Shelf Reliance THRIVE Freeze Dried Foods Review

A few weeks ago my family was given the opportunity to taste test a wide variety of freeze dried foods for the first time ever. As we’ve begun to build our food storage, the topic of freeze dried foods has been everywhere. But we were never really interested in them.

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I figured we could grow and/or can most of the fruits and veggies we would need, and could hunt for meat if necessary, so we never really even considered adding freeze dried foods to our storage.

Plus… for some reason I had this idea in the back of my mind that the stuff would be dry and stale tasting.

So when I was contacted about sampling several THRIVE products, I figured I might as well see for myself what I think! But the real test would be if our kids would like freeze dried foods. I mean, what’s the use of storing up stuff that the little ones will thumb their noses at, right?

When my products arrived, I put together a little taste testing party and invited a friend to join us so that I could get another person’s unbiased opinion of the foods. I took lots of photos so you can see what everything looked like.

I also decided it would be fun to video tape the kids as they tried each item as well. I figured, nobody is more honest than a child, and with my three guinea pigs being ages 8, 5, and 2, I’d be able to get a good range of honest opinions.

First on the menu was chicken salad sandwiches. One of these packets contained freeze dried chicken, and the other was onions and celery. You don’t have to use them as chicken salad (actually, they can be used in any recipe you like), but they do go well together for this particular recipe.

Here are the bags opened. You can see what the foods look like in their freeze dried state. Amazingly, they didn’t look that different from their fresh equivalents! Oh, and those little packets in there are oxygen absorbers to keep the food fresh.

They come in every THRIVE container to ensure top quality and long term storage (lasting an average of 20-30 years unopened, and 1-2 years after being opened).

Before preparing, both bags were dumped into some water for a couple of minutes to rehydrate.

And here’s what the chicken, onions, and celery looked like after the water was poured off. Beautiful, huh! You couldn’t even tell they had once been freeze dried. The chicken was soft and moist, and the veggies were perfectly tender, but not the least bit mushy.

I stirred this up with a little mayo and sweet pickle relish, and served it on homemade bread. Delicious!!!   The freeze dried chicken is just like any other kind of unseasoned chicken. It’s plain until you either add it to a dish or season it a little. I’m convinced that you would never know the difference if I served you a meal with this freeze dried chicken in it.

 We also got to enjoy some Potato and Cheese Soup from THRIVE’s Express line. I absolutely loved how easy this was to make. Boil some water, dump the package in, cook and stir for 15 minutes, and voila! Dinner’s done!! And the taste… well, let’s just say the kids devoured it. (This is what my 2 year old exclaimed, “It’s GOOD!” to in the video. She cracks me up!)

I was especially anxious to try the cheese. Jerry is a HUGE (and I mean big time) lover of cheese. I’ve never seen somebody eat so much cheese in all my life.

And he’s very particular about which kinds he likes and which he doesn’t. We’ve actually been meaning to add cheese to our food storage… but freeze dried?? What does freeze dried cheese taste like anyways?

We were hesitant to sink any money into anything we weren’t sure we’d love. So… Jerry’s opinion would be the determining factor in whether or not we would buy any.

Here’s what it looked like in the package. SURPRISE! It actually looks like cheese!! I don’t know why I was so amazed by this. I guess I didn’t imagine the color to be so bright and fresh looking.

After soaking it in water for a few minutes, draining it off, and refrigerating it overnight, it was ready for the big test. It went really well sprinkled over the cheesy potato soup, but we all sampled it plain as well.

Jerry was amazed at how fresh it looked, and after pinching up a handful and shoving it in his mouth… he LOVED it! I think we were all shocked at how much like “regular” cheese it tasted. You wouldn’t even know the difference. (This was actually the first thing we ordered after our taste testing party. Lots of cheese!)

Green beans were a side dish to the entree. Another thing that I love about THRIVE foods is that it is made with no preservatives. The ingredients: green beans. Period.

Here they are in the bag. Picked at the peak of harvest. And unlike when foods are dehydrated, freeze drying actually retains nearly 100% of the original flavor, color, and nutrients.

