Let's takeout back to the early days, when Everipe was simply a twinkle in our founder Greg's eye. Tired of the shopping/washing/chopping/measuring cycle—that sometimes ended in spoiled produce or a #blenderfail—Greg set out to find a way to have his smoothie and drink it, too. (That idiom works here, right?) He switched to powders and found them joyless. He began asking himself if there could be a product that offered the convenience of a powder with the full sensory experience and clean nutrition of a whole food smoothie. The line of questioning and trail of research that ensued led him to one single solution: freeze drying. And we want to tell you a little more about it.
Freeze Drying is a Natural, Ancient Process
Your first encounter with freeze dried foods might have been a "NASA-approved" napoleon ice cream packet (we too found those super cool), but the process itself has been around far longer than man has been in space.
Freeze drying practices date back to 1250 BC, when it was used by Incas to preserve food in the harsh climate of the Peruvian Andes. They needed nourishing food that stored and travelled well. Taking advantage of the warm days and cold nights of early summer in the high-altitude Andes, the Incas would repeatedly freeze and thaw potatoes, mashing the moisture out of them with their feet. The result? Chuño, a freeze-dried potato that resembles a truffle and can be stored and eaten for up to a decade. No technology, no chemicals, no preservatives. It quite literally fed armies. Pretty impressive, right?
Today, freeze drying doesn’t involve any mashing by foot (as fun and therapeutic as that sounds), but the process is still an entirely natural and extremely effective way to preserve fruits and vegetables. It involves nothing more than perfectly ripe produce and very cold temperatures: no chemicals, no preservatives, and no additives.
It’s as Nutritious as it is Convenient
Let’s start with a little scientific geekery: Freeze drying—or if you're feeling fancy, lyophilization—is a multi-step process. First, fruits and veggies harvested at their peak ripeness (read: peak nutrition) are placed in a vacuum chamber at temperatures below freezing, where combination of low temperatures and low pressure allows the frozen water molecules to vaporize without ever entering a liquid phase. The temperature is then slowly raised (but not the pressure!) to further dehydrate the fruits and veggies.
The result? Fruits and veggies containing a very small amount of moisture, which allows for a longer shelf life while keeping their cellular structure intact. And when the cellular structure of a raspberry is preserved, so is the nutritional value. The American Institute for Cancer Research has found that the antioxidants found in fresh fruits is about the same as in their freeze-dried versions. Freeze-drying can preserve up to 98% of the nutritional value while weighing only 20% of the produce in its original form. Lightweight, shelf stable, and super nutritious? Check, check, and check.
What You See is What You Get (and Taste)
The whole eat with your eyes thing? It's *very* true. Freeze drying allows for each ingredient in a blend to be in plain sight, just as it would be with a smoothie made from fresh ingredients. This was part of that sensory experience that was missing for Greg when he tried powders. He could appreciate the utilitarian purpose of powders, but wanted the satisfaction of real food. If you think about the past applications of freeze-dried food, it fed armies, astronauts, and campers. It doesn’t get much more utilitarian than that! But it’s also beautifully whole, preserving the color and shape of the fruit or vegetable. It also creates transparency between our customers and our product, which is super important to us.
And as for flavor, freeze drying preserves the bold flavors of fresh fruits and veggies and blends into an exceptionally creamy and tasty smoothie, no added sugars or other hard-to-pronounce additives necessary.
It Leaves Your Freezer Out of It
While frozen fruits and veggies offer some of the same conveniences and nutritional perks as freeze-dried, frozen, single-serving smoothies create a separate problem: a monopoly on your freezer space. And while the fridge and the freezer are typically the prime real estate for the healthiest foods in your kitchen, freeze drying raises the standard on what your pantry is capable of. This is not your grandmother's can of green beans: it's bright, tasty, and nutritious.
So when the berries turn fuzzy days before you expected (or when your week careened out of control and you totally expected it!) and or the contents of your fridge have been reduced to a few condiments and a suspect package of hot dogs, Everipe can help you can feel good about turning to your pantry for something convenient: fresh, whole foods in a tasty smoothie in 90 seconds.
In the ever-evolving balance of healthy and convenient, freeze-dried simply hits all the marks. It’s all natural, void of any fillers, chemicals and artificial sweeteners. It’s shelf stable and easy to store while offering a full sensory experience that powders and pre-made smoothies often lack. And that's why it gets our first impression rose, perfect 10, Heisman Trophy and Nobel Prize.