A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food storage company to use, so I wanted to address those here on the blog.
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- Thrive Life* has an outstanding, user-friendly website, and a huge array of mostly freeze-dried foods that can be incorporated in thousands of recipes. This is my recommended form of food storage. Just-add-water meals, not so much, although I do have some of those as well for urgent emergencies. Thrive Life offers the opportunity to earn money and have foods auto-shipped, which helps stay on track with food storage goals. In short, they have some unique features similar companies do not offer. I’ve been a Thrive Life consultant for 4 years.
- Ready Reserve Foods* is a smaller, family-owned company in southern Idaho who sells mostly dehydrated, not freeze dried, fruits and vegetables, as well as many other food and survival products. They are one of the very few companies in the country who use nitrogen to package their food, which is far superior to the use of an oxygen absorber. They carry peanut butter powder and parboiled rice, which I love and have plenty of in my pantry. Their products are also competitively priced. I’ve visited their facilities and they have worked with me on and off over the years.
- Augason Farms has been a long-time sponsor of my blog, but that isn’t why I selected them. Although many other companies carry similar products, Augason Farms foods can be found in stores across the country, like Sam’s Club, Winco, and Walmart. This is important because it makes “survival food” available to everyone who may not be able to order online. Their food is consistently good, their website immense with both products and information.
The Best Food Storage Company?
So what about other companies such as Emergency Essentials, Walton Feed, The Ready Store, and Honeyville?The 3 food storage companies used most often by #Survival Mom. #PrepperTalk Click To Tweet
None of these companies are inferior, they just don’t rise to the top in the various categories that I specified — best website, dehydrated food options and nitrogen packing, and products readily available without having to place a mail order.
I’ve visited the main Emergency Essentials store in Salt Lake City and found the manager there to be friendly and helpful. The survival products they carry are priced well and I ended up buying quite a few MREs.Which is the best food storage company? Click To Tweet
For a year or so I taught classes at the Honeyville Farms retail store in Phoenix and bought quite a few food items each time. One thing I noticed was that the food purchased in the store was very nicely priced but the price increased dramatically online. They advertise their low shipping cost, but obviously, the price of shipping has to be made up elsewhere, thus the increase in their online prices. This made it difficult for me to determine which of their products were priced well and which might be more expensive than other brands, whose shipping charges were higher.
Currently, a 50 pound bag of hard white wheat costs $19.99 at a Honeyville Farms store, but it’s $43.99 online. That’s quite a difference and is typical with all their food products. The $4.99 shipping charge becomes meaningless, and it also makes it very difficult to truly compare Honeyville cost and value with other companies.
TIP: Learn about wheat before buying it in quantities!
Walton Feed was the very first food storage company I encountered, and the ordering process, at least back then, was quite confusing and complicated to a newbie. Their products are good quality, we are still using the cocoa powder I bought back, and I have no complaints. If you want to take a look at their products and pricing, it’s best to place a huge order with other people, if possible, in order to save on shipping. When I did this, an 18-wheeler delivered the order to my friend’s house (she was the coordinator), and she divided up the orders for each person.
All that food is surprisingly similar. Here’s why.
One factor many don’t realize is that all this food, whether it be wheat, strawberries, corn, and everything else comes from only so many farms! Just as food processing plants package food and then place different labels on them for different brands, these farms and packing plants do the same thing. So wheat purchased from Emergency Essentials just might come from the exact same farm as Augason Farms wheat, or vice versa. There are very few plants that freeze dry produce, so it’s just logical that the food itself is the same from one company to the next, and only the label and, likely, the packaging process,is different. Exactly where the food comes from is highly confidential, and you will probably only find out the country from which it originated.
When I spoke with Ready Reserve Foods about their parboiled rice, I was informed that it was grown on a farm in Idaho, not too far from their offices. That was nice to hear! Locally grown food, whose practices can be monitored, is always best.
Food storage mistakes abound!
Before making a large purchase of this food, even if you’re in a huge panic and think that time is running out, please don’t buy anything you aren’t familiar with and may not actually use. I have about a dozen cans of germade. It’s wheat germ, something my kids have never had and of which I only have distant memories. One of these days I’ll crack open a can and serve it to them. If they like it, great! If not, I’ll be looking on Pinterest for other recipes that call for germade!
TIP: Read my Quick Start Guide to getting prepared if you’re panicking, and even if you’re not!
One mistake I’ve made is to buy far more wheat and less rice, which in many ways is more versatile. It’s also advantageous for families dealing with gluten issues. On the upside, I have loads of wheat to barter with, and now I’ve started to look for 50 pound bags of rice that I can repackage.
TIP: If you buy food in large quantities, you’ll probably have to repackage it for the longest shelf life.
Whichever companies you choose, start with buying small quantities. Thrive Life sells small, #2.5 size cans, as well as pouches of their foods. This is a very, very good way to check the quality, taste, and versatility of a food.
This food is for more than just storage
One reader asked me if I ever actually ate this food! Right now in my kitchen, I have opened cans of freeze dried blueberries (used them in a baked oatmeal this morning), freeze dried strawberries (we use them in smoothies), freeze dried cheese (ran out of fresh cheddar one day…), oats, parboiled rice, cocoa powder, bell pepper slices, and instant milk. Although most of my food is specifically for long-term storage, it’s pretty common around here that we have to track down an ingredient that I need.
This is very handy, and in many ways, I have my own grocery store at home! Because dehydrated and freeze dried food stays fresh for months after the container is opened, I just keep it in my kitchen pantry and use it whenever I need that particular ingredient. After a while, you figure out which of these foods you should probably stock up on more than others. For me:
- Freeze dried corn (We use it a lot in chowders.)
- Freeze dried sausage crumbles. These are amazing and such a great way to have sausage for pasta meals and pizza. Learn more about using sausage crumbles here.
- Instant milk. Good to have on hand when we don’t have any fresh.
- Freeze dried bell peppers. Fresh from the store can be pretty expensive, and this is a good way to have peppers when I need them.
The bottom line
Whichever company you purchase from, try to compare prices and quantities. Also pay attention to serving sizes, especially when buying just-add-water meals. Those can be deceiving and are a topic for a separate article!
For your convenience, here are links to some of the major food storage companies:
Emergency Essentials (You may see the brand name Provident Pantry associated with them.)
The Ready Store (Brand name of foods is Saratoga Farms.)
Legacy Foods (I tried 3 of their entrees — very good!)
Resources to help you stock up
Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios (I include 2 very full chapters on getting started with food storage, which foods to buy first, and how to keep your pantry organized.)
Food Saver Vacuum Sealer – this removes oxygen, which will extend the shelf life of your food.
Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett
*This link will take you to my personal Thrive Life website. The lowest prices from this company are reserved for customers purchasing through a consultant. Whether you make your Thrive Life purchase through my website or not, be sure to order through a consultant rather than on the main Thrive Life website where prices will be higher.
*As of this update, June, 2016, Ready Reserve Foods is up for sale. I will keep an eye on its’ sale and will update this article.
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