  • Jody says:

    I also got the Wise creamy pasta and rigatoni as a free sample. When I opened the package, took out the oxygen absorber and smelled the product, my first impression was that it smelled like a dead animal. I poured it into the pot and smelled it again and it still smelled awful. I threw it out without tasting it.

    • Jody — Misery loves company, so on one hand I was sorry to hear that you had a bad experience, but on the other hand I was happy to hear that it wasn’t just me who hated that stuff. About a year ago they ran an ad campaign saying that they had reformulated their product line and improved the taste. They even sent me a sample pack, but I haven’t gotten around to subjecting myself to it again yet. I really should do it, because I believe in giving everyone a second chance. (Lord knows I had my share of them.) There are some good tasting long-term storage meal vendors out there, most notably Mountain House and the much lesser known Food Insurance, but all of the freeze-dried meal products are expensive. I’ve got my eye on a home freeze-drying unit from HarvestRight, but right now those bad boys are going for about $3,500. I’m hoping that over time, like microwave ovens and flat-screen TVs, the price will drop like a rock and become affordable for poor people like me. Until then, my food storage plan is centered around buying bulk ingredients that are packaged for medium- to long-term storage and learning how to prepare a variety of meals from them. I buy most of my stuff from vendors such as Emergency Essentials, The Ready Store, and Auguson Farms, all of which you will find ads for on our site in the right-hand column. I’ve bought from all of them and enjoyed their products for years. They all run frequent sales and having all of these competing vendors on our site allows people to comparison shop and get the best deal. Keep on prepping, Jody, and thanks for writing.

  • Candace El says:

    Hi, It’s my 1st time on your site. I crossed over from your YouTube video and really like your content. I will subscribe and continue to follow. That being said, I’m a “kindda” new prepper, with several months in on active prepping. My focus has been on LTS and I started with the Wise Company food buckets for their convenience. However, I deliberately have not tried any of the products. Why? Because after reading many reviews both pro/con, I’ve decided the method in which I am able to purchase the Wise brand, far out weighs the possible unpleasantness of it’s taste or plate appeal. And I will invoke my “inner grandmother”, who by the way, could make hogmaws & collard greens w/bacon drippings & cast iron skillet cornbread, taste like the epitome of YUUUM!! I call it “seasoning magic”. Now let me explain my method of purchase. Being on a fixed income, I often shop online with because they have a payment plan called FlexPay and they sell Wise Company products. You can break up the payments from 1-5 without interest, and sometimes with free S/H. This has been an affordable alternative which has allowed me to start my LTS prep. If there is another company with similar deals, I will bite. But I haven’t seen any. Looking forward to your posts. God Bless!

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