Let’s Explore!

At Backpacker Meal, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive. Our FAQs cover a range of topics, from the heating process and ingredients to our long shelf life and how elevations can impact the meal. We also discuss who can enjoy our meals, provide details about our instant Food warmer, and share our approach to reducing our impact on the planet. Additionally, we provide ideas for reusing our packaging and offer tips for being a responsible and respectful explorer.

As explorers, we believe that accumulating knowledge, seeking answers, and being curious are essential tools for navigating the playground of life.

About Backpacker Meal

Is Backpacker Meal only ideal for outdoorsy people or athletics?

Backpacker Meal is not only ideal for outdoor enthusiasts or athletes but also for anyone
who values healthy, convenient meals. Our meals are wholesome, nutrient-packed, and
great tasting, perfect for on-the-go lifestyles, whether you're busy at work, home or on an
adventure. Backpacker Meal is also a great option for unexpected guests, situations where
cooking is not an option, or even when you're in a location with limited food options. It’s
great for students in the hostel as well.

What does a Backpacker Meal bag contain?

Each Backpacker Meal bag contains one ready-to-eat meal pouch, which is fully cooked and
doesn't require any cooking. The meal pouch contains a complete meal. The expedition kit
included in the bag contains a biodegradable plate and spoon for you to enjoy your meal
without worrying about environmental impact. Additionally, the instant food warmer
packet can be used to heat up the meal if you don't have access to a stove or boiling water.
The compact and lightweight design of our meal pouches and expedition kit makes them
easy to carry during your outdoor adventures.

What is the portion size?

350 gm combo food weight (two food pouches 200 gm + 150 gm) is the food weight - We
have designed our Food serving as a complete meal for one hungry person. The total
weight of one Backpacker Meal bag, including the food pouches, expedition kit, and instant
food warmer packet, is approximately 450-500 grams.

Do I have to cook the Backpacker Meal’s food?

No, you don't have to cook Backpacker Meal's food. Our meals are fully cooked in our large,
hygienic, and certified state-of-the-art kitchen, which is just like a larger version of your
kitchen at home. Our cooks prepare the meals exactly the way you would at home, so
there's no hassle involved in cooking the food. All you have to do is heat the meal and
enjoy it. It's as simple as dreaming big in life.

What exactly is Backpacker Meal?

Backpacker Meal is a brand that offers ready-to-eat, home-style, fully cooked meals that do
not require the addition of water. Backpacker Meal's meals retain moisture, gravy, and
sauces naturally inside their food pouches, which are easy to open without any special
tools or skills. These meals offer a home-style taste, proper balanced nutrition, and a long
shelf life of 1 year or more based on the date of pack and storage conditions. No
refrigeration is needed, and they can be heated in 3-4 minutes in a normal heating process
and 8-10 minutes with boiling water or with the Instant Food Warmer which is included in
the package.

Each Backpacker Meal provides the calorie count of a complete meal, and their big
breakthrough was the use of a special three-layer pouch that allows the food to be fully
cooked, sterilized, sealed, and never exposed to the air again. Backpacker Meal also offers
a comparatively weightless pack that is easy to carry, waterproof, and easy to store.

In summary, Backpacker Meal is a convenient and delicious option for anyone looking for
a hassle-free meal while on the go.

Is Backpacker Meal a real meal, as we cook at home?

Yes, Backpacker Meal is a real meal made with real ingredients. Our meals are prepared
using the same methods you would use at home, and they are cooked in our large, hygienic,
and certified state-of-the-art kitchen. We strive to use high-quality ingredients and
maintain the same taste and nutritional value as a home-cooked meal. We invite you to try
our meals and taste the difference for yourself."

Is Backpacker Meal hygienically cooked?

Yes, Backpacker Meal's food is healthy and hygienically cooked. We use fresh, locally
sourced ingredients in our kitchen. Our meals are cooked with the same care and attention
as the recipes we eat at home, and we strive to maintain the taste and nutritional value of
the food. We believe that healthy food is essential for a healthy lifestyle, and we are
committed to providing our customers with meals that are both convenient and nutritious.

Who tastes and checks the Food before it reaches us?

At Backpacker Meal, we take quality control very seriously. Each batch of our food is
prepared under the supervision of our founder or leadership council members. Our quality
team cooks and tastes every batch of products made on the same day. Our founder
personally tastes and approves every batch of food before it is released for distribution.
We also regularly eat our own meals to ensure that the quality and taste are consistent
with our high standards. You can trust that we put a lot of care and attention into ensuring
that our food is delicious and of the highest quality before it reaches your table.

What is the shelf life of the food packet?

