Third-Party Lab Study Finds Oxygen Levels in Wise Co Foods 110 Times Higher than in Mountain House

Discussion in 'Buy Sell Trade' started by JC Refuge, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. JC Refuge

    JC Refuge Monkey+++ Vendor

  2. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Well, that gets Wise foods off my list.
  3. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Well, an interesting Press release from Mountain House. Wise must really be hammering into their market share.

    A couple of things about this 'testing' that I found troubling.
    Why only test MH and Wise? Coleman sells a freeze dry product, for example.

    Apples to apples and oranges to apples and oranges. The test involved both dry (dehydrated) food and freeze dry. MH makes/sells/markets only the freeze dry product - why was the dry food included? What was the O2 levels in just the freeze dry product? Don't know, the press release didn't say.

    The press release didn't provide a link or access to the any 'lab reports' - you cannot verify what was really said in the report - was just a single package high in O2? All of the product? 20% How did MH do in their samples? Was it beans vs beans or just a packaged product selected randomly?

    Testing methodogy - inquiring minds want to know. I could continue, but I think you see my point by now.

    That said, I'm still buying MH - they have been around since the 70's, have a braod selection of quality products and while high in sodium for the most part, one MH meal a day is unlikely to give you a heart attack.

    The reviews I've seen for Wise (a real newby in the business) varied from "meh" to "gave me the runs". It doesn't help that Wise uses oddball packaging for portions, serving sizes, and their marketing channels (reminiscent of Amway) leaves me cold.

    Bottom line - if the testing was broader, included only FD food and the finished report were made public, the testing would have had a lot more credibility - as it stands, it looks to be nothing more than a marketing ploy back by "science". No thanks.

    AS always, YMMV.
    Guit_fishN likes this.
  4. MountainHouse

    MountainHouse Monkey


    I just wanted to drop by and answer some of your questions regarding our recent oxygen testing...

    The reason we focused on Wise Company was because we were concerned that their shelf-life claims might be exaggerated, given the packaging structure they use and their lack of oxygen absorbers. Emergency food storage is critical to families when there is a crisis, and we think it's extremely important for customers to be able to make informed purchasing decisions.

    In terms of apples to apples, both Wise Co. and Mountain House sell long-term emergency food storage products, which was the criterion we were addressing (although Wise does claim to use freeze dried ingredients in their products.)

    In terms of the study, we asked Columbia Food Labs to test 30 pouches each of Wise (shipped in sealed, original packaging) and Mountain House foods, with comparable flavors where possible. A chart with the results was added to the press release on

    (Being new to the forum, I can't yet post links or images, but if you google "mountain house" "multimedia gallery" it should be one of the first links.)

    You can see that while there was some variation in the oxygen content of both brands, there was also remarkable consistency: only 3 of the 30 Wise pouches had an oxygen level under 15%, while only 2 of the 30 Mountain House pouches had an oxygen level over 0.5%.

    Thank you for your questions on this very important subject. If you have further questions, please feel free to post them here, or email MH-Info (at)
  5. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Chart mentioned in above post.
    (SOURCE: m

    And another fun chart (taste test) by MH

    And shelf life

    I would still like to see the report - but you (MH) paid for it and so, it is yours do with as you wish.

    We keep a mix of basics (wheat, rice, beans, milk, salt, honey, cooking oil) and MRE/canned food in addition to a fair amount of MH. As a former (Rainy Day) storage food dealer, I always told - and still tell - folks to keep a good mix of different kinds of food in the pantry, to include fats and oils.

    This test has been making the rounds on the different boards, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, will come from the Wise foods folks.

    And Mountain House - on the menu bar at the top, there is a small monitor-looking icon. Click that and it all allow you to insert images and such directly into the post.

    Thanks for the follow-up.
  6. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    What test methods were used? I wonder if I could recreate with some of the equipment we have at work...
  7. See the initial press release response from Wise Company below:

    Wise Company, Inc.: Ensuring Quality Every Step of the Way
    Salt Lake City, Utah – July 16, 2012: Mountain House, a supplier of emergency and outdoor foods, issued a press release on July 12, 2012 targeting a single competitor: Wise Company. Why attack Wise Company when Mountain House has dozens of other competitors? Because Mountain House is now launching a new bucket and pouch line designed for emergency preparedness very similar to a product that has been a specialty of Wise Company since their inception.

    Wise Company has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years with its emergency foods packaged in pouches capable of lasting up to 25 years. During this time, Mountain House has claimed that food pouches have no more than a 7-year shelf life. Now, in conjunction with the launch of its new product line, Mountain House has changed its story and claims that pouches can achieve a 25-year shelf life!

    Wise Company takes great pride in providing high quality emergency food with a long-term shelf life. The Mountain House surprise attack relies on a lab study commissioned and presumably paid for by Mountain House. Notably, Wise Company’s existing quality testing and data show oxygen levels in its products lower than those alleged by Mountain House.

    Wise Company’s raw materials and finished goods contain very low moisture levels. The extreme low moisture content contributes to product stability. Wise Company product is then packed in ultra-high barrier (UHB) packaging with a very low oxygen transmission rate as well as a very low water vapor transmission rate (WTR). Once sealed, Wise individual pouches are stored in durable plastic containers. These elements, along with proper storage and temperature, are essential to providing consumers with quality products capable of lasting up to 25 years.

    "We take our obligations in this industry very seriously," said Brian Neville, president and CEO of Wise Company. "We have confidence in our food pouches standing the test of time."
  8. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    This is great! Good ol competition. Consumers win!!

