If you have ever tried to find the ‘right’ emergency food company to buy from, you may have seen just how many of them are out there. They all make similar claims about being the best for various reasons.
It can be extremely overwhelming. Whatever your reasons for buying some long term emergency food in the first place, it can leave you feeling frustrated and tempted to just throw your hands up and put it off.
I have heard people say things like, “I will buy some when I have more time to research it,” or “They are all basically the same, I will just get one of those buckets from Wally World.”
I cringe when I hear this for several reasons. The purpose of this article is not to tell you which one to buy, but more to arm you with some criteria so you can choose the best one for you and your family.
10 Tips for Selecting an Emergency Food Storage Company (not in any particular order).
- Price per meal. Single packs are more expensive than buying in bulk. It is also important to pay attention to how many servings are in each bag. Some companies have large 4-serving pouches of dinner entrees, while others might contain just 2 servings. This affects the price per meal.
- Method of cooking. Some companies sell their meals in pouches that allow you to pour boiling water directly into them and let them steep, much like cup-o-noodles. Others require a pot and fire or other heating source to cook them. Consider your situation and where you see yourself actually using these meals. Will you have a pot to use? Do you have other ways to heat water and food if the power goes out?
- Ingredients. This is very important. Because you are looking at food to be used during an emergency, high quality food is more important than ever. Filling up on a bunch of chemicals and preservatives will have a greater negative impact should you find yourself surviving a disaster than just sitting on a couch. Just because you’re buying emergency food doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your family’s health.
- Caloric value per serving. This ties in with the ingredients criteria. Going ‘low fat, low carb’ is not the smartest option in an emergency and a SHTF situation is no time to worry over eating too much. You will absolutely be burning more calories than you do on average, especially if you are bugging out. Pay close attention to how many calories you will get per serving. Make sure you are getting at least 1800 a day per adult to maintain your body’s systems.
- Taste. Hunger will only go so far in making food taste good. Some companies offer a free sample or smaller containers so you can taste their product, and I highly encourage you to take advantage of it. If you never try the food until you need it to survive, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Taste plays an important role in not only palatable sustenance, it can improve morale and overall feelings of ‘normality’ which will be a precious thing in a catastrophe. If you cannot get a free sample, look into buying just one or two pouches. See if the company sells single packs via the internet or in chain stores such as Walmart, REI, Cabela’s, and others.
- Specialized diet options. Do any of the people in your group have allergies to certain foods? Is anyone vegan or have other special needs? There are companies out there who offer large varieties of packages that suit pretty much everyone’s needs.
- Do they offer packs of just one item such as a bucket of freeze dried chicken? While getting a 1 month bucket for each family member is wonderful, each person will still have the same foods to choose from and it will get boring. Companies that offer supplemental foods such as rice side dishes or dried fruit will make for a nice variety.
- What kind of variety? Can you combine to make new creations? Companies that do not have much of a variety should be avoided. At some point, you will need to get creative and extras on the side will help greatly. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to forage or hunt for some of your food and only need to add some freeze dried chicken or dried mixed veggies to make a meal.
- Weight. Weight is a consideration mostly for those who are bugging out. You do not want to have a pack so heavy that you cannot make it 2 miles.
- Optimal storage conditions and shelf life. You want to get high quality food, but you also want something that will last a good, long time. Look into what the optimum storage conditions are and how long the food will last for that time. Then factor in what kind of storage conditions you have available and go from there. Ask yourself if you think food that should last 20 years in perfect storage conditions will only last 10 years in the conditions I have – is it still worth it? Can I improve the conditions?
LeAnn in Alaska
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