The food packet has an impressive shelf life of one year under ambient/room temperature.
We recommend using it within that time frame to ensure the best quality and taste.

What about the food quality if I use the Meal packet any time before its expiry date?
Let’s say one day before the expiry date.

We recommend consuming Backpacker Meal products before their expiry date for optimal
taste and freshness. It’s recommended to consume the meal before the expiry date, the
taste, flavor, and ingredients' integrity will be the same as the day it was cooked.

Do you use MSG in your products?

At Backpacker Meal, we do not use Monosodium glutamate (MSG) in any of our products.
We are committed to providing our customers with healthy and natural meals that do not
contain any harmful additives or preservatives. We use only high-quality, locally sourced
ingredients to create delicious and nutritious meals that you can enjoy on your outdoor
adventures. You can be confident that our meals are free from MSG or any other harmful
additives.

What are the ideal storage conditions for Backpacker Meal?

Backpacker Meal can be stored at room temperature, making it easy to take on the go.
Additionally, our meals can withstand cold or hot temperatures without affecting the
meal's freshness. There is no need to freeze it.

Can I eat straight from the food pouch?

Yes! All our meals are combo meals. You can eat directly from the pouch by combining the
main dish and the side dish e.g. Rajma Masala with Rice is packed in different food pouches,
and you can mix them in a single food pouch
after heating and directly eat from the pouch. The same goes for Green Thai Curry and Rice, Manchurian with Fried Rice, Pasta with Pink
Sauce.

Advice: Be ingenious and resourceful in your expedition - an important trait for outdoor trips.

Is Backpacker Meal safe to be eaten cold?

Yes. Each meal can be eaten cold, directly from the pouch. However, please note that our
meals may taste better when heated up. We recommend heating up the meal using the
provided expedition kit or any other heating source available to
you, whenever possible, to enjoy the meal at its best.

Can I carry Backpacker Meal on a flight?

Backpacker Meal is allowed only if packed in your check-in luggage. For countries with
strict regulations, such as Australia and New Zealand, kindly declare Backpacker Meal as a
ready-to-eat meal, or enquire from the country's immigration department or customs
officials before boarding the plane. It's important to check and follow the
policy set by the airline.

Can I eat Backpacker Meal on a flight?

No, it is strictly prohibited to eat Backpacker Meal on a flight, as it is a heating source and
hot water can pose a threat to the airplane and its passengers.

Technology Used to Preserve Food Quality

How does the food stay fresh in the food pouch without any artificial preservatives?

The food pouches go through a retort sterilization process in a chamber at high pressure and
temperature, which allows the food to remain shelf stable without the need for artificial
preservatives. This process kills all bacteria and microbes, ensuring that the food stays
fresh for a long period, even at normal ambient/room temperature.

The result is a fresh meal that can be stored for an extended period and still taste just
as good when consumed. This makes it convenient for people who want to enjoy a nutritious
and delicious meal anytime, anywhere, without worrying about special storage needs.
Simply pack the food pouch in your backpack and go!

What is retort processing?

Retort processing is a popular method of thermal food processing that uses heat and
pressure to sterilize food and kill all microbes and bacteria. This method involves placing
food in a sealed pouch, which can be reheated in hot water or a microwave before
consumption (only the transparent pouch, not the metallic one).
By using retort processing, food producers can ensure the safety and quality of their
products while also extending their shelf life. This method is widely used around the world
for a variety of food products.

What is a retort pouch in the food industry?

A retort pouch, also known as a retortable pouch, is a type of food packaging made from a
laminate of flexible plastic and metal foils. It allows for the sterile packaging of a wide
variety of food and drinks that have been handled by aseptic processing.
This packaging is an alternative to traditional industrial canning methods and has become
increasingly popular in the food industry due to its convenience, versatility, and ability to
maintain the flavor and nutritional value of the food inside. Retort pouches are used for a
range of products, including ready-to-eat meals, sauces, soups, and more.

What is the composition of the retort food pouch?

The retort food pouch is composed of four layers that work together to protect the food
inside and ensure its freshness:

  • First layer (inner) - Food-grade Cast Polypropylene (CPP): This layer comes into
    direct contact with the food and acts as a heat seal surface. It provides the pouch
    with strength and flexibility.
  • Second layer - Nylon (bi-oriented polyamide): This layer protects the food from
    abrasion and provides puncture resistance, ensuring that the pouch doesn't rupture
    during storage or transport.
  • Third layer - Aluminium (Al): This layer protects the food from light, gases, and odours, which helps to extend the product's shelf life.
  • Fourth layer (outer) - Polyester (PET): This layer provides excellent strength and is
    easy to print on, allowing for branding and product information to be displayed on
    the pouch.
  • Overall, the combination of these layers provides a barrier that protects the food from
    external factors and keeps it fresh for a longer period, even at normal ambient/room
    temperature.

