Sticker shock is not uncommon when looking at freeze dried foods. #10 cans of freeze dried meats and entrees typically run $35-$45, which certainly can seem like a lot for a relatively small and lightweight can--especially if you're shopping in quantity.
I was curious about exactly how the prices might stack up to more conventional canned goods available at your local grocery mart. The results were actually pretty surprising.
For the comparison, I chose THRIVE freeze dried chopped chicken, which is on sale this month for $34.99. This is cooked and chopped chicken, only white meat and hormone free--usually stuff you pay a premium for to start with.
Based on info on the Shelf Reliance website, a #10 can contains 12 cups of freeze dried chicken. Two and a half cups of FD chicken make a pound of chicken, so there's enough FD chicken in one can to reconstitute 4.8 pounds of chicken.
That gives you a price per pound of $7.29 or $0.46 per ounce.
Compare this with a 12.5 ounce can chicken breast, like the Costco/Kirkland brand. Off the top of my head, one of these cans costs around $2.50. They contain 7 ounces of actual chicken, which gives you a price per pound of $5.71 and a price per ounce of $0.36.
So, you pay about a $.10 per ounce premium for the THRIVE freeze dried chicken. Not bad at all, and less than I would have guessed.
Things really swing in favor of the freeze dried stuff when you look at shelf life. Regular canned chicken has around a 3 year shelf life, while Shelf Reliance lists a 25 year shelf life for the freeze dried chicken. That means you'd have to rotate the canned chicken 8 times over the shelf life of the freeze dried chicken.
Sure, if you eat canned chicken as a part of your regular diet, then rotation is not a big deal. But if you don't--if you frequently find yourself getting rid of old canned food or if you just want something stored for insurance purposes--then that's certainly something to think about.
THRIVE freeze dried foods are available from our sponsor, Shelf Reliance consultant Jade Garn. Visit her website here.