I must admit, I didn’t do a very good job cooking these. I’m not a very talented person in the kitchen,  and since we usually eat green beans out of a jar and never eat fresh green beans (shame on me, I know), I wasn’t exactly sure how to best prepare these guys.

They rehydrated beautifully, but I thought it would be a good idea to saute them with some onions for flavor. They tasted good, they were just a bit undercooked, I think.

Either way, I definitely prefer canned green beans over fresh or freeze dried. These would be great for people who love the taste and texture of fresh green beans.

A drink mix was also included in our meal. This was the Melon Berry Burst. Just add water, mix and chill! What I was really excited to learn about these drink mixes is that they are actually made from real, freeze dried fruit which has been turned to a powder. No chemicals, dyes, or preservatives… nothing but natural goodness! Just try to find something like this at the grocery store.

It was gorgeous mixed up, and tasted divine. The kids were in heaven, as we don’t give them juice very often. It was fruity and refreshing, with just the right amount of added sweetness.

We love blueberries around here. And these were no exception.

We sampled them dried first. They had a slight crunch, and then dissolved in our mouths. The kids especially loved these. I think they’d be really great in our homemade granola.

When rehydrated, they were almost as good as fresh. The taste was all there; the texture was more that of a cooked berry. I think these were all three of the kids’ favorite. They would be amazing over yogurt, or in a cobbler, oh, or in smoothies. Yum.

Next up, the apples. THRIVE carries several different varieties of apples. These were Fuji.

Here they are dried. They were really sweet and chewy straight out of the bag. And got a thumbs up from everyone all around.

The rehydrated apples were good as well. Though they definitely weren’t like fresh, crisp apples. The flavor is all still there, but they end up being a mix between soft and chewy. We all enjoyed eating them like this as well. Different, but very good. They’d be really nice in a pie or any kind of baked dessert!!

We also got to taste freeze dried strawberries. We all love strawberries as well.

Here’s what they looked like dried. You can see that the shape and color are beautifully retained. I would not recommend eating them straight out of the bag. Sour! I forgot to take a picture of the rehydrated strawberries, but they too were a bit on the tangy side for us.

We didn’t like the strawberries straight up like that, but I’m anxious to try them in dessert dishes and smoothies. A little bit of sweetener and they’d be really good.

Red Seedless Grapes were also put to the test.

They look funny dried, huh? Kinda like a mix between a fresh grape and a raisin. The texture was very different. The dried grapes were hard, and they broke in your mouth like candy when you bit down on them. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the grapes.

The flavor was sweet and fresh. I’m sure you could easily fool your children into thinking these were candy. Which is wonderful since there isn’t any sugar or anything added to them!

The rehydrated grapes were another strange texture. I guess it reminded me of what a grape might feel like half way through the dehydrating process.

Again, the flavor was all there, and I enjoyed finishing off the bowl. I don’t think the kids liked these as much as the blueberries and apples. Dried was definitely better than rehydrated, in my opinion. But man was the flavor awesome!

We also had an opportunity to try the freeze dried vanilla yogurt bites, but we ate them so quickly I didn’t even think to take a picture! They were SO. GOOD. Like little bites of marshmallow that melted on your tongue. Even baby Elias was able to eat them, much to his delight!

We all loved the yogurt bites. The come as hard, mini cubes and can be eaten straight out of the can, or you can add a little water and stir to make a smooth and creamy yogurt.

If you’d like, you can see for yourself what my kiddos thought. (Sorry it’s a bit home movie-ish! Yes, you will hear Xia telling the world she just pee-peed. Welcome to my unedited reality.)

After tasting for myself what great products these are, and seeing the incredible selection Shelf Reliance has to offer (things I’d never be able to can or grow myself… such as bananas, my children’s FAVE) I not only placed an order for things I’d love to have in my home store, I also signed up as a consultant!