    When I first read the MH report, I too had notions of skepticism because the "study" was paid for by MH and ONLY tested one other vendor. For example, I have quite a bit of Backpaker's Pantry and Mary Jane's Farm stuff**. Why not test them? Wouldn't that solidify MH's place at the top if they were the lowest O2 across the board. But, if they tested the others....what if they were more in the middle? Maybe they were above Saratoga Farms......

    The point is, if you open a Pandora's Box like this, you have to be willing to have it all out there. Now, MH is just inviting a 3rd party to test them all. Just be ready for the results. And, unless you live up north, can you really expect this stuff to last 25 years when it is stored in your un-airconditioned garage? Most people just don't have climate-controlled storage space.

    ** The reason I have a lot of these are taste and sodium content--(BP has great biscuits n gravy). I have some MH too...but, their sodium content for the same product is generally above BP and way above MJF.
  9. JC Refuge

    JC Refuge Monkey+++ Vendor

    At this point--it's about test data and track records. I was courted multiple times by Wise a year or so ago to sell their products and they could not or would not answer my questions about these very things--about how they tested their packaging in order to make the shelf life claims they do (which are way out of line with what industry-recognized standards are) ... not to mention how they presented their foods in a deceptive manner (look at ingredients and count the calories), expecting me to to do the same.

    Back to shelf life--If you are going to greatly push the envelope in terms of product performance, which is what Wise's marketing claims do, then you need to be able to demonstrate the new packaging methodology and at the very least show the data that represents third party testing that validates those claims. There is no such data and that is why I declined to involve myself in the Wise business ... not to mention the fact that a multi-level marketing approach to this is just not right.

    I would certainly welcome more independent, scientific reviews of any and all storage food brands out there. We do need a broad look at food storage products.

    But folks who would question OFD's place in the industry simply don't know enough about that company's history and their place at the forefront of the development of the freeze-drying technologies or about their position as the global market leader in freeze drying. Their 40-year history, their many facilities around the world, cutting-edge R&D capabilities, FDA-registered manufacturing plants and continuous USDA-inspected processes ensure my complete confidence as well that of their private and institutional customers around the world.

    As for Wise--I just looked on their site trying to determine something about their history -- there's nothing there about it. My recollection is that Wise popped up early last year with a big marketing effort trying to take advantage of the Mountain House shutdown that occurred after they were totally overwhelmed with backorders. Basically--at the time, and even now it seems to be all about marketing for Wise.

    To be clear--I am in the crisis preparedness business. I'm a long-time Mountain House dealer. I also am a dealer for several other storage food brands and many other survival related products and supplies. I've been in this business since before it was trendy, more than 10 years ago. I am all for quality products in the marketplace--whatever the brand. But unfortunately, there have always been operations that are not intended to give customers what they believe they are getting ... and that is where I object, since poor product or deceptive market approaches reflect poorly on all of us.

    Am I saying Wise is in that category? Not necessarily. I would like to see data that says otherwise.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    "What we have here is a difference of opinion!"

    At this stage, all we have are competing advertising claims with no access to other than favorable testimonials. For one, I'd love to see a "competition" using one or two independent labs testing for the same criteria, not only MH and Wise, but any others that might volunteer their product for testing.

    On top of that, I'd bet a small wad that samplers sent out to a selection of monkeys (hint, hint) will get honest comparisons. I'd also bet that there are sufficient differences in the products that one guy's stroganoff will be tastier than the other's and the other's croquettes are better than the first.

    That said, we welcome JCR (again) and Wise to the forum and the unique banana eater's perspective.
  11. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I'll test food.
    Quigley_Sharps likes this.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    phui. You'll eat anything and like it. At least Clyde has a sophisticated palate.
  13. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    I've got quite a bit of the thrive stuff. It doesn't taste that bad. I also have some MH and quite a few MREs. Got those for free. Was issued them but ate ramen noodles for a week instead!
  14. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe


    Wondered when the counter-battery fire would begin.

    BTW- WISE Company Rep, when will you (WISE Co.) post the results of third party testing on your products. I'd settle for an explanation of your QC & lab testing process, even if it isn't ISO 9000 compliant....

    Oh, and a list of suppliers/source would be nice as well.
  15. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Let's make sure we keep this discussion civil. I (as a consumer) would love to see all the facts.
    Brokor, ghrit and Guit_fishN like this.
  16. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    I think I'll go to REI and Wal-mart and get a couple of each and do a taste-test using my new Biolite stove. I'm going to go into this with an open mind...but, I eat quite a bit of Mary Jane's Farm stuff and will be using that as my baseline.

    (Another reason I like MJF is that you can burn the package...not packing out trash rocks).

    Here's another thread about this exact thing on another site you may be familiar with:
  17. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    The Walmart here only has Augason Farms that I've seen. A friend has recommended them on occasion. Only tried the honey powder, but it works for me. Gonna try the cheese powder next if they have it when they we go back into town. And I've been successful enough making my own powdered eggs.
  18. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    I've seen MH at Wal-Mart I think. Hopefully they'll have both.
  19. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Many (maybe all?) Walmarts dropped MH and now sell Coleman brandname FD food packets. I have not tried them, as I have a goodly supply of MH still.
  20. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I am pretty sure most Wal-Mart stores have dropped MountainHouse, probably due to the strong demand and MH falling behind. I have personal experience dealing with WM and they have heavy demands. Does this mean Wal-Mart has phased out MH foods entirely? I don't know, but I would like to find out. All I see in my local WM's is Coleman food, and that's just not going to cut it.

    I love MH foods, and I also have some Wise as well --and some other brands on top of that. I have tried (and stock) some Alpine Aire freeze dried foods, too. I am not willing to say MH is the best in the world, but it's pretty darn hard to beat. The price could be better, of course.
    Quigley_Sharps likes this.
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