Stopping by the “Big Three” (AlpineAire, Backpacker's Pantry, and MountainHouse) booths this year resulted in a whooping four new dinner options for the discriminating backpacker. NOTE: In all fairness, there were two new desserts (at MountainHouse) and one new breakfast (at AlpineAire) but since I am only a seasoned user in the freeze-dried dinner market, that's my focus here.
Three of the new dinners came from Backpacker's Pantry, two qualify as “organic” (to go along with our green-themed show). The Organic Tofu Pesto was my favorite dish of the lot combining tofu and taglitelle pasta. I would give this dish a 4-star (out of five) tasty rating. The Organic Tofu will retail for $12.90. The other organic dish was the Organic Spinach Puttanesca with tomato sauce and spinach over the same taglitelle noodles, worthy of three stars and retailing for $9.50. My husband's favorite was their non-organic option the Chana Masala, an Indian curry dish with chick peas and chilies over rice. I would have to agree it was a unique flavor and therefore, give it a 4-star tasty rating. It did, however, get the five-star rating on price at $4.50. Whether you are a vegetarian or not, it is encouraging to see freeze-dried vegetarian dishes adding variety to the dinner market. All dishes from Backpacker's Pantry will be available November, 2007.
Backpacker's Pantry's top two new offerings
The only other addition to the freeze-dried dinner market came from AlpineAire Foods who is introducing Shrimp Fried Rice to their line-up. AlpineAire's cost for this product will approximate $5.30. I unfortunately did not get a chance to taste test their new addition so am unable to provide a tasty rating for this product. However, I will be taking it with me on my next backpacking trip to give it a try.
Let's hope next year provides a bit more fodder for my taste buds.