A Buyer's Guide to
Food Preparedness Products
Avoid scams, know what you're paying for, find the best deals
If for any reason, and there are many, trucks were to stop bringing food into your area, expect store shelves to be bare in about three days. Perhaps, like the wise squirrel, you have decided to store up food for any hard times that may come—enough for a few months or even a few years?
One way is to simply buy the foods that you normally do, but buy more and eat from the oldest to rotate your stock before expiration dates come up. The other way is to buy commercially prepared emergency/survival/preparedness foods having a shelf-life of 10-30 years, storing it somewhere, and then just resting easier knowing it's there if you and your family ever need it. A pile of food will always be worth something even when a pile of money isn't.
To allow for comparisons between the many vendors, I will use as my "standard candle" a one year supply of food for one person needing 2000 calories/day—your needs may vary (see: Calorie Calculator), but adjusting the figures to reflect your needs should not be difficult. I will be answering basic questions like: How much will it cost? How much will it weigh? How much space will it take up? Is the food nutritionally adequate?
Three basic types of products for long-term food storage are available: MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) having a 1 to 8 year shelf-life; dry/dehydrated foods in #10 cans or buckets having a 10-15 year shelf-life; and freeze-dried foods in #10 cans having a 25+ year shelf-life. You can get the freeze-dried stuff in pouches, but it's really for backpacking as it only has a 7-year shelf-life. Most 1-year packages offer a mix of cans and buckets.
MRE's are bulky, expensive, and have the shortest shelf-life. The Mayday Food Bars are also ready to eat, store longer, and are much cheaper. Having some of either or both on hand would be sensible if you have to leave home or shelter for a few days and eat only what you carry. But a year's supply might be overdoing it.
Dry or dehydrated goods—basic grains and legumes (beans), are cheap but require processing and cooking. They're a good foundation for an inexpensive long-term food supply.
Freeze-dried foods in #10 cans have the longest shelf-life. They're expensive, but can be eatten by just adding water if you need to. Using the gourmet offerings as a rice topping would be sensible. (Just bring rice to a boil, wrap in blankets to finish cooking, and add the gourmet topping along with with any fresh vegetables or meat you may have. If you're on a budget, consider the 275 Meals in a Bucket—buy one whenever you can and use the entrées as a rice topping.
Most of the following products are sold by more than one vendor, most as 1-year packages, I'll mention the best buy currently available, but since that can change from hour to hour, "current" could be as of a few days ago. So shop around and if you find a better buy, let me know.
|Web site or product
|275 Meal Pack in 5-gallon Bucket
||Sold by Amazon, Costco, etc, best bucket buy.
||Food Survival 200 Meal Kit
||Another bucket: a little less for a little more.
||Wise Foods Bucket
||Sold by Outfitters; pricey, perhaps higher quality.
|Mayday Food Bars
|| Cheap and ready to eat, but don't buy a year's worth.
|Earth Wave Living
|| Best buys on on-sale items, generally competitive.
|| Heavily advertised site hawking over-priced food.
|| Major seller with good prices.
|| Slick marketing, poor product.
||Seller of Provident Provisions line of 1-year packages.
||Pleasant Hill Grain
||Provident Provisions line, good prices.
||Major retailer, mostly Mountain House.
|Emermgency Preparedness Center
|| Major seller with a low price guarantee.
||Lots of stuff, good info, good prices.
|| Offer a 1-year package that's only 430 cal/day.
||A seller of AlpineAire packages.
|| Mountain House/AlpineAire seller, but pricey.
||AlpineAire seller, some good prices.
|The Survival Center
|| Some good ideas, not really discount pricing.
||Thrive Brand, mostly basic foods in cans.
||Basic foods, good buy if you live in Idaho.
||The Internet Grocer
||Not all that competitive in pricing.
|Ready Reserve Foods, Inc.
||Their own line of foods in #10 cans.
|| Provident Provisions brand, not discount seller.
|The Ready Store
||Saratoga Farms and Mountain House foods.
||Over priced, somewhat deceptive marketing.
||Okay product, but twice what it's worth.
||Good prices on Provident Pantry line.
You get 25 different dehydrated foods packaged in Mylar bags in eight 5-gallon buckets. They offer only this one product; $0.19/serving, "quality dehydrated food for 75% less," 10 year shelf-life, 125 lbs, 4,383 total servings for $920.
The Straight Dope:
This family operated company boasts: "Due to the soaring demand in preparedness food, we have just moved (11-15-10) to our new 4,000 sq. ft. facility, with 11 employees in order to keep up with demand for our incredible dehydrated food." Oh, and prices are going up 15% in January.
