Sep 10

Wise vs Mountain House (Food Pouch Review)

Food pouches are a great for a Bugout Bag as they are light and easily transportable.  Toss some hot water in there and you have a full meal, all you need is a spoon.  The typical shelf life of food pouches is around 7 years which makes them a nice option if you wanted to add a few buckets to a food storage rotation cycle.  I already had quite a few of the Mountain House food pouches but had not tried any of the ones offered by Wise Company, another heavyweight in the food storage industry.  I formulated a plan to conduct a review and contacted one of this blog’s sponsors,  They were hip to the prospect of a review and promptly shipped out one of their Wise 72 Hour Emergency Entree Kits, valued at $29.56.  The kit comes with 6 meals, as you can see below.

Wise Pouches

Wise 72 Hour Emergency Entree Kit

I chose two of the meals from the Wise kit to match up to two of the meals I already had from Mountain House.  Here ladies and gentlemen are your contenders.

wise v mountain house

Chili Mac / Rice and Chicken

Test Methodology

Meals would be heated per instructions on each bag and then placed on a paper plate.  Taste tests would be conducted on each meal and the following criteria would be used for evaluation purposes.

  • Visual Appeal: Score of 1 – 5
  • Smell:  Score of 1 – 5
  • Overall Taste:  Score of 1 – 5

Besides the scores comments could be submitted if a judge felt like doing so.  For example: “This really tastes like the bottom of an old shoe…etc”

Additional Considerations

Before I get into the taste test, I thought to do a side by side comparison of the meals based on a few other factors.

Cost:  The Wise meals come in at around $5 each, so they are comparable to the Mountain House meals.  When purchased individually the MH meals can be a tad more expensive, but obviously there is also an option to purchase them in bulk from multiple suppliers (which would decrease their cost/unit).  I’d say this is a tie.

Nutritional Facts:  Because the meals and ingredients used are not exactly the same it’s tough to compare Nutritional Facts line by line.  I’ll just post up the pictures and let you decide for yourself which seems to be better.  At a quick glance the Wise did seem to have more protein.

Chili Mac Nutritional Info

Chili Mac Nutritional Info

Rice Nutritional Info

Rice Nutritional Info

************************Test Results************************ 

Chili Mac

chili mac

Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef

Visual:  5
Smell:  5
Taste:  4

Comments:  Smells good, almost tastes homemade.  Definitely has flavor versus the other brand.

Wise Chili Mac with Beef

Visual:  4
Smell:  3
Taste:  2

Comments:  Smells sort of like Hamburger Helper.  Taste is bland, could definitely use some salt.  Meat is dry and chalky.

Rice and Chicken


Mountain House Rice and Chicken

Visual:  3
Smell:  5
Taste:  4

Comments:  It’s pretty decent, smells and tastes a little bit like chicken noodle soup.  The rice is good, nice and fluffy.  Has more flavor than the Wise brand.

Wise Teriyaki Chicken with Rice

Visual:  4
Smell:  2
Taste:  2

Comments:  Doesn’t really smell like anything at all.  Tastes like nothing too, very bland, no seasoning, although surprisingly moist.  Yet…where is the Teriyaki?

The Bottom Line

Both of these products are comparable when it comes to price, availability, shelf life and ability to sustain you if the time ever comes (SHTF, Camping etc).  However given the option, based on taste alone I would select the Mountain House food pouches over Wise any day of the week.  The Mountain House pouches are simply better…and by that I mean they are significantly better.  Of course this is just my opinion and yours may vary.  Try both for yourself and then decide!



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    • Wilber on September 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM
    • Reply

    WARNING about WISE food fraud:

    • Bruce on September 10, 2013 at 8:14 PM
    • Reply

    Interesting. I notice they sell in cans also, which they claim last 25+ years
    I wonder how this compares to comparable items at the grocery store in terms of shelf life. I know Cans will be marked with “best by”, but what is the reality. Could you eat a 10 year old can of chilli?

    What if you took that new can of chili and boiled it for 10 minutes and then put it back on the shelf? Maybe that would provide much better shelf life?
    Also, it seems the colder it is, the longer the shelf life. So using the natural coolness of the earth in the form of a basement or underground room of some sort is a must.

  1. Best to choose Mountain House over Wise to make a SHTF experience less craptastic. The MH foods looks way better, too. Thanks for taking the time to post the pics & review.

      • PJ on September 12, 2013 at 7:48 PM
      • Reply

      Obviously the less craptastic SHTF is, the better for all of us!

    • cody on November 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM
    • Reply

    Alpine air food tastes better mh is crap

    • Ash on September 1, 2014 at 4:31 AM
    • Reply

    You didn’t use the Mountain House chicken teriyaki one you used the chicken and rice one. We had the Wise chicken teriyaki one and it wasn’t the greatest and the animals wouldn’t even eat it either.

  2. I’ll send you a Legacy Foods Chili Meal pack. You’ll never look back!

      • PJ on July 8, 2015 at 10:10 PM
      • Reply

      Send me an email and we’ll work it out! check my contact page

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