Bla Band freeze dried meals

The problems and possible demise of Fuizion Foods left me in a quandary over evening meals for my recent trip. I still have four FF meals left, but I decided a short trip was a good opportunity to try some new food. Second best to Fuizion, IMO is Real Turmat, but they are very pricey at c.£10 a meal. So I thought I’d give Bla Band a try and ordered some from Outdoors Grub.

Mashed Potato with Beef and Vegetables

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On my first evening, I sampled the mashed potato with beef and vegetable meal. The first thing to note is that the pouch is squat rather than tall, making it easier to access, fill and stir. It also has fill markings, taking the guesswork out of the volume of water needed.

Fuizion meals are by far the best freeze dried meals I’ve tasted, so I was prepared for a lower level of quality. However, this meal was really disappointing. It looked like brown gloop. The carrots and turnip pieces were identifiable but the meat seemed to have gone missing. The taste was was very bland, not offensive, just largely absent. This one gets a thumbs down from me.

Skinnarmo’s Pasta Carbonara

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I approached the next evening’s meal with some trepidation. I selected the Skinnarmo’s Pasta Carbonara, which is named after a Swedish explorer. This is basically a macaroni pasta with minced beef in a cheese sauce. When I filled the sachet, it looked very runny, but don’t be deceived, after leaving for 12 minutes, all the water had been absorbed.

I was very impressed with this meal. It had a good cheesy and slightly peppery taste. The pasta rehydrated properly. OK, the pieces of beef were tiny, but overall I really enjoyed this one and could easily have eaten another sachet. So this gets a big thumbs up as one of the best non-Fuizion freeze dried meals I’ve tasted.

Risotto with Mushrooms and Chicken

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After the previous evening’s experience, my faith had been restored in Bla Band and I was looking forward to the Chicken and Mushroom Risotto. Again, preparation was simple. The guide mark is very helpful in gauging the correct amount of water. Unlike the pasta, not all the water was completely absorbed, but it wasn’t a soup.

While not as good as the carbonara, the taste was still pretty good. The chicken pieces were small but discernible, as were the mushrooms. The rice was was properly hydrated, with no crunchy bits. Overall, this gets a thumbs up as well, but not quite as enthusiastic as the carbonara.

Summary

I’d certainly buy two out of the three meals again (carbonara and risotto). In terms of ranking against competitors, they are not quite up to Real Turmat standards, but are much cheaper and less salty. They are some way behind Fuizion (so is everything) but they are better than Mountain House, Expedition Foods, Adventure Food and Be Well. They don’t suffer from that dry feeling and after-taste that some meals have. They also have a  low flatulence rating!

I still have three more to try, beef stew with mushrooms, creamy pasta with chicken and potato with beef and sauce Bearnaise. I’m sure the pasta one will be fine, but it will be interesting to see how the two beef dishes stack up against the one I’ve already sampled. I’m certainly not going to buy the mashed potato with beef and vegetable again.

Overall, I think Bla Band is worth trying and would recommend trying the pasta and risotto dishes.

Disclaimer: these meals were purchased with my own funds. I have no financial or commercial arrangements with Bla Band or Outdoors Grub.

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14 thoughts on “Bla Band freeze dried meals”

  1. I spoke to Fuizion today and they confirm no supplies available. They are presently trying to sell the company and have the support of their creditors.They said they had a huge order today which sadly they are unable to fulfill. The old phrase ‘Phoenix and ashes etc ‘ comes to mind, but it looks a long way off. Fingers crossed !

  2. I’ve had the Blå Bands when they came in tall pouches (and way before that when they reguired cookign in a pot) with similar experiences: There are some hits and some misses but nothing quite on the level of Fuizion, especially regarding sturcture. I think this applies to all freeze dried options easily available at the moment.

    At the moment I prefer MountainHouse, not much taste but good structure that can be brought to life with some spices. But good to hear there is hope to get Fuizion foods also in the future. They just happen to be the best.

    1. Fuizion is the only company that has got it consistently right for me. Even then, the chilli con carne and pasta with chicken and vegetables were not brilliant. I’ve had some reasonable Mountain House meals. The only ones I’ve really not liked are Be Well and Expedition Foods. That said, other people like them.

      1. For some reason freeze dried Chilli Con Carne is never a top one for me. Maybe it just doesn’t work as freeze dried version. 😀 Generally I find dishes with chicken (and pasta or rice) to be the safest bets. Mashed potatoes also works but then it’s mashed potatoes with something, it’s always more or less the same.

  3. This is a very interesting blog entry. I’ve only ever tried Mountain House meals and love them. But then again I’ve never tried any of the others for comparison. After around a year with Mountain House I have pretty much tried all their options and I’m now considering trying food from other companies. This post certainly casts some light on what to expect.

  4. Have you thought about buying a dehydrator and making your own food.
    I bought one a few years back after looking at what goes into dried food.I make all my own dishes aswell as jerky,leathers and dried fruit.On my last overnighter i had mexican chicken with spicy black beans and rice.

  5. Greetings from Northern California. Just wanted to let you know that there is a company in Texas called Packit Gourmet (google search) whose products are usually rated higher than Mountain House here in the States. Probably cost prohibitive to ship to Europe though.

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