Rating: 8.9 / 10
Value for Money 1.9 / 2.5
Taste 2.0 / 2.5
Convenience 2.5 / 2.5
Weight 2.5 / 2.5
A few months ago (April 2018) I started to come across some social media threads on a new food product called Primal Pods. Always on the lookout for meal options for hiking I added this to my follow up list for later in the year and promptly forgot about them as I worked my way through a large list of gear reviews I currently have backlogged. Luckily for me Primal Pods was on display at the June 2018 Outdoor Retailer Association expo in Sydney. I had the opportunity to talk to the supplier, do an initial taste test, and record a short interview for podcast episode 070. So what are Primal Pods?
Most people are familiar with the freeze dried meal options on the market whereby you add boiling water, wait for a period of time and then eat. In this case Primal Pods are commercially dehydrated meals, professional packaged and packed with real meat. Currently there are four meal options available on the market including three meat based dishes and a newly released vegetarian option I haven’t had a chance to try out yet. In addition to being dehydrated, Primal Pods are meant to be eaten without cooking or rehydrating; just open the box and eat which makes these meals a very easy option; not just for hiking but for any time.
EDAS Foods take 300 grams Australian vegetables and 160g Australian meat and squeezes it into an 80g meal (excluding packaging). Each meal contains two thirds of the Recommended Daily Intake for vegetables and 50 grams protein with the only non Australian product in these meals being the spices.
So how did I find them? Let start with the negatives first. For many people the obvious negative is the price at $13.95 per meal. Now I can hear people say ‘I rehydrate my own meals’, ‘they work out cheaper’ and ‘I have a bigger variety’. All of this is probably true but these are not home dehydrated meals but rather commercially made meals and it shows.
I have never seen a batch of more consistently made meals before and in particular the meat component (essentially jerky) is super thin and very tasty. I’m used to having to vigorously chew most jerky on the market but not with the meat in these meals. In response to the other issue of preparing you own food, if that’s what you are into that is fine. I am extremely time poor so find that preparing rehydrated meals is just not an option for bigger trips. The other factor to consider is that you are starting with 160 grams of meat which doesn’t come cheap at any time.
From my perspective I saw these meals as being a good meal option for lunch on my hikes. I personally prefer a hot meal at the end of the day, particularly in winter, but the last thing I want to do is cook at lunchtime. It just doesn’t happen in my world. These meals are also a good meal replacement for lunch and/or dinner during the week at work rather than nipping out and buying greasy takaway.
As a general comment on these meals you do need to drink water otherwise you find yourself drying out quite quickly as your stomach rehydrates the meals internally. I also have a digestive track issue and learned the hard way that while its very easy to just eat and walk its not a good idea with main meals like it is with snacks; from now on I’ll stop and eat my lunch.
Gill wasn’t a fan of the texture although she was happy with the taste as what these meals amount to is jerky and dried vegetables. I on the other hand really like them and I am more than happy to recommend Primal Pods as a meal option for hikers. In fact I have already placed an order for my upcoming Bibbulmun Track thru hike and will mix them with other meal options for my lunches as you need the variety.
The quantity of food in these boxes is accurate and is actually very filling. The packaging itself is easy to read and has some quite quirky text on it such as ‘Help! I’m upside down’. I tend to remove the boxes for a hike to limit the rubbish I need to carry out to two smallish plastic bags and the small gel pack (don’t eat this!!!).
As far as the taste goes out of the three meat based varieties, I definitely have my favourites and to be honest my top choice wasn’t the one I expected it to be (read the taste tests below).
Primal Pods (meat options) in the box easy to eat
The contents panel is very easy to eady and understand
Box unpacked. The vegetable and the meat are separated so you could always split the meals if you want
Out of the three options this was my least favourite. Not because there was anything wrong with it but for my own tastes I found it a bit bland. I know from talking to various suppliers that more people prefer less spice in their meals but I’m the opposite. The meat is good quality and easy to digest, and the vegetables are what you would expect from a roast dinner and include sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and onions. A very filling meal overall
Sunday Roast Beef and Veg as purchased
Beef up close
I love, love love spicy food and this one is definitely that. In fact if you’re not a spice lover you may want to opt for one of the other two options. I hadn’t had dehydrated pork before and found this to be quite tasty. This meal contains beans, mushrooms, capsicum and onions along with some very tasty spices. I seriously thought that this would be my number one choice and it was very close but this one comes in at number two on my list
5 Spice Pork and Veg in a box. Note the spice rating – 3 out of 4 chillies. I love the spiciness but others may not
5 Spice Pork and Veg ready to eat. The vegetables are as good as the meat
Pork close up
I was very surprised with this one having never eaten chicken jerky before and as such though that I wouldn’t be a fan but boy was I wrong. The best way to describe this is a s ‘sweet and sour’ with a hint of spice. Not enough to put people off but enough to make a spice lover like me appreciative. The thing I really loved about this was the fact that the vegetable mix contained dehydrated pineapple. The dehydration has been done to such an extent that I only discovered this when I tasted it. I could quite happily eat a box full of the pineapple by itself but found that it balanced this meal really well and as such this is my first choice out of the current range
Thai Chicken and Veg in a box
Chick dish unpacked
Chicken dish ready to eat
A good meal replacement option where you don’t want to cook. For me this will form part of my much options but will also do dinner when you can’t be bothered cooking
If you have eaten Primal Pods or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
This review was done with product supplied by the manufacturer