Who invented the retort pouch?

The retort pouch was jointly invented by the United States Army Natick Soldier Research,
Developmental and Engineering Centre, Reynolds Metals Company, and Continental
Flexible Packaging. In 1978, they were jointly awarded the Food Technology Industrial
Achievement Award for their invention.

Since its invention, the retort pouch has become increasingly popular and is widely used in
the food industry due to its convenience, versatility, and
ability to maintain the flavour and nutritional value of the food inside

Is polypropylene (PP) safe for food?

Polypropylene (PP) is considered a safe material for use in food packaging and containers
by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is a lightweight, mouldable
plastic that is also strong and durable.
PP has a high melting point, which makes it safe for use in microwave and dishwasher. It
also has low water absorption and excellent chemical resistance. These properties make it
a popular choice for food packaging, including retort pouches, as it can withstand the high
temperatures and pressures used during the sterilization process.
In summary, PP is a safe and reliable material for food packaging and is widely used in the
industry.

Guidelines for Heating the Food

What are the different ways I can heat the food?

There are several ways to heat the retort food pouch, including:

  • Instant food warmer: These portable devices are specifically designed to heat up
    retort pouches and can be easily carried in your backpack.
  • Boiling water: This is a simple and convenient method that involves placing the
    pouch in boiling water for a few minutes.
  • Pan on an open flame/gas: You can heat the food by placing the pouch in a pan and
    heating it over an open flame or gas stove.
  • Microwave: If you have access to a microwave, you can heat the food in it by
    following the instructions provided.

Apart from these methods, you can also be creative and use other ways to heat your food
pouch. For example, you can place it in the sun or on a hot rock surface in the backcountry
to warm it up naturally. We'd love to hear your innovative methods for heating your retort
food pouch, and we'll be sure to share them with other explorers.

What precautions should I take while heating food in the retort food pouch?

While the retort food pouch is designed to withstand high temperatures, it is essential to
take some precautions while heating your food. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not apply direct flame to the pouch: The retort pouch has an aluminium layer
    that is non-microwaveable. Applying direct flame to the pouch, such as from a BBQ
    or campfire, can damage it, causing the plastic laminate layers to melt and
    contaminate the food. So, avoid placing the pouch directly over a flame.
  • Follow the instructions carefully: If you're using an instant food warmer or
    microwave to heat the pouch, make sure to follow the instructions provided
    carefully. Overheating the pouch can cause damage and affect the quality of the
    food.
  • Check the pouch for damage: Before heating the pouch, check for any signs of
    damage, such as punctures or tears. If you notice any damage, do not heat the
    pouch, as it can cause contamination of the food.

By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your food is heated safely and retains its
quality and freshness.

Are any changes required when I heat food at higher altitude?

Yes, when heating food at higher altitudes, you may need to adjust the cook time as water
boils at a lower temperature at higher elevations. As a general rule, it is recommended to
add 1-2 minutes of cook time for every 1,000 feet above 5,000 feet of elevation. This will
ensure that your food pouch is heated to the desired temperature. It's important to
monitor the pouch and adjust the cook time as necessary to ensure that the food is fully
heated. It is also important to adjust the heat source when cooking at higher elevations.
Since the air pressure is lower, the heat from your stove or fire will be less intense, so you
may need to increase the flame or add more coals to achieve the same cooking temperature.
Additionally, it's important to be aware of altitude sickness and take necessary precautions
when hiking or camping at high elevations.

Can I consume your meals in sub-zero temperatures?

Yes, our meals are designed to be heated and consumed anywhere in the world, using
instant food warmers, boiling water, or any other heating method of your choice. However,
please note that heating times may be longer at higher altitudes, and food may cool faster
in sub-zero conditions.
To ensure the best results when heating our meals in sub-zero temperatures, we
recommend using the pan method. This method helps to prevent water and pouches from
freezing before they are fully heated, especially in extreme cold.
We are continuously testing our meals in different environments, including the higher
ranges of Alaska, the French Alps, Everest, and Mont Blanc. Follow us on Instagram to stay
updated on our latest tests and results.

About the Instant Food Warmer

What is an Instant Food Warmer?

An Instant Food Warmer is a safe and non-toxic blend of chemicals inside a sealed and
stitched non-woven fabric cloth that can be activated with any non-flammable liquid,
preferably water, to emit safe, odourless steam and heat your food. Our Warmer is RoHS
certified and safe to use in closed confined spaces, making it the perfect solution for
enjoying hot meals anytime, anywhere

How does the Instant Food Warmer work?