52 thoughts on “Shelf Reliance THRIVE Freeze Dried Foods Review”

  1. I see that it has been several years since there have been any postings to this article. Are you still a consultant for Thrive? I’m interested in more information about getting your discounted pricing. I have had to eliminate gluten, lactose and salt from my diet as much as possible and Thrive is the only brand I found to offer such options. Thank you for your time.

  2. Hello there! I’ve just stumbled upon your website, great information here! Thank you. Also I’ve been curious about thrive, could I be added to your list? Thanks in advance! Have a great day!

  3. I know this post is old, but I still you are still consulting for thrive. I would love to be added to your customer list.


  4. I went to the website and set up an account to order but it didn’t have you as the consultant. I wanted to make sure you get credit for my purchase. Could you tell me how to order with an account but still give you credit? Thank you

  5. wondering ..are these products GMO free??. Organically sourced??..GMO’s seem to be sneaking into every corner of the food chain…I feel they are highly dangerous…If these products are clean, i would like to be a for sure customer…The idea of emergency food is compelling, but only if sustainability produced in a clean and healthy way…thank you..p.

    • Pamela,

      All THRIVE products, except for those containing soy (because it’s nearly impossible to find GMO free soy now) are GMO FREE 🙂 The founders of Shelf Reliance are just like you and I. Nutrition and quality are of utmost importance to them. After all, they’re feeding this to their own children as well. They do their best to find farmers as close as possible, who maintain standards of sustainable agriculture. I feel the same way you do about GMO foods, and will avoid them at all costs. Unfortunately, right now THRIVE does not carry certified organic products, as this would be extremely cost prohibitive, however, that’s not to say they weren’t grown pesticide free. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi, loving your blog! Just recently found it thru pinterest 🙂 very interested in the THRIVE products and would love to be added to your customer list for discounted products. Going to talk to the hubby about joining your team as well!

  7. Kendra,

    Hey there: I had not heard back re: getting an order together ? was wandering, do you have to use credit ? or can we use paypal??? I’m trying my hardest to pay off my credit card & would prefer to be able to use my paypal if I can??? just let me know.

    Thanks bunches,

  8. Right now, I’m disappointed in Thrive. I set up a Q (where you preplan your purchases) and repeatedly had to reset my club level to the bottom one (free) as it kept resetting me to the Platinum (79.99 per year). In the end it charged me the 79.99 and I’ve spent a week emailing them to get the money back with NO response from them except an acknowledgement that they opened a case.

    Beware if you set up a Q, I was watching what I was doing and still got caught in a Platinum club that so far I can’t get out of.

    I did try to call them – but their hours are limited so I have to try again.

    I’ve had so little response I debated if they even have customer service.

    I’m sure it’s a great product, but I’m super disappointed right now. I couldn’t afford the 79.99 extra charge.

    • Oh Kelly, you should have emailed me with your problem! I can help you. I’ll shoot you an email right now and we’ll get this settled.

      Update: Hi Kelly! I can’t find you in my customer database. Are you one of my customers, or did you sign up under somebody else? Please let me know if you’re listed perhaps under a different email address and name so I can find you in my system and get your issue resolved. Thanks!

  9. Hi, saw your link on a fellow homeschoolers blog. These products look interesting. I live in CT. Are there any folks around my area that could show me these products? I’d like to try them. Do people use these regularly in place of fresh food or just as emergency preparadness? Just wondering it would help cut down our large food bill. We have 6 homeschooled kids so we cook alot! Thank you and have a blessed day.

  10. Kendra,

    Hi there: I just want to say great looking kids! to cute!! Could you please add me to your mailing list’s please:: I am very interested in this product! I’m am slowly getting my pantry stocked:: I’m up to about 4 months:: canning and freezing: but having items that I know I can use when we and if we loose power:::yep, sign me up! I’m super stoked to get started!

    Thanks so much, learning by the way: right along with you!
    Sandy Fowler
    Hamilton Oh.

