Editors Note: This is an updated and revised edition for 2018.
In my house, we always start with the label whether we are buying MRE’s for the next disaster or groceries for dinner tonight. In this blog, we take a closer look at the labels of similar standard emergency food staples from both Wise Company and Mountain House. Let’s dig in.
Oddities and Similarities
What you buy – Wise has a larger selection of product types per product family. For example, if you buy meat from them you have a choice between freeze-dried meat and meat that is seasoned (MREs – beef stroganoff) Also, with Wise, I did not find just meat.
It was always sold with additional servings or rice (mostly.) With Mountain House, you had just the opposite. You can buy MREs from them such as beef stroganoff or you can buy a #10 can of diced beef that is just 100 percent beef. So, as you compare the two be conscious of those oddities
Mountain House has smaller quantities per sale’s price. For example, their diced beef comes in #10 cans only, but you are free to buy as many of those as you need. Each holds 15 servings. Over at Wise, you can buy meat (almost always an assortment) in buckets with products filled in Mylar bags broken down by meat type or servings size.
These differences do not impact the quality of what you buy, but they do provide options for those of you who want more control over what you buy and how products fit into your emergency food strategy.
So, as you prepare your list of must-haves remember that there are options the provide strengths and weakness for each of these brands. In short, look past the marketing and make
Mountain House vs Wise Comparison Criteria
The comparisons that I make here are based on nutritional value and price per servings. I will try to note the shelf life of the product and serving size in comparison to a 2,000 calorie per day diet. What you will need to do is to look at your own caloric goals as you fit this information into your emergency food strategy and buying plans.
Beef Selection Comparison
|Data||Wise Foods||Mountain House|
|Meat||Freeze-dried beef and Binder||Diced Beef|
|Serving Size||32g dry||32 g dry|
|Price per serving||$1.75||$5.13|
|Shelf Life||15 years||30-years guaranteed|
|Package Type||4 serving Mylar bags||15 serving $10 can|
|Calories per serving||200||100|
|Sodium per serving||550mg||880 mg|
|Protein per serving||14g||25 g|
|Total Carbs per serving||1|
|Total Fat per serving||16||2 g|
|Notes||Available in a variety pack of chicken, beef, and rice. The Lower price per serving is likely due to the mix of chicken and the addition of rice in the bucket.||Contains only cooked beef and salt.|
As a consumer, I’d give this to Mountain House even though the price per serving is higher. As noted, I am pretty sure that is because the overall price of the Wise product includes chicken and rice, both of which are less expensive.
What I liked about the label data on the Mountain House Product were the higher levels of protein and the lower fat rating. The wise product had much less sodium so from the perspective of long-term food consumption their product could be healthier.
Overall, I felt that beyond the protein and the salt comparisons that the rest was a wash. Yes, the Wise product has more fat, but that is beneficial in a high-energy survival situation as fat converts to energy. For my own preferences, I would likely buy the Mountain House Beef over the variety pack from Wise mostly because I prefer the added control over how I plan meals.
What I did like about the Wise Product is that their bucket is filled with Mylar pouches so once opened you are not dealing with an entire #10 can of freeze-dried beef but smaller packets which, IMO, gives you better food safety.
|Data||Wise Foods||Mountain House|
|Serving Size||26 g Dry||34 g dry|
|Price per serving||$1.75||$3.79|
|Shelf Life||15-years||30-years guaranteed|
|Package Type||12-serving Mylar Pouch||#10 Can|
|Calories per serving||120||170|
|Sodium per serving||30 mg||470 mg|
|Protein per serving||24||25 g|
|Total Carbs per serving|
|Total Fat per serving||1 g||7 g|
|Outcome||Available in a variety pack with beef, chicken, and rice. The Lower price per serving is due to the mix of beef and the addition of rice in the bucket.|
For this comparison, I would choose the Wise Freeze-dried chicken over the Mountain house from the nutritional aspect. The reasons being is that the Wise product has less fat and a lot less salt.