To use the Instant Food Warmer, add approximately 500ml of water or any non-flammable
liquid to the Backpacker Meal bag and food pouches, and place the Warmer inside. Adding
water will cause a harmless chemical reaction that produces heat and warms the food
pouch within 10-15 minutes. Follow the instructions on the pouch for steamy hot food.
Heating time increases with elevation, surroundings, and liquid temperature.

Does Food come in contact with the hot water while heating the Backpacker Meal with
hot water using Instant Food Warmer?

No, the food does not come in contact with the hot water. Our food is packed in non-
permeable food-grade pouches, and hot water heats the food pouches, transferring the
heat to the food. This ensures that you get hot food without being contaminated with
external substances.

Can the Instant Food Warmer be safely disposed of in the environment? Is it biodegradable or recyclable?

The Instant Food Warmer is made of a blend of non-toxic chemicals inside a non-woven
fabric cloth. The inside non-toxic chemicals are 100% biodegradable, and the outer
membrane is 70% biodegradable and 100% recyclable. It can be safely disposed of in the
environment by burying it under topsoil. This way, it won't come in contact with the
wildlife around it and will degrade with time.

What is the normal food heating time with the Instant Food warmer?

The normal food heating time with the Instant Food Warmer is about 10-12 minutes per
serving. However, please note that altitude, water temperature, and surroundings can
affect the food heating time.

Can I use water from a glacial stream to heat your meals?

Yes, you can use water from a glacial stream to heat our meals. However, please note that
the average temperature of glacial water is around 8-10 degrees Celsius, which means it
will take longer to heat up to the required temperature.
Our instant food warmer heats water to 70-80 degrees Celsius, with an average time of 15
minutes. We recommend giving the meal packets more time to remain in the bag of boiling
water for a hot meal, especially if you are not famished.

What precautions should I take while using the Instant Food Warmer?

While heating the food, keep a good distance from the steam vent of the Backpacker Meal
bag to avoid burns. After heating the food, cautiously open the bag's zipper to release the
steam. Always follow the instructions on the packaging for safe use.

Is the steam coming out of the Backpacker Meal bag while using the Instant Food Warmer safe?

Yes, the steam coming out of the Backpacker Meal bag while using the Instant Food
Warmer is safe. It's just water steam that releases like when you boil water or tea at home,
and it's not any smoke

What if I lose my Instant Food Warmer or it doesn’t work?

If you lose your Instant Food Warmer or it doesn't work, the Backpacker Meal is safe to eat
at room temperature, as the food is already cooked. You can remove the food from the
pouch and place it in a microwave-safe plate or bowl to heat until the desired temperature.
You can also place the food in a pan and heat it over a fire or pour boiling water into the
Backpacker Meal bag to heat the food pouches.

What if I don’t have a measuring cup in the trail?

Many hiking bottles include volume marking. Measure 500 ml approx. For the water to be
used in case you are heating the food packet using Instant Food warmer or also in case you
are pouring boiling water directly into the bag to heat the food packets.

We have also put our ‘Fill Line’ on the front of the BM Bag. This is an approximation, so
please bear this in mind. (Bit lesser or more is not an issue, it is just water)

Another option could be to use a common item, such as a disposable plastic water bottle or
a clean empty soda can, to estimate the volume of water needed. For example, you could
fill the bottle or can to a certain point and use that as a reference for measuring the water
needed for heating your food. It's always good to have a backup plan and be resourceful in
the outdoor

What can I do with the warm water after heating my food?

The warm water can be used for various purposes on your backpacking trip. You can fill
your empty water bottle with the hot water and use it to keep yourself warm by safely
tucking it inside your sleeping bag or jacket. This can help you stay warm and comfortable
in cold weather conditions.
You can also use the warm water to wash dishes or rinse out food pouches so you can store
them and dispose of responsibly.

Sustainability at Backpacker Meal

You are a food company, but you also claim to be in the business of saving the planet! How you justify it!

We recognize that we have a responsibility to minimize our impact on the environment and
we are constantly seeking ways to improve our practices. We are committed to reducing
our carbon footprint and minimizing waste in all areas of our operations. We are exploring
sustainable alternatives for our packaging, and we are investing in research and
development to find solutions that meet our requirements for shelf stability and ability to
withstand boiling water.

In addition to our efforts to reduce waste and improve our packaging, we also work with
local farmers and suppliers to source high-quality, sustainably produced ingredients. We
strive to reduce our energy consumption, conserve water, and minimize our use of
chemicals in our production processes. We believe that by promoting sustainable practices
throughout our supply chain, we can help to create a healthier and more resilient food
system for all.