  11. What is the difference in pantry can and the #10 can. I can see that the #10 is a good size can but wasn’t for sure what the pantry can looks like. Thanks

  12. I just got my first (and not my last) goodie box from Thrive. We have eaten the chili and the potato soup. They were so yummy. I’m getting ready to move out to the country and having these ready made meals will help out a lot. My picky hubby loved them, too. He didn’t realize that it was freeze dried food.

  13. Wow, some of them looked pretty good. I just watched a TED video of Beth Terry talking about living plastic free though, and so I couldn’t help noticing that this form of food storage comes with a pretty hefty plastic waste price. Not that I am remotely plastic free myself, but I like that when you preserve your own food (which I am a mere novice at) you can do it in glass, which you reuse again and again.

    It’s all a tricky balance I guess, being prepared, getting the quality you want, and balancing it with the other aspects.

    • Kirsten,

      The only part of the THRIVE cans that is plastic is the replacement lid that you put on the can once they have been opened. It’s actually very little plastic on the product 😉 But I know what you mean about canning jars being more re-usable. I love using glass storage products as much as possible.

  14. Kendra, please add me to the email list. I have actually bought Thrive products before but haven’t opened them to test them out. Saving a bit would be nice….and I loved watching your little ones!

  15. hello kendra!
    love this! so happy to have a trust worthy consultant!
    i would love to begin building my stash, but we are on very limited funds. which would you recommend? must haves?
    we have a little one, 14 year old, 19 year old, myself and my hubby. any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

  16. Thanks Kendra! I would love to be added to your email list – I need to add to my food storage and this would be a fabulous (and yummy) way to do it 🙂

  17. Kendra can you add me to your mailing list also? I would like to order some of the Thrive food.

    Thanks LaWanda

  18. Kendra, you did a great job of showing how great THRIVE foods are! I absolutely love the Fuji Apples and make sure that I keep them at work for a quick and healthy snack.

  19. Hey!
    This looks interesting enough to try. Sent email to be added to your customer list. I’ve looked around on the site and I have to say it’s a little difficult for me to find a specific product due to their way of categorizing food. I would look for soup under a soup tab, not Thrive Express. Know what I mean? 🙂 I look forward to trying some of these products.

  20. Hi Kendra, this has caught my attention!!! I’m very interested in becoming a consultant, but I am in Canada. I’m assuming I would have to go through the Canadian website, so I wouldn’t be able to help you out by signing up under you… you know?


  21. Fwiw, the freeze dried strawberries I’ve bought sporadically have been nice and sweet – enough for a spin on shortcake or on top of granola or just plain eating. They’ve been Augason Farms and Provident Pantry (Emergency Essentials) brands though. You might’ve just gotten an interesting batch.

    How bad was the shipping for your box of goodies? I’ve been semi tempted by the Thrive products, except I can usually find similar things locally for cheaper (Augason) or my yearly ‘bulk’ order from Emergency Essentials where I hit free/nominal shipping.
    (Oh, and don’t do dehydrated sour cream, it’s… not worth it. Dehydrated butter is a challenge to use up, too, especially when it can last for a while in the fridge/freeze/cold cellar.)

    • Lanna,

      I wonder if those other brands sweetened their strawberries or not. I’d be curious to know 🙂

      As for the shipping, here are the basic rates:

      $0-$70.00 $6.99
      $70.01-$130.00 $9.99
      $130.01-$190.00 $12.99
      $190.01-$399.99 $19.99
      $400.00+ 5% of order subtotal

      Not too shabby if you place a good order 😉

      *I just looked into it and it looks like the EE brand doesn’t add sugar either. I wonder if we’d like them better? It would be fun to do a side by side comparison.

  22. Your kids are so adorable! I love how they never slowed down eating! Kids are the best food critics! I really appreciate you sharing the children’s and your reactions to eating this. I would like to be added to your list for ordering! I have been meaning to get some freeze dried for our storage, but I was afraid to devote that much money to something we hadn’t tasted.

    • I’ll get you added right away, Cindy 🙂 You’ll receive an email with a temporary password. Use this to log in and you’ll always get the best prices available online! I know you’ll love these products. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or need help ordering. Happy Shopping!


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