Expedition Foods manufactures some of the better regarded freeze dried meals out there, plus they’re bright orange which is always a bonus. These meals provide a generous 800 calories, which is marketed as high energy, but probably just right at the end of an active day, and about what I factor in for a regular main meal on normal days. This meant that I didn’t even consider the 450cal regular packs (plus they’re not orange), but they might be useful as a lunch on a longer backpack. There’s only a quid’s difference between the two, making the regular portions poor value in comparison. We tested out the Savoury Beef with Rice, Chicken Tikka, Mild Curried Beef With Rice and the Shepherd’s Pie (thanks to Mark Parry)

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The Savoury Beef with Rice had a herby, Italian taste, and one I’d look forward to tucking into at the end of the day. The flavour was reminiscent of the Mountain House Lasagne, which considering I can no longer eat pasta, was a welcome bonus.

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Shepherd’s Pie  – Mark had this to say:

The shepherds pie was very earthy and the flavour of the mince contrasted well with the background vegetables giving a well balanced meal. Easy to prepare with very appealing smell, this making it difficult to wait for the meal to stand.

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The Chicken Tikka with Rice was OK if a bit watery, but flavoursome enough with largish chunks of meat. As usual for this sort of meal, they’re mean with the rice, but there’s not enough flavour there to bulk it out without adding some curry powder or paste to compensate. As it packs 800 calories already, you probably wouldn’t want to.

However, the ‘mild curried beef with rice’ was rather disappointing. It was more of a savoury mixed vegetables, with a few sparse chunks of beef here and there. First impressions had me worried that I’d have no supper that night. After adding the water, the phrase ‘used sick bag’ came to mind and I nearly didn’t even taste it. However, most dehydrated meals look like that to some degree, some more than others, and it didn’t taste anywhere near as bad as it looked. But calling this a mild curry is an understatement, with the flavour being savoury at best, with a bit of sweetness thrown in. It wasn’t unpleasant, and considering that it was mainly a vegetable dish (you wouldn’t miss the meat in this, if you can find it) left me full, if generally wishing I’d had something else to eat instead.

On the whole these meals aren’t too bad, and you won’t be disappointed to tuck into one of these at the end of a hard day’s walking if you know what you’re expecting. It’s just that they’re not as good as the recent Fuizion meals that have raised the bar and set a new standard for outdoor foods. However, there are no gluten free Fuizion meals, so for the foreseeable future I’ll certainly restock on some more of these (two of the flavours at least), but all the time I’m tucking into these, I’ll be thinking of Fuizion.

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