October 8, 2021

Are Dehydrated Snacks The Future of Food Sustainability?

It is not a new concept to eat dehydrated foods. Dry foods are an integral part of our food system, from instant coffee to powdered dairy products. You’ve probably had a dried snack, whether it was a packet of seaweed or raisins, or even a slice of fruit leather. Why is there such an increase in shelf-stable dried snacks that claim to be saving the earth?

Dehydrated snacks are a great option for extended shelf life and concentrated flavor. I know this from personal experience as a founder of a dehydrated food company. Surprisingly, there are many other brands that make this claim. It’s only natural that we are seeing the effects of our climate-destroying choices and that food that requires less resources is becoming more popular. Climatearianism is a diet-based identity that encourages people to eat foods with low carbon emissions.

I wanted to find out if the dehydrated snack makers are actually serious or just playing up the fact that dried foods weigh less, which in turn means they require less fuel to ship. I conducted some research and reached out to Seth Goldman, co-founder and chief executive officer of the mushroom jerky company Eat the Change. Find out what I learned.

The Water Factor | Dehydrated Snacks

The reduced water content in dried foods makes them more durable than other snacks, it should not be overlooked. You can make a food lighter by removing water from it. This means that less resources are required to transport the food, which in turn reduces its carbon footprint. One advantage of dehydrated food is its lighter weight and smaller size. Two, it can be shipped in a much smaller space than fresh equivalents. Dehydrated foods can be a more sustainable and healthy snack option.

More Accessible Pricing

When it comes grass-fed beef, the word “cheap” isn’t the only thing that springs to mind. You can expect to spend anywhere from ten to thirty bucks on a steak made from grass-fed beef, depending on what cut you choose.

You can get the health benefits of grass-fed beef at a fraction the price by drying it and packing it in small, shelf stable bags. Although jerkies can still be expensive per pound, they are available in smaller quantities than fresh meat and are dried in a way that is more satisfying for a smaller portion. Prevail Jerky claims that their jerkies can be stored outside for up to a year, even without the use of preservatives.

These snacks are small, but affordable, and are packed with flavor and protein. They are also easy to carry around. Werner Jerky, for example, makes meat sticks from their grass-fed beef. It costs just six dollars per five-ounce pack.

Nutrient-Dense Ingredients

Although grass-fed beef offers many health benefits, not everyone likes to eat meat. Plant-based snacks are growing in popularity, as is the rise in vegan restaurants and meal delivery services that focus on produce.

The Keho savory snack bar is full of vegetables and can be used as a meal substitute for sweet protein bars. They are also vegan, gluten-free and keto. These snack bars are a quick and easy way to satisfy your vegetable cravings.

Supernola makes superfood clusters that are oat-free. They pack their snacks with adaptogens and antioxidants using ingredients such as sprouted nuts and goji berries. A portion of Supernola’s profits is donated to Girls on the Run. This volunteer-based program builds emotional, social, and physical skills for girls in 3rd-8th grade. Their bites cost less than three dollars per serving and are an affordable, socially conscious alternative for granola bars.

The company Eat The Change makes mushroom jerkies. It has made sustainable snacking a delicious cause. Their plant-based jerkies were far better than any soy or seitan jerkies I have tried. Goldman told me that mushrooms are a great blank canvas and can be used to create a variety of flavors and textures. Our marinated and hickory-wood smoked mushroom jerky uses organic portobello crimini mushrooms, which are one of the most sustainable crops. He points out that mushrooms can be grown vertically (10 layers) and require very little water.

Food Waste Reduction

Many people were unaware of the amount of food that is grown and then never eaten until Imperfect Foods was launched. The most visually appealing produce is sold in grocery stores, while the rest of the produce is processed. There are still some items that aren’t used.

Goldman states that food waste is the biggest environmental impact of food. According to estimates, 20-30% of food produced goes to waste. This means that all the water, land and resources required to grow it are wasted. Eat The Change and other brands are working to reduce food waste. Dehydrating foods extends their shelf life by increasing its shelf life, which can increase it from one to two weeks up to twelve months. He also noted that their products are safe from chemical preservatives because they use smoking as a natural preserver (a technique that dates back at least to the paleolithic age).

Fruit leather and jerky are also great snacks made from less beautiful produce than would be thrown away. Goldman claims that their mushroom jerky uses “perfectly imperfect mushrooms” which include discarded stems. This is a great way to reduce food waste and make delicious and nutritious snacks. Wood smoking combined with mushrooms creates a “perfect texture for a meat substitute” that is both nutrient-rich and incredibly sustainable.

Final Thoughts on Dehydrated Snacks

Dehydrated snacks are a sustainable option. If more people adopt them, they can make a difference in the future of food sustainability. Dehydrated snacks are an environmentally sound option due to their lighter weight and lower cost, as well as the ease of accessing expensive ingredients and the reduction in food waste. Dehydrated snacks can be just as delicious and nutritious as other snacks.