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Old 05-04-2007, 13:12   #1
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Do you think people would buy this?

I live in Germany now and coming from the US find some of the things in the grocery stores here neat (if not sometimes strange). Things are sometimes packaged differently, have different ingredients and forms and such and are just different.

Now, I'm the kind of guy who works everyday with my sailboat somewhere floating in the future, so I spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to do things on a liveaboard and when I see things in the store I think about how they can be adapted to life on board a boat.

One of the things I think about quite a bit is how to have all the things I like about living ashore while living aboard. The problems with a normal kitchen versus a galley are two things: energy consumption and storage. On a ship everything should be as compact as possible because storage space is limited. At the sime time, electricity is expensive and the fewer things that need to be refrigerated/frozen, thawed out, the better.

So usually this leaves us with lots of canned foods, dried foods, and other not so tasty stuff. A few weeks ago there was a thread on here about canned-bread (baking bread in a jar and sealing it). My family has always had a garden so we grew up on canned vegitables. They taste great, require no refridgeration. Of course this method of storing food is somewhat expensive, is bulky, and requires you to store the packaging for reuse.

Still, this got me thinking, and I have been looking at different products that are available in for the most part natural form and do not require refridgeration or lots of preparation time/tools.


I have come up with some different food 'packages' that are small, lightweight, and don't require refridgeration. One such meal is pizza. I like pizza. It's a good meal, but one that usually means either a restaurant or a freezer. But, it occurred to me that there is really nothing about a pizza that requires refridgeration. If you break it down into components the shelflife is quite high with no cooling:

Crust (bread, if vaccuum sealed lasts for months)
Cheese (most cheese requires no refigeration and will not mold if sealed)
Sauce (the acid of the tomatoes keeps it safe)
meat (pepperoni, salami, ham, bacon, and any other cured meat is fine on a shelf)

Even vegies can be dried and rehydrated to near frozen quality (maybe not for a salad but fine for cooking).

Also, since the meal is already at room temperature, the fuel needed to bake the pizza is less. So the idea is that you could peel open a pouch, assemble the components (with no tools or prep area needed) pop it in the oven or microwave, and have a fresh baked pizza in a few minutes.

I've figured out several packages like this. The cost is a little more than the same food in cheapo frozen form, but that is mainly because they use higher quality and natural ingredients.

The question is: would people pay for packaged food like this? And if so, what foods do you really miss at sea?
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Old 05-04-2007, 13:58   #2
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Sounds like a good idea. Maybe you should develop your 'line' of non-refrigerated convenient foods into a business. I can see the need for not only boaters but campers, climbers, cross country racers, anyone who does not have proper food starage capacity - husbands in the doghouse, astronauts, prison inmates ...
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Old 05-04-2007, 15:42   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drew.ward

Crust (bread, if vaccuum sealed lasts for months)
Cheese (most cheese requires no refigeration and will not mold if sealed)
Sauce (the acid of the tomatoes keeps it safe)
meat (pepperoni, salami, ham, bacon, and any other cured meat is fine on a shelf)

The question is: would people pay for packaged food like this? And if so, what foods do you really miss at sea?
Drew, I hate to take the wind out of your sails, but... I'm going to have to. The following is meant with respect, even though it's contrary to your posting above:

Canning tomato sauce without using a proper pressure canning technique is dicey at best. You can't always be assured of the acidity of the tomatoes. One mistake there, and you're in for paralysis or even death. Remember... there aren't any doctors or abulances when you're out at anchor. If there are, it's a long dinghy ride to the dock. Also, they may not have the botulin toxin antidote where you happen to be if in a remote area. Canning should be done properly according to the USDA's Canning Guide.

Cheese used on pizza (mozzerella) is a soft cheese. It does not keep well over time, like hard cheeses.

The crust: Why vacuum seal it at all when you can keep yeast, flour and water aboard?

The key to making quality foods on board a boat (or at home) is to use ony the finest and most basic ingredients.

We eat pizza once a week at anchor. The tomatoes are canned and the mozzerella is frozen. The rest is just whipped up from dry goods and a spash of fresh water.
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Old 05-04-2007, 16:46   #4
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Quote:
One of the things I think about quite a bit is how to have all the things I like about living ashore while living aboard.
It's about rethinking why you like certain foods. You'll have to make them differently and they may not be the same as ashore but there is no reason to eat poorly or lack things you like. The trick is to not try to live on the boat like you do on shore. You spend the whole time figuring out why it's not the same and never get to the task of cooking with what you have and can get.

