This is a technical process during which fresh or cooked foods are flash frozen and placed in a vacuum chamber, where the moisture is removed before the food is sealed. When water is replaced/reintroduced, the food regains flavour and nutritional value. The main benefits are light weight, long shelf life and easy preparation.
For racing sailors, using stoves, pans or pressure cookers is impractical. Quickly boiling a minimal amount of water to prepare a freeze-dried meal is the most efficient method of having a hot meal and absorbing the necessary calorie requirements.
One of the most wellknown brands of freeze-dried and vacuum-pack meals is Expedition Foods. This UK company, favoured by sailors, rowers, mountaineers and adventurers, has a big range of dried and wet food, ration packs, gels, and snacks, with good information about calorie intake and three different calorie versions of each meal.
Will Hodshon and Richard Mitchel relied on Expedition pouches for their recordbreaking sail around Britain in a Wayfarer open dinghy in 2019 (pictured above).
Having ingested two 1,000 calorie meals a day for their 15-day voyage, Hodshon says these ready meals were often a highlight of their day!
Meals are priced at £6.49 from expeditionfoods.com. Meanwhile, over the page are some alternatives we have tried.