Ultimately, we understand that there is always more we can do, and we welcome feedback
and suggestions from our customers and stakeholders on how we can improve our
sustainability practices. We are committed to being transparent about our practices and
progress, and we will continue to work towards a more sustainable future for our company
and our planet.

Consider this: if you were to take a recipe for one of our meals, scale it down and cook it
from scratch at home, you would create far more waste with a greater carbon footprint.
The amount of packaging required for the various ingredients and the food waste typically
created when prepping the raw ingredients is far greater than when we produce in bulk at
our facility.

You use plastic packaging how do you justify that?

As a plastic positive company certified by The Disposal Company, we have made a
commitment to recycle 10 percent more plastic from the environment that goes into our
packaging. This means that for every unit of plastic packaging we use, we will recycle more
than what we put into the environment. This helps to reduce the overall amount of plastic
waste in the environment and contributes to a more sustainable future.

Additionally, plastic packaging has several benefits that make it a useful and necessary
material for many applications. Plastic packaging is lightweight, durable, and versatile,
which makes it ideal for protecting and preserving products during storage. Plastic
packaging also has a longer shelf life compared to other materials, which can help reduce
food waste.

While we understand that plastic has negative impacts on the environment, we are taking
steps to minimize these impacts and promote sustainable practices. Our plastic positive
certification demonstrates our commitment to doing our part to address the plastic waste
problem, while still providing high-quality packaging for our products.

What should I do with the plastic packets after finishing the meal?

We recommend rolling up the packaging and storing it in your backpack to dispose of it in a
garbage bin after you return from your hike. It is essential to follow Leave No Trace
guidelines to preserve the natural environment and avoid littering.
Many hikers have found that a used Backpacker Meal bag makes the perfect trash collector
while out in the backcountry. It's lightweight, easy to store, and can be squished and
compressed for easy storage in your pack. However, we still recommend properly disposing
of the used packaging in a designated trash bin after your trip to ensure it doesn't harm the
environment or wildlife.
Remember to always practice responsible and sustainable outdoor ethics to preserve the
natural beauty of our wilderness areas for future generations to enjoy.

How can I use BP Meal Bag in different ways after I have eaten the Food?

Here are a few ideas from our staff and customers who like to upcycle where possible.

  • First Aid Kit: use it to store small first aid items like bandages, alcohol pads, and
    antiseptic cream. It's a great way to keep these items organized and easily
    accessible on your next hike or camping trip.
  • Portable Trash Can: As many hikers know, packing out your trash is essential to
    Leave No Trace principles. Use as a small portable trash can for your car or camping
    site.

  • Shoe Protectors: Cut the pouch into strips and wrap them around your shoes when
    hiking in muddy or wet conditions. This will help keep your shoes and socks dry and
    clean.
  • Cord Organizer: Cut the pouch into small pieces and use them to organize your
    cords and cables. Just wrap the cords around the pouch pieces and secure them
    with a rubber band or twist tie.
  • Waterproof Phone Case: Cut the pouch to fit your phone and seal the edges with
    duct tape to create a waterproof phone case. This can come in handy when hiking
    or camping in wet conditions.
  • Seedling pots: This is a great idea for those who enjoy gardening. To make seedling
    pots, fold the pack flat at the base and use a hole punch to add drainage holes.
    Then plant your favorite herbs and veggies in them.
  • Home worm farms: This is a fantastic way to reduce food waste and create
    compost for your garden. Place a pouch under the sink and put all your kitchen
    scraps in there.
  • Fire-starting kit: A small pack of dry tinder in your camping kit is handy for starting
    a fire. The backpacker meal pouches make an excellent container for your fire
    -starting kit.
  • Dry bag: These pouches are made of three layers and are watertight, making them
    an excellent option for keeping your gear dry while canoeing, kayaking, rafting, or
    hiking in the rain. Just seal the steam vent with duct tape.
  • Meal pack: Reusing these pouches to carry ingredients for trail meals is a smart
    idea. Fill them with the necessary ingredients for one meal, and when it's time to
    cook, pour them into your pot of boiling water.
  • Bait pack: If you love fishing, these pouches are perfect for packing salted pilchards
    and squid for remote trips where bait cannot be kept on ice.
  • Ultra light dog bowl: Cut the pouch in half and fold it flat. Fill with water for your
    furry friend when out and about. It's light, compact, and functional.
  • Photo frame: Collect and wash all the used backpacker meals, then frame them as a
    collage and hang them in your office or study as memorabilia of your expeditions.
    You can also add details of your trip, such as the date, location, participants,
    altitude scaled, and inspiring moments.