What do you get for $920 (if you buy now before the price goes up)?
You get 5 pounds each of: almonds, granola, kidney beans, "vegetable mixture," ORAC (fruit/nut mix), 12-grain cereal, bean soup mix, potato dices, dried fruit medley, "vegetable protein," pinto beans, tomato powder, long grain brown rice, wild rice blend, sulfured mixed fruits, banana chips, "California mix" (more fruit/nuts), egg powder, beef soup base, chicken soup base, instant milk, dried honey, and 10 pounds each of corn meal and elbow macaroni which adds up to 135 lbs (so it would appear most are a bit less and are rounded up to 5 or 10 lbs to give you your stated 125 lbs). Note that the two soup bases are basically salt and sugar, while the dried honey is basically sugar. While some can be eaten as is, other items, like the beans, would require lengthy cooking. You get an incredible 4,383 servings for just $920, which explains why they can barely keep up with the demand.
But wait, you might want to know how much is a "serving?" If you check out the "delicious vegetable mixture," for example, you get 454 servings at 10 calories/serving. Gee, 10 whole calories. If you go to the trouble of adding up all the calories contained in your 125 lbs of food (I did so you don't have to), it comes to 232,525 calories, or 53 calories/serving. Gee, let's see, that's means our 2000 calorie/day person would need to eat an average of 37 "servings" per day.
Bottom line: For $920 you get dry ("dehydrated") bulk foods (not the expensive freeze-dried good stuff) repackaged in Mylar bags
(no mention of nitrogen packing so the claimed 10 year shelf-life is questionable) and sold for $7.36/pound. At 2000 calories/day, you get enough food (assuming you have the ability to prepare it) to last 116 days, which comes to $7.93/day or about $2,900/year in 25 buckets. As you will learn if you read on, you can get gourmet freeze-dried food with a 25-year shelf-life FOR LESS! On the plus side, I'd give them an award for worst design in a Web site—it's really that awful.
They also have an "Affiliate program" that encourages others to setup GoDaddy Web sites to hawk their product, so watch out for other sites trying to sucker you in to ordering their over-priced
food. If business gets any better, expect to see this "incredible offer" on late-night TV. But order now, and we'll send you....
Avoid the following sites (many others are selling locally and don't have Web sites yet):
So caveat emptor. This business is little more than a scam preying upon the innumerate. It was after analyzing the claims of this vendor that I decided someone needed to provide a buyer's guide to food preparedness products, and that it might as well be me.
Emergency Survival Food Supply
275 Meal Pack in 5-gallon Bucket
This item is sold in various retail outlets including Amazon ($115) and Costco ($90).
I even bought three and have tried out some of the meals. The meals are not bad, but there really aren't 275 of them. What you get are 55 Mylar bags averaging 5 servings. Each "serving" averages about 128 calories. So our 2000 calorie/day person, eating 3 meals/day and 5-6 "servings" per meal, is getting about 18 days of food per bucket. That comes to as little as $5.12/day or $1,890/year in 21 buckets. Water and cooking source not included. As with Patriot Food (see above), measuring food in "servings" is deceptive and meaningless.
You get: 25 servings Potato Soup, 30 servings Corn Chowder, 25 servings Cacciatore, 25 servings Western Stew, 30 servings Country Noodle, 25 servings Rice Lentil, 45 servings Whey Milk, 40 servings Blueberry Pancake, 30 servings Barley Vegetable. Note that the offerings are all vegetarian and are vitamin fortified. Unopened, a 20-year shelf life at 600F is claimed.
Bottom line: Dispite some deceptive marketing, it's a legitimate product at a reasonable price.
Instant White Rice
Since I mention using the freeze-dried foods as rice toppings, and since Costco sells Instant White Rice by the bucket for $50, I'll analyze this product to see if this is the rice you want to buy. This bucket of rice gives you 13.56 lbs. or 22400 calories, which, if you need 2000 cal/day and ate nothing else, would last you 11.2 days and cost $4.47/day. If you buy a 14 oz box locally, you'll pay $4+/box or $62+ for the same amount as is in the bucket, so for what it is, the price is reasonable considering that it comes in 14 Mylar bags and will store 20 years making it a good match for the 275 Meal Bucket. It would also cook faster. But it's still just rice.
