Last time I posted on the subject Biffo mentioned the "Look What We Found" meals and at that time I didn't realise I could get them here or on the web. However I managed to order up a few of them and have been giving them a wee test. So far I've only tried 2 of them so this is more of a preview than a review but for those who might be interested here's what I've found:
There is a good range of meals to suit a wide taste and they come in a plastic pouch, there is also a portion of rice available in the plastic pouch so you can have curry and rice. Now because these are hydrated they are a little heavier than the dehydrated meals and, also, my experience has been that they aren't as big a feed as the larger Mountain House or Expedition Foods meals. However, and this is a really big plus for the Look What We found meals, they are about half the price of a dehydrated meal and this would be significant if you got through a lot of them.
The dehydrated meals will keep for a very long time indeed but the Look What We Found meals have a relatively short shelf life, in the case of the ones I got about 9 months.
It appears that the primary means of heating these meals was intended to be the microwave but while out and about there is no option but to stand them in some water and this actually works quite well. Unfortunately the pouches are a little concave on the bottom and so air gets caught in there and they tend to "float" up a little higher than you might hope but because the food sinks to the bottom of the pouch this isn't actually much of a problem as it gets well heated. My pot is a little small for them but actually a pouch of rice plus a meal fit into it quite neatly and while it might look like I have a lot of the pouch above the water line they actually heat very well so a bigger pot might be helpful, but is certainly not required, but you'll not do so well if you go much smaller:
In terms of taste then in some respects it comes down to what you like plus I've only tried two so far. However, in my view the Look What We Found meals are tasty and very enjoyable and I think you'd only be too glad to be eating one on a day out. In some cases I thought maybe the freeze dried stuff had the edge so I certainly wouldn't be keen to make any definitive better/worse statement, they are both a good meal for people who spend a lot of time out and about and who like a little variation.
As the pouches are plastic it seemed likely that they might "taint" the water they were boiled in and so I didn't use this water for making my tea, though did use it for washing up. Because the pouches were a fairly tight fit in my pot I'd say I used about 500ml of water to boil them up, so a little less than a freeze dried meal needs for rehydration. Water supply isn't an issue for me but might be for some people and in that case then the Hot Pack self heating meals might be a better option as they only require a spoonful of water to get them going. However, they might not be ideal if water supply is an issue.
I think the big plus for the Look What We Found meals is that they are tasty and much less expensive than the freeze dried food but the relatively short shelf life plus the water "wasted" in boiling them up might be a disadvantage for some.