Soft cheese packaged in wax will keep two weeks plus if you can at least keep it sort of cool. In the fridge it will last a very long time. You can generally find it in the dairy case in many stores.
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Old 05-04-2007, 20:44   #5
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I think that Pizza in a box is already available. I remember making it as a kid. Can't think of the name but all the ingredients were there except maybe the cheese. I like your ideas but on the other hand Ithink that alot of that can be done by just packaging the items that go together in the same place.

Sulli We have been canning tomatoes for years. I've never gotten sick except for madcow disease . But I think that came from the noodles.
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Old 05-04-2007, 22:46   #6
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Hey Charlie!!

I remember those pizza's in a box too!! Ate many of them as a kid.

As for the cheese. Just use the cheese in a can. Like the kind you sprinkle onto speghetti!!
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Old 05-04-2007, 23:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drew.ward
The question is: would people pay for packaged food like this?
I believe they do pay for this. The only part of your list that I didn't see in my local grocery store recently is no-refrigeration mozarella cheese.

For crust, Boboli looks just like what you are describing. ( Boboli Official Website - Home Page boboli.gwbakeries.com ). I don't know the actual shelf life of the crust.

There are various brands of canned pizza sauce. There are a few brands of bacon and pepperoni that do not require refrigeration. If you don't mind parmesan cheese instead of mozarella, you can get ground parmesan in unrefrigerated containers.

Sometimes you can find canned ham in small cans (like you would use for a sandwich), though I don't remember if I've seen it recently. I've also seen canned chicken, but it doesn't taste good enough for me to buy another can of it. It might work for pizza, though.

You might still find a business opportunity in competition with these existing brands, or maybe as an integrator.

(By "canned", I refer to the process known as "canning", not the cylindrical metal container. Much canned food is now stored in glass or plastic bottles, or plastic bags.)
Quote:
And if so, what foods do you really miss at sea?
Ice cream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan
The crust: Why vacuum seal it at all when you can keep yeast, flour and water aboard?
Convenience, of course.
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Old 06-04-2007, 02:12   #8
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It's interesting to hear that these things were available at one time. I wonder what happened with them? Did the originals taste good?

I suppose safety is definitely an issue, but as long as proper procedures are followed there is very little risk.

I know that in Europe and Central America a lot of things we buy in cans or refrigerated packages are sold in cardboard containers called tetra-paks. Most tomato products here are sold this way, and you can buy milk that is shelf stable for long periods of time.

As for the cheese, true motzerella would be a problem since it is only good for a short while in natural form. But, most pizza doesn't actually use motzerella. There are several white cheese that can be stored for years.

I have to agree with those that said the best way to have fresh pizza is to make it from scratch, but I think not everyone has the time, space, or galley skills to do that effectively while on the hook.

Same thing with camping and such, or for that matter with a crappy apartment. Some of these situations just don't allow you to roll out dough and such.

Ice cream is an interesting idea. I saw a show on the Food Network (man do I miss that in Europe) where they made icecream in the field. One team was all garbage men and made ice cream in a garbage bag, the others made it in a sort of soccer ball container.

All of the ingredients in Ice cream are again available in un-refrigerated form. The trick is how to provide the cooling of the ingredients. There are freezing packets that use chemical reactions in a pouch and stay cold for a few hours (sometimes used for sports medicine). I don't know if these could be used to atually freeze the ice cream. It'd be a neat experiment.
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:40   #9
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Hmm, for ice cream... you'd need ice, but if you just didn't want to store the ice cream all the time, you could use the ball.

Camper's Dream Ice Cream Ball

One of the recipes I saw was for sorbet (with juice instead of milk/cream).

As for the tomato sauce, as long as you follow the recipe, there is no problem with canning - most call for a teaspoon of lemon juice to make sure of the acidity. My wife cans a bushel or two every year that we use all year until the next canning season.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:08   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drew.ward
As for the cheese, true motzerella would be a problem since it is only good for a short while in natural form. But, most pizza doesn't actually use motzerella. There are several white cheese that can be stored for years.

I have to agree with those that said the best way to have fresh pizza is to make it from scratch, but I think not everyone has the time, space, or galley skills to do that effectively while on the hook.
Good lord... I think we have very different defnitions of what pizza is. It may be because we lived in New York.

