Wise Company Food Storage Rebuts Mountain House Long-Term Shelf Life Claims
Last week, Wise Company Food Storage CEO Aaron Jackson released a letter addressing the claims made by Mountain House (Oregon Freeze Dry) that Wise Company is lying about the shelf life of its products. In case you didn’t know, Wise Company claims its food can maintain its nutritional content and freshness for 25 years–the same time Mountain House guarantees its products.
This is the ultimate issue in the food storage industry, and it bears a quick overview of the facts. First, no food storage producer has been in existence for at least 25 years except for Mountain House…so it actually has a pretty strong foundation to make its case. Mountain House has cans of food that are 30-45 years old, so testing is pretty easy. Wise Company is pretty new to food storage (about five years) so it doesn’t have the same ability to physically prove that its product is really good after 25 years.
However, Wise makes the case that testing through a third party (Exxon Mobil) shows that the oxygen level in its pouches (the best way to predict shelf life) as well as the way the pouches are constructed prove the food will actually be good for 25 years. If you believe the testing then you have to believe Wise’s 25-year claim.
The unfortunate thing is too many rinky dink, fly-by-night food storage companies have irresponsibly made claims that their food is “just as good” as Mountain House’s food and will last just as long. Usually, if you buy dehydrated food packaged in a plastic bucket, you are looking at about 8-15 years of shelf life. Wise Company has built a leading-edge manufacturing facility that is every bit as good as that of Oregon Freeze Dry, so I am inclined to believe their testing claims.
But if you like your freeze-dried food packaged in air-tight #10 cans and your freeze-dried food manufacturer to have actually been in business for at least 25 years, then Mountain House is the safest choice for you.
Below is the text of the letter Wise Company sent.
April 16, 2015
RE: MOUNTAIN HOUSE AT IT AGAIN – NEGATIVE ADVERTISING ATTACKS ON COMPETITORS MISLEAD AND CONFUSE CONSUMERS
Dear Valued Customer:
I am writing this letter to address two recent inaccurate reports released by a competitor, wherein they claim the oxygen and moisture transmission (“WVTR”) levels of a number of survival food products (including Wise Company’s) do not support long term shelf life claims. The facts refute their conclusions, and as the industry leader, we stand by our shelf life claims with substantive data. Unfortunately, these attacks only mislead consumers, damage industry perception, and hinder category growth.
This form of negative advertising is nothing new for Mountain House. It is disappointing that a competitor chooses to repeatedly fall back on irresponsible and negative advertising tactics under the guise of “educating the consumer.” Ironically, negative advertising results in a lack of consumer trust and reduced category interest, both of which are deterrents to our collective goal of helping consumers prepare for the unexpected. We also find it interesting that these reports with erroneous claims typically occur simultaneously with the release of new Mountain House products. This time appears to be no different.
With regards to the substance of the reports themselves, Mountain House relies on data supplied by Fres-Co, a manufacturing equipment supplier and presumably a vendor of Mountain House. Notably, Fres-Co is not a certified analysis laboratory and does not even list product testing as a service offered by the company on its website. Moreover, the equipment used to conduct the testis primarily intended for use in the petroleum and mining industry and is not intended for use with food products.
Not surprising, the results released by Mountain House are misleading and inaccurate. I am writing to let you know we clearly understand the effect high oxygen levels and moisture levels can have on long term shelf life, and as a result, we are meticulous in our processes and quality control. Below are some highlights of existing Wise Company quality control processes:
- Our products consistently test at below one percent (1%) average oxygen levels, well within the industry standard of three percent (3%).
- According to testing conducted on our pouch material by ExxonMobil (the manufacturer of our pouch material), the actual WVTR rates of our products at standard conditions (100 degrees F, 90% Relative Humidity) range from 0.002-0.003, significantly below the levels reported by Mountain House and well within the range necessary to achieve our shelf life claims.
- Wise Company pouch materials are more puncture and flexcrack resistant, and according to the above referenced ExxonMobil study, they also have a reduced environmental impact.
- Unlike Mountain House products, Wise Company emergency products do not have gussets. In some cases, gusset points increase the WVTR and OTR rates, thus compromising the integrity of the entire pouch.
- We conduct hourly oxygen level testing on site at our manufacturing facility to ensure consistency in our results.
- We have partnered with best in class partner, ExxonMobil, to ensure our packaging is of the highest quality and maintains extremely low oxygen transmission rates (OTR’s) and water vapor transmission rates (WVTR’s) for the lifetime of the product.
- We engage Silliker Labs, a third party internationally recognized laboratory that specializes in food safety and quality, to test our products in order to verify and confirm our internal quality testing results.
- Our facility utilizes an Industry-leading Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program.
- Our facility is SQF Level 2 Certified and USDA and FDA inspected and approved.
- We conduct Employee training and ongoing education programs as well as GMP training (Good Manufacturing Practices).
Should you have any questions regarding the above matters and/or like to request additional information regarding our test results or procedures please feel free to reach out to us directly at 800-393-2570.
Our first and highest priority is the safety of the consumers who use our products. We take pride in helping families prepare for the unexpected and we take this responsibility seriously. With a 99% satisfaction rate and millions of pouches sold, Wise has quickly become the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness. Thank you again for choosing Wise Company.
Chief Executive Officer