People keen on spending several days or even weeks far from the next supermarket need food that adds little weight to a backpack and can be prepared without too much effort. Michael Blümel, an outdoor enthusiast from the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, has turned his dream into a successful business idea and went online with his Outdoor Food Shop in 2010. Blümel said: “We packed the very first orders at home in the living room.” Now he has some 12,000 customers. Several employees in the little village of Salzhausen near Luneburg pack the constant flow of orders that are picked up daily by the DHL service. About 3,000 packages are delivered every year to customers such as off roaders going on a tour of Iceland, backpackers bent on hiking through the Andes, climbers who want to reach a summit as well as cyclists and canoeing fans who simply want to take some emergency food along.
Freeze-fried foods make for long-term preservation
Fans appreciate the popular outdoorfoodshop.de because it offers just about everything adventurers need to survive in the wilderness. Blümel believes: “Food supply during a tour or expedition can make the difference between success and failure.” For this reason, his emphasis is on a great food experience out in the wilds bereft of oven and refrigerator. The solution is called freeze-fried foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, pasta, eggs, meat, poultry or fish. To produce such foods, a special freezing technology is used to extract all water, which leads not only to a substantial weight reduction, but also long-term preservation.
High-quality products for travelling
Food for the outdoors does not have to be boring and Blümel’s shop does not stop at pasta with tomato sauce and instead offers a wide range of interesting dishes. The ingredients are available separately, allowing the outdoor fan to prepare a different meal every evening without carrying heavy loads in a backpack. “There used to be a time when outdoor enthusiasts did not really like such foods. But they have developed into high quality products that are free of preservatives and flavour enhancers and taste really good,” said Blümel.
Sustainability – no rubbish outdoors
In the 21st century, no expedition to any far-flung place departs without the must-have, freeze-fried foods. Soldiers carry a handful of small, ready to eat packages that allow them to prepare a meal in no time. “It does not really matter if you use hot or cold water or only have snow to provide the required fluid,” Blümel explained pointing to the second major advantage of special outdoor foods. They are absolutely environment-friendly and tossing empty food cans into the nearest bush is a no go. Taking all the rubbish home, however, means weight, space and extra effort. Freeze-fried meals, on the other hand, come in bags that weigh hardly anything and take up little space in a backpack.
Emergency portions for the home
Around 250 different products and ten brands can be found on the shelves of the Outdoor Food Shop in Salzhausen. The offer is complemented by a select, non-food product range that includes everything for preparing a meal outdoors without having to carry any bulky equipment along for the hike. “Freeze-fried foods are ideal for long-term storage. We have products that can be stored for up to 15 years,” Blümel explained, pointing to his second target group. “An increasing number of people realize that even in Europe, a disaster can hit at anytime, even if it is only caused by a power failure that lasts for days. A supply of durable foods means people are well prepared for such a situation.”
Users just have to type in “outdoor foods”, “long-term foods”, “emergency foods” or “crisis preparation” to find Blümel’s online shop. Salzhausen is a tiny village in the south of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Few villagers are even aware that their home is the geographical centre of an outdoor movement that swears by lightweight and durable foods provided by an entrepreneur who simply had the right idea at the right time.
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