Let's see why doing the math is important. If you find a bulk seller locally, you might expect to pay $40 for a 6-gallon bucket, 44 lbs, of white rice. This comes to 54600 calories lasting (just to allow comparison) 27.3 days at a cost of $1.47/day. Storage life is maybe 10 years if an oxygen absorber is added. If you bought rice locally for $1/pound, and ate nothing else, that diet would cost you $1.62/day.
let's say you want half your calories in rice, and half from the 275 Meal Bucket. If you go with the Instant rice, that would cost you $4.85/day (vs. $5.12/day for the 275 Meals alone). If you go with basic white rice, you'll eat for $3.33/day (assuming a 2000 cal/day need).
Since you really don't save that much by going with the Instant rice, I'd either just get mostly 275 Meal Buckets (more $ but more nutrition) and maybe some of the Instant Rice for variety mostly, or I'd seek to save money ($1.50/day) and go with basic raw rice.
Emergency Food Survival 200 Meal Kit
This product is very similar to the one above. The "meals" or servings are about 160 calories and come in 40 bags of five-servings each. So assuming a need for 2000 calories/day, you get 16 days/person for $109.50 shipped or $6.85/day or $2498/year in 23 buckets. Note the buckets are square so they should take up less space than the round ones.
The rest is similar too: 20 year shelf life; vitamin and mineral fortified; 100% vegetarian packages of Barley Vegetable, Corn Chowder, Western Stew, Chocolate Whey Milk, Whey Milk, Oatmeal, Potato Bacon, Rice Lentil, and Cacciatore.
Bottom line: You get a little less and it costs more, so the previous product, assuming you pay $115 (or $90 at Costco) and not $160, is the better deal.
This is another offering of a bucket of freeze-dried food and is sold by a number of outfitters such as Cabela's. You get breakfasts: Honey-Glazed Granola, Brown-Sugar Oatmeal, Multigrain Cereal, and lunch/dinners: Stroganoff, Cheesy Macaroni, Chicken à la King, Beef Teriyaki and Rice, Creamy Chicken Pasta, Creamy Potato Soup, Chicken Teriyaki, Cheesy Lasagna, Southwest Bean and Rice, and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup.
Bottom line: Each bucket would only last 14 days at 2,000 calories/day. For three meals a day for a year, you buy 36 buckets costing $6495 giving you 2756 calories/day. A years supply at 2000 calories/day would be 27 buckets, which at $180/bucket (and up), would cost you $4860 or $13.31/day. This product is comparable to the two above other than costing over twice as much. Quality is probably better (had better be), but does it really taste twice as good or provide twice the nutrition? Probably not.
This site carries the Provident Pantry line of products, as well as Mountain House and Alpine-Aire lines of freeze dried foods—and at a discount price (actually currently the best overall discount prices I've found—but look for on-sale products). They also carry other select preparedness products with an emphasis on sustainability.
You won't find every single possible preparedness product here. But what you do see is what you'd end up with if you painstakingly shopped through thousands of products and narrowed them down to the best quality/value stuff. I've picked various of their products, shopped around, and came back here.
Among the food products:
MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) 1 Year Supply of Food
Your 1 year supply of MREs includes:
1095 Main Entrées (27 types)
365 Side Dishes (11)
365 Desserts (12+)
365 Drink Mixes
183 Peanut Butters
183 Jam Packets
182 Cheese Packets
365 Hard Candies
I didn't see a list of which entrées, side dishes, and desserts are included, but the 27 entrées sold elsewhere, all are the same price, so I'm guessing a variety is included. The calorie counts are not given but customers who bought a "1 month" supply report 1850 calories/day, so to adjust to 2000 calories, you get 337 days/person for $3600. Adding a 1 month supply for $326, you're up to $3926/year or $10.76/day. MRE's include moisture, thus take up more space, and have a shelf life of 1-8 years depending on the temperature they are stored at. You may not want to store a year's supply, but a one month supply might be a good idea.
Traditional 2000 Calorie, 1 Year Supply of Food
This one-year supply of food is mostly canned dry goods with some freeze-dried foods (Provident Pantry). You have to cook it the old fashioned way. Want flour? Grind some wheat. The kit includes all the baking and cooking essentials. They even throw in some garden seeds.
