How are THRIVE powdered products (eggs, shortening, etc.) made? What is the main differences between the Instant and Powdered milk?
THRIVE powders are made through a process called spray drying. Spray drying preserves shelf life by converting perishable liquid products into long-lasting dry powders. The main differences between THRIVE Powdered and Instant Milk is that Instant Milk goes through a process to make it instant and is fortified with vitamins A and D to give it a fresh milk taste, both of which make it great for drinking. Powdered Milk was developed for cooking and takes more time to dilute correctly, so it does not have as smooth of a texture when reconstituted. Both powders, however, may be used for either drinking or cooking.
Are all THRIVE gluten-free products certified? Who certifies them and what is the certification process?
All THRIVE gluten-free products that have completed certification now have the "Certified Gluten-Free" symbol on the label. Though gluten-free certification is not currently regulated by a government agency, we use a third party organization known as the gluten-free standard in the industry. Our certification assures that every gluten-free product is tested during production. All our gluten-free products are completely separated from other THRIVE products; we use a seperate gluten-free room, different clothing, different cleaning materials, and different machinery to ensure that there is no trace of gluten in our certified gluten-free products. It takes time to get every gluten-free product certified, because each product must be individually tested and certified by the organization, but we hope to announce our completed certification sometime soon.
Are THRIVE foods ripened naturally in the field or picked green and artificially ripened?
Most grocery store produce is picked before it is fully ripe, and then ripens during transportation, in the store, or on our countertops at home. THRIVE freeze dried fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen naturally in the field and are picked at the peak of freshness. They are then washed thoroughly and Individually Quick Frozen (meaning the individual pieces are frozen separately rather than in clumps) the same day they are picked, and within 2 to 3 hours in most cases. This is how THRIVE foods maintain their fresh taste and flavor through the freeze drying process.
Where do THRIVE fruits and vegetables come from?
Our products are all processed and packaged in the US under FDA and USDA regulation.
What is the difference between freeze drying and dehydration, and the nutritional impact on the final product? Why are some THRIVE products dehydrated rather than freeze dried?
Freeze drying is a process where frozen products are placed in a refrigerated vacuum system and, without thawing, are dehydrated. Minimal heat (just over 100?F) is used during this process. This ensures that the cell structure of the food remains intact, allowing it to retain the color, shape, flavor, and nutritional value of the original product better than other drying methods. Dehydration is a simpler, more common process and is usually acheived through air drying. We dehydrate some THRIVE foods, like carrots and sweet potatoes, because they are preserved better through dehydration than freeze drying. Because of the complexity of the freeze drying process, freeze dried products are typically more expensive than dehydrated products. An interesting read here on freeze dried and nutrition!
Is Shelf Reliance’s facility USDA and FDA approved?
Yes. We have USDA inspectors on site four days a week and establishment numbers for meat production. We are included in the inspection program for the Utah Department of Agriculture, which falls under the FDA. We also have a third party audit yearly to ensure we are in conformance to all government regulations regarding food.
What are the best methods for rehydrating THRIVE foods?
Fruits and vegetables are the quickest to reconstitute and will require 100% of their volume in water. Allow the product to soak until the water has reconstituted it to its original state and drain off any excess liquid. Cheeses need to be stirred as water is drizzled evenly over them, and best results come after 3–4 hours of refrigeration for the water to fully reconstitute the cheese. Meats can be rehydrated by adding 100% of their volume in water and generally take longer to reconstitute than fruits and vegetables. Please see specific product pages on our website for rehydration instructions for particular products. After rehydrating, THRIVE foods have similar flavor and texture as fresh foods, and they will cook the same as fresh foods. THRIVE foods may be added dry during the cooking process if there is enough liquid in the recipe for rehydration to occur.
Are THRIVE foods injected with chemicals as part of the freeze drying process?
There are no chemicals whatsoever injected into THRIVE foods during the freeze drying process or at any other time.