The biggest problem I have with the Wise Chicken is that you cannot buy just chicken, it only comes in a variety pack. That is, again, why the price per serving is so low. This product has 80 servings of rice. So, while I like this product over the Mountain House product, I would still likely buy the Mountain House Chicken because I like the added control in just buying the chicken.
If I were just starting out and stocking up, I would consider the Wise product because it does offer a variety and you can add chicken, beef, and rice to your emergency food supply. While I would be more inclined to buy the Mountain House product, I am not thrilled with the added sodium or the extra fat. I would prefer to add both of those while the meal is cooking. However, that level of control is not always an asset in an emergency.
Mountain House does not sell dried fruit. They sell desserts. Wise Company sells dried fruit which (IMO) is a staple of emergency food stores. Fruit is both a short and long-term energy supply and it is packed full of nutrients.
If you are looking to add carbs to your meals, dried fruit is a great choice. You can find it Wise Company for about $1.33 a serving. As I try to focus on building healthy meals, I would not likely buy a dessert product for an MRE. That, however, is dependent on how you build your emergency food strategy
|Data||Wise Foods||Mountain House|
|Food Type||Powdered Eggs||Precooked Scrambled eggs with Bacon|
|Serving Size||13 g dry|
|Price per serving||$1.20||$3.15|
|Shelf Life||25 years||30-years guaranteed|
|Package Type||Mylar pouches||#10 can|
|Calories per serving||80||230|
|Sodium per serving||225 mg||690 mg|
|Protein per serving||6 g||16 g|
|Total Carbs per serving||1 g||7 g|
|Total Fat per serving||5 g||14 g|
|Notes||405 mg of Cholesterol|
Mountain House does not sell just eggs. They sell a variety of egg products, such as a country scramble, eggs with bacon, eggs with ham and peppers, but not just eggs. In comparing these two products, which are not apples vs. apples, I would go with the Wise Company’s powdered eggs over the Mountain House Precooked Scrambled Eggs with Bacon for a couple of reasons.
Most importantly, my choice is based on healthy foods and the premade MRE’s often have extra sodium, fat, and in the case of the mountain house product 405 mg of cholesterol. If you are looking for extra calories, then the Mountain House product might be a better choice.
The benefit is that these meals are fast and if you are working hard to survive then your body will burn up the cholesterol and fat. If you are not physically challenged it is another story.
It is difficult to choose one company over the other and the outcome of this adventure shows that big brands in emergency food do not always have everything that you need. A good example of this is the Mountain house egg selection or the Wise freeze-dried meat selections.
Both are great brands but in both cases, you cannot just get a staple product, but a meal. That can be okay if what you are shopping for is MRE’s. It also demonstrates the importance of strategizing long-term emergency food preparedness.
Another lesson from this comparison is the importance of reading labels to make sure you understand what you are buying. A good example of this is Wise’s Gluten Free Emergency Freeze Dried Meat & Rice bucket with 104 servings.
Without reading the label, you would not know that out of those 104 servings 80 of them were rice and only 24 of them were meat. As you go forward with your own emergency food strategy consider health, nutrition, and value.
Feel free to make your own comparisons by visiting either Wise Company or Mountain House. Both have products that match up nicely with long-term emergency food strategies and they both offer more than just food to the prepping community.
If calories are what you are looking for, Mountain House typically offers more per serving. They also sell to the outdoor /camping/hiking community, so this makes sense.
Bottom Line: With this in mind, Mountain House is a great “on the go” bug-out supply when you anticipate needing and burning significant calories. Otherwise, Wise Company is ideal for a shelter in place scenario (particularly their jumbo buckets where calorie efficiency is key.)
Where to Buy for the Best Price?
If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of the e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide. Also check out our Facebook page regularly for links to free or almost free eBooks that I personally reviewed just for you.
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!