Here's what you get: Apple Pieces, Dehydrated Apple Slices, Applesauce, Double-Acting Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Dehydrated Banana Slices, Black Beans, Green Beans, Kidney Beans, Lentils Beans, Pinto Beans, Refried Beans, Small Red Beans, Small White Beans, Soy Beans, Berry Blend, Broccoli, Chicken Broth, Butter Powder, Buttermilk Powder, Carrot Dices, Cracked Wheat Cereal, Creamy Wheat Cereal, 9-Grain Cereal, 6-Grain Rolled Cereal, Cheese Blend, Yellow Cornmeal, Cornstarch, Apple Drink Mix, Orange Drink Mix, Peach Drink Mix, Dehydrated Scrambled Egg Mix, Whole Egg Powder, Garden Seeds, Low fat Cinnamon Granola, Margarine Powder, Instant Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Noodles, Quick Oats, Regular Rolled Oats, Chopped Onions, Peanut Butter Powder, Green Peas, Split Green Peas, Yellow Popcorn, Dehydrated Potato Dices, Dehydrated Potato Slices, Dehydrated Hashbrown Potatoes, White Rice, Scone Mix, Shortening Powder, ABC Soup Mix, Sour Cream Powder, Mixed Vegetable Stew, Strawberry Slices, Brown Sugar, Powdered Sugar, White Sugar, Super Sweet Corn, Imitation Bacon Flavored Bits, Imitation Sausage Flavored Crumbles, Imitation Beef Flavored Bits, Imitation Chicken Flavored Bits, Tomato Powder, Hard Red Wheat, Hard White Wheat.
And all for just $1,300 delivered. That's $3.56/day. It all comes in a total of 126 cans (#10 size);
120 dehydrated and 6 freeze dried cans—over 60 different varieties. Compare to Patriot Food's offering at half the quality and twice the price.
Gourmet 2000 Calorie, 1 Year Supply of Food
Traditional not good enough? Try the gourmet version. These are "Just Add Water" Provident Pantry freeze-dried meals, side dishes, drink mixes, and desserts. That's 198 - #10 cans,
24 dehydrated and 174 freeze dried; over 30 different varieties.
Here's what you get: Cinnamon Apple Slices, Freeze Dried Banana Slices, Mountain House Beef Stew, Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, Mountain House Beef Teriyaki with Rice, Mountain House Blueberry Cheesecake, Mountain House Chicken Ala King with Noodles, Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, Mountain House Chili Mac, Mountain House Pilot Crackers, Apple Drink Mix, Orange Drink Mix, Peach Drink Mix, Mountain House Granola with Milk and Blueberries, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Neapolitan Ice Cream Slices, Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Mountain House Long Grain and Wild Rice Pilaf, Mountain House Macaroni and Cheese, Mountain House Noodles and Chicken, Green Peas, Mountain House Premium Instant White Rice, Mountain House Raspberry Crumble, Mountain House Rice and Chicken, Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Bacon, Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Peppers, Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat and Sauce, Freeze Dried Strawberry Slices, Super Sweet Corn, Mountain House Vegetable Stew with Beef
The down side is it'll cost you $3800/person/year at 2000 calories/day. That's $10.41/day. Still, for what you're getting, this is a best buy.
Premium 2000 Calorie, 1 Year Supply of Food
Gourmet too good for you? Well, there's the premium offering. It's basically a mix of the above two. You get 168 - #10 cans,
104 dehydrated and 64 freeze dried; over 100 different varieties, totaling 2044 calories/day. All for $2600/person/year or $6.97/day. This is a nice compromise between cost and variety.
Year Supply of Basics
Yet another offering to consider. You get the "7 basics:" grains, legumes, milk, honey, salt, oil and garden seeds. Specifically: Hard White Wheat SuperPail, Hard Red Wheat SuperPail, White Rice SuperPail, Quick Oats Superpail, Honey 5-Gallon Bucket, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Pinto Beans, Refried Beans, Small Red Beans, Small White Beans, Soybeans, Split Green Peas, Yellow Popcorn, Iodized Salt, Shortening Powder, Instant Nonfat Milk, Garden Seeds.
This for $700 or $1.92/day.
One Year Supply of Grains & Legumes
Also consider just basic grains and legumes: wheat, rice, and beans. This offering is designed to provide more than the minimum recommended storage amounts of both grains and legumes for one person for a year— 318 pounds of grains and 82 pounds of legumes, about 1600 calories per day in 10 buckets. Cost is $380 or $1.04/day.
Here's what you get: 2 buckets Hard Red Wheat, 2 Hard White Wheat, 2 White Rice, 2 Regular Rolled Oats, 1 Pinto Beans, and 1 bucket of Black Beans. They list 10 buckets but show 11. I'm wondering if there's a bucket of corn that was left off the list.
