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Most pouch products will store 5+ years in proper storage conditions.
Our Gourmet Reserve cans have a conservative shelf life of 10+ years for products containing dairy ingredients (milk, cheese, sour cream, eggs). We recommend rotating these items at 10 years. Gourmet Reserves products that do not contain dairy ingredients have a shelf life of 20+ years.

Pouches have a readable “Best By” date located in one of two places on the pouch.
•    Press embossed into the top seal area of the pouch
•    Ink jetted on the back of the pouch near the back label.
There have been many variations of this formula used in the past. If you are unable to decipher the date code on a product please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

Gourmet Reserve Cans:
We are currently ink jetting product information and manufacturer production date using the Julian Code dating system. You will find this on the top or bottom of our Gourmet Reserve cans. Here is an example and how to read the information:

99101 MOUNTAIN CHILI  03113-6226

The first numbers 99101 is the product ID number followed by the name of the product.
The next five digits 03113 is the Julian Date code. 031 represents the calendar day of the year or January 31st. 13 represents the year produced.
The last four digits 6226 represent out LOT #.
There have been many variations of this formula used in the past. If you are unable to decipher the date code on a product please contact us and we will be happy to assist.


For optimal shelf life it is best to store the products in a cool, dry environment. We recommend 65º F or less; the cooler the better. High heat that occurs in a garage or the trunk of a car is not good for our products. Never store Gourmet Reserves products directly on a concrete slab.

Freeze drying is the most effective way to remove water from food. Freeze drying (also known as lyophilization or cryodesiccation) is a dehydration process typically used to preserve food and make it more convenient for transport and storage. Freeze drying works by freezing the food and then reducing the surrounding pressure and adding just enough heat to allow the frozen water in the food to sublime directly from the solid phase to the gas phase.

If freeze-dried food is then sealed to prevent the re-absorption of moisture, the food may be stored at room temperature without refrigeration, and be protected against spoilage for many years. Preservation is possible because the greatly reduced water content inhibits the action of microorganisms and enzymes that would normally spoil or degrade the food.

Freeze drying also causes less damage to the food than other dehydration methods that employ the use of higher temperatures. Freeze drying does not usually cause shrinkage or toughening of the material being dried. In addition, flavors, smells and nutritional value generally remain unchanged, making the process popular for preserving food.

Freeze-dried products make up the majority of ingredients used for our products. Many of our foods products are custom freeze-dried to suit our strict quality requirements. Our freeze-dried products include: grains, beans, fruits, meats, pastas, vegetables, and eggs.

Key advantages of freeze-dried products: 

  • 98% of the moisture is removed
  • Retains the original taste and nutritional value of the food 
  • Foods are quick to reconstitute and easy to prepare
  • Hot or cold water may be used for reconstitution (although cold water takes longer)
  • Extends the shelf life of the product
  • No preservatives are necessary
  • Results in a super-lightweight /compact product

The standard method of dehydrating vegetables and spices is to place the items on a conveyor belt and run them through an oven at a high temperature for a relatively short time. Between 90% and 95% of the moisture is removed.
Some vegetables are more suited to this form of drying than others. This means that with the addition of water, the product reconstitutes back to its original state more easily. Preferable items include: onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Dehydrated items such as peas, corn and green beans do not reconstitute as well as freeze-dried.

Our products are made using a combination of freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients. When developing recipes, optimal taste, texture and cost are considerations for best use. Expensive ingredients like meats, asparagus and other costly vegetables used are generally freeze-dried. Other ingredients such as apples or onions actually taste better dehydrated. By utilizing both freeze-dried and dehydrated products, we offer products that taste fresh once they are reconstituted. Besides tasting better, our products offer good nutritional value at a reasonable price.


We recommend using the remaining product as soon as possible and up to 60 days after opening. Cover the can using the supplied lid and store in a cool dry environment.


Our products were originally designed to fit a high-performance lifestyle, replacing some of the sodium lost during heavy exertion. However, we understand today's concern regarding high sodium and we have adjusted our recipes on a few low sodium ingredients and have lowered sodium levels in many of our products by 50%. We are always looking to making improvements to all of our products to reduce sodium.

Most of the ingredients that go into our products are Non-GMO, however we are not currently offering a Certified GMO Free product.
We recognize the benefits and advantages of offering a Certified Non-GMO product line.  We utilize hundreds of ingredients from many trusted suppliers and we have begun to move forward with supplier questionnaires to determine exactly which of our raw materials may have been genetically modified.  Identification is the first step, then we can decide if there are alternate sources or product ingredients that we may use to offer the healthiest & best tasting NON-GMO products available.

Yes! Our plant is under daily federal inspection and meets all legal requirements for packaging beef and poultry. Our USDA Establishment Number is 8132 / P8132

There are many things that could affect the time it takes for you to prepare your meal, the most common issues are temperature of water and cooking at high elevations.   

While we recommend adding boiling water to your food, sometimes it isn’t always available, or you may not have a source to heat the water. You can prepare AlpineAire meals using cold water, however you will need to wait an additional 20-40 minutes for your food to properly re-hydrate. 

If you are preparing meals at high altitudes (above 10,000 feet) you may need to allow for longer cook times. For every 1,000 feet over 10,000 feet, we recommend adding 5 minutes to the preparation wait time indicated on the package.  (Ex. 12,000 = 10 additional minutes)

In both instances we recommend using the Optimus (H)EAT Pouch as an insulator and cooking aid for preparing your food. The Optimus (H)EAT Pouch will also keep your meal warmer longer whenever you find yourself in cold environments.


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