Nelson company continues to supply frontline and public long life food


Don’t panic buy, just smart buy is the message from Nathan Fa’avae, the six-time adventure racing world champion and captain of the worlds most successful endurance sport team.

Fa’avae is the co-owner of Absolute Wilderness Freeze Dried Meals, a Nelson food producer that supplies the worlds leading adventure athletes with nutrition to fuel them to super human feats.

Fa’avae says “In 2012 I was preparing for the Adventure Racing World Championships in France when a Nelson mountain biker and orienteer I knew, Grant MacDonald, a leader in freeze dying technology in New Zealand, said to me he believed with improved nutrition our team could go faster for longer. Fast forward, our team raced with Grant’s freeze dried food and won the race, and have won 5 of the past 6-world championships since”.

Soon after the race in France Absolute Wilderness became a commercial product. There are some key things that make the product unique, on a global level. The company has developed a new technology that means the meals taste like ‘real food’, largely because the technology allows real meals to be dried. Traditionally freeze dried meals are made by mixing dry ingredients together. Absolute Wilderness prepare the meals first then the complete meals are put through the drying process, which also sterilises the food for maximum hygiene. The meals are then vacuum packed to seal in the freshness. The company strives to have ‘clean labels’ with locally sourced ingredients where possible.

Another added benefit of the unique process is that the meals will cold water hydrate. This is a huge bonus for expedition adventure racers in the wild, but it also means Absolute Wilderness has seasonal meals in the range that are cold water only, such as salads and fresh fruit yogurts.

The company has had a massive increase in sales since the Covid-19 situation began. “Normally at this time of year our sales drop over winter as most people use the meals for tramping and outdoor adventure in summer and autumn. Hunters stock up for the roar season then we spend winter gearing up for spring. We are now having a spike in sales and we’re working hard to supply customers. We have a full range from breakfasts, dinners and desserts and they are simple and fast to prepare, just a cup of hot water. The meals have a shelf life of three years so they are a very practical stable food to have in the cupboard” says Fa’avae.

The company are working to supply frontline workers, hospitals, police, army etc. They have also been supplying elderly rest homes.

“As long as we can keep getting the ingredients we’ll keep producing the meals as they’re extremely versatile and practical, they’re also ultra light so easy to ship around the country. a main meal weighs only 100-grams” he says.

Nathan Fa’avae