Our pizza tastes like you would get from Famous Ray's or some shop in Manhattan, Queens, Broooklyn, etc...

I wouldn't eat anything pre-packaged or made by a factory, but of course, I'm the minority. Coot and others interested in convenience over flavor (who make up the majority of Americans, but not Europeans), would probably buy your product like wildfire.

Charlie: As long as you are following the USDA Canning Guide in preparing your tomatoes, you are safe. If not, you're playing Russian Roulette.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:53   #11
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I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but the ice cream ball is a royal PITA (pain in the a..). The side that you open to put in the ice is very small - therefore you need to either make very small ice cubes or somehow crush the ice you have. If you are in a warm/tropical climate, the ice melts VERY quickly. So you have to continually add ice and rock salt (the salt has to be vacuum sealed to keep it fresh). Meanwhile, the ice cream ingredients go into a tube on the other end, which you have to scrape down every few minutes. If you don't, you end up with a liquid center in the tube but frozen solid sides that are very difficult to scrape. The ice cream itself is quite tasty, but the work involved is not worth it, no matter how much you love ice cream. We find that as we head further south, there is almost always an ice cream shop to buy a cone. And if I ever empty out the freezer enough, we can buy a pint. But even if you don't have a freezer, ice cream ashore is such a wonderful treat that I wouldn't trade it for the hassle of making it aboard (at least not in an ice cream ball). Just my opinion.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:30   #12
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Drew,

Obviously a good idea reviewing some of the posts here... Maybe writing a book for cruisers with these ideas and some recipes would be easier and cheaper, with a better ROI than starting a "food supply" business. Just a thought...

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Old 06-04-2007, 12:15   #13
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LOL..yeah, I'm not really committed to the idea enough to seriously consider starting a supply business. Plus that would probably tie me to land. But, my family does have a farm, and I've thought about possibly investing in some small-scale specialty food supply. It's neat to see how others in the sailing world have adapted to things in their galley kitchens though.
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Old 06-04-2007, 18:13   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan
I wouldn't eat anything pre-packaged or made by a factory, but of course, I'm the minority. Coot and others interested in convenience over flavor (who make up the majority of Americans, but not Europeans), would probably buy your product like wildfire.
I think you oversimplify when you say "convenience over flavor". Pre-packaged foods have flavors too -- they just aren't the flavors that you want. So, an equally valid point of view is that you are so picky about achieving a specific flavor that you have to eliminate a large class of foods from your consideration.

Being a picky eater myself, I can respect that.

But stand by to be grossed out:

I like Mama Celeste frozen pizza -- more than I like the fresh pizza from the italian place down the road from where my parents live.

I've also made fresh pizza crust from flour by a few different recipes, and while some of them come out ok, I have to say that the Boboli crusts taste better.


The whole thing about whether something tastes good comes down to a simple question: Does it taste like you expect it to? If the answer is yes, you say it "tastes good". Otherwise, how could we explain lutefisk?
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:03   #15
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Originally Posted by coot
I think you oversimplify when you say "convenience over flavor". Pre-packaged foods have flavors too -- they just aren't the flavors that you want. So, an equally valid point of view is that you are so picky about achieving a specific flavor that you have to eliminate a large class of foods from your consideration.

Being a picky eater myself, I can respect that.

But stand by to be grossed out:

I like Mama Celeste frozen pizza -- more than I like the fresh pizza from the italian place down the road from where my parents live.

I've also made fresh pizza crust from flour by a few different recipes, and while some of them come out ok, I have to say that the Boboli crusts taste better.


The whole thing about whether something tastes good comes down to a simple question: Does it taste like you expect it to? If the answer is yes, you say it "tastes good". Otherwise, how could we explain lutefisk?
Good points, when things taste like you are used to then they are "good"..........no matter that they are 110% cr#p copies of the originals........for me this list also include Pizzas

In the UK we tend to be supplied (mass market wise) with food that is designed to be a) cheap b) have a long shelf life c) look good d) capable of survivng long distance travel and last on the list is taste ...........of course a) and c) are what the punters demand and b) and d) are what the retailers require to deliver.

That's why I love France, where in general, TASTE is the no. 1 priority.......

I have smoked like a chimney most of my life and when even I can TASTE the difference between French vegetables and fruit then IMO something is very wrong with our food chain

Not sure how things work in the USA, but I suspect more akin to the UK than France for the mass market.........
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