The economics of freeze drying

Companies that sell freeze dried food provide numbers that put their products in the best light. Companies that sell the freeze dryers do the same in favor of their own products. It’s basic Marketing.

For example, with a simple search on google for “home freeze drying”, the first two Ads that displayed at the time of writing this were:

google search result - ads for "home freeze drying"

The first Ad [by Harvest Right, a freeze dryer vendor] is going to show you a page with the best possible reasons to buy your own home freeze dryer.

The second Ad [by preparewise, a freeze dried food vendor] will show the benefits of buying freeze dried food vs your own freeze dryer. They use a somewhat exaggerated calculation of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a freeze dryer. But of course they do, they’re selling a product. And a good product, at that. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating a great recipe for freeze-dried food. That time can add value for their customers. That value is going to (and should) cost extra money.

We’re working to cut through the marketing to present the basic economics of freeze drying. We do this by showing you ALL the costs associated with owning your own freeze dryer.

Realize that you are buying two completely different products. Both have their advantages.

If your main goal is to have the recommended amount of food per person for an emergency, then you can accomplish your goal by buying the food from a commercial freeze drying company. It is “hassle-free”, and you don’t have to wait very long to be fully stocked.

If you decide to buy your own freeze dryer, you can end up with much more than the end product (the freeze dried food.) You also enable yourself to produce your food storage by yourself. You don’t have to rely on anybody else. That’s a good feeling. That being said, you will only be able to run one cycle at a time. The amount of food produced varies based on which freeze dryer you have. But it’s not an overnight process, and will take some time to build up your storage.

Sometimes it’s not just about the end product. Sometimes it’s about the experience, freedom, flexibility, and knowledge gained from the process.

These are some ideas to consider when deciding between buying freeze dried food and buying your own freeze dryer:

  1. Freeze drying is a healthy mix of art and science, no matter how well the science of the process is understood, food is variable
  2. Every new combination of food types will have a different drying process
  3. Large commercial freeze dryers have gone through hundreds of cycles to find the best process for each of their products
  4. Large operations can enjoy bulk pricing and their operation scale
  5. With their process and scale advantages, they cannot offer the variety and flexibility of a home freeze dryer
  6. We prefer a healthy mix of canning, dehydrating, and freeze drying for our food storage
  7. Nothing is going to beat the economy of canning or dehydrating, but freeze drying will give you a 25+ year shelf life

We’ve dedicated a section of to understanding the costs associated with owning a freeze dryer. We explore materials, maintenance, and power. We also break down how long it would take to break even with the price of the machine. The results are very promising.

See our in-depth cost analysis post about pork chops to understand why the return on investment is so promising.

Read our most recent blog posts about freeze drying :