So buy a good grain mill, stock up on salt, baking soda, powdered egg and milk and whatnot, add some dehydrated and freeze-dried cans, and you have basic survival fare on a budget.
If you're really on a budget, for just $280 you can get a year's supply of just grains as a basis for your stored food supply.
Amazon.com links to this site as one of their external sites. It seems like a solid business with quite a variety of products (like Provident Pantry same as the site above), but slightly more expensive than on-sale products elsewhere. Currently their one year packages are marked as being on backorder, so check availability before ordering.
Some good information too, even a food storage analyzer, so check it out.
Currently best price on MRE 1-year Kit.
Mayday Food Bars
You can buy these by the case: 36 1200 calorie bars (total of 43200 calories), 24 2400 calorie bars (57600 calories), or 20 3600 calorie bars (total 72000 calories) for around $80 to $125 (check on eBay but ask how old they are). The bars are U.S. Coast Guard Approved with a 5 year shelf life (like MREs, 1-8 years, depending on storage temperature, might be a better claim, but if 5 years is the worst case [stored at 149oF], they may last much longer than MREs). This comes to about $2.56/day for 2000 calories not needing cooking and having fairly complete nutrition. The bars are divided so you don't have to eat all in one go. You gotta like the price (compared to MREs) but you'll really need to like apple cinnamon flavor. Otherwise these are portable, go-anywhere-with-you bars—don't leave your survival retreat without them, so consider having some on hand.
This site offers freeze dried foods as "food insurance" as "recommended on the Glenn Beck Program." They also feature a "Pay as You Go" plan. Okay, but what's the bottom line?
The least expensive option is a "632 Entrée Package with FREE Drink Mix Combo" that contains 316 breakfast servings (7 varieties: granola with honey and almonds, maple and brown sugar oatmeal, blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs with sausage, scrambled eggs with bacon, strawberry creamed wheat, and chocolate protein shake). And 316 servings of lunch/dinner entrées (13 varieties: chicken a la king, lasagna with meat sauce, mac and cheese with beef, chicken Teriyaki with rice, vegetable stew with beef, beef stroganoff, spaghetti with meat sauce, rotini with beef, fettuccini alfredo with chicken, cream of potato soup, Italian wedding with meatballs soup, chicken noodle soup, and creamy vegetables with sausage soup). Plus 4 cans each of White Milk Substitute, Chocolate Milk, Apple Drink, and Orange Drink.
All this in nine 13" x 13" x 7.25" boxes weighing
210 lbs. Cost is $1,790. I could find no information about nutrition or how many calories are provided on the web site. I did e-mail the company and received a list of ingredients (no numbers) for each item (view: ingredients.doc) and basic nutritional information (view: nutritional information). After a couple hours of number crunching with only minor guessing involved (the exact number of each item in the package was not provided, but the following values should be quite close), I came up with the...
Bottom line: You get 143,230 calories food and 145,600 calories drink mix (mostly sugar). Counting only the food (to compare with the other food products), that's about 72 days food supply at 2000 calories/day, which will cost you a whopping $24.86/day or $9,074/person/year. Now we begin to see why basic nutritional info is not readily provided—someone might figure out what they're actually buying). Even adding in the empty sugar calories this is still a pricey offering. The food is probably good–just three times what it's worth. On the plus side, nice Web site design.
This site offers 3 day to 10 year food packages plus other "survival" supplies. They claim, "We offer the best and biggest units, at the best prices with the best selection and variety, bar none." If you can find a better deal, they promise to beat it. They also urge: "Don't be misinformed. Shop and compare!" My sentiments exactly, so let's put their feet to the fire.
They offer the Provident Provisions line packages.
SA6F - RD - 1 Year Food Supply
You get 99 #10 cans, 495 lbs., for $1,210.10 shipped. That's 35 items (Potato Slices, Potato Flakes, Green Beans, Carrot Dices, Vegetable Stew Blend, ABC Soup, Barley, Corn, Tomato Powder, Margarine, Shortening Powder, Cornmeal, Rolled Oats, Buttermilk Pancake, Rice, Popcorn, Cracked Wheat, Cream of Wheat, Macaroni, TVP Beef Flavored, TVP Taco Flavored, TVP Chicken Flavored, TVP Bacon Flavored, Pinto Beans, Bean Mix, Hard Red Wheats, Split Peas, Baby Lima Beans, Eggs, Spaghetti, Cheese Blend, Milk, Applesauce, Apple Slices, and Banana Slices) totaling 612,555 calories or 1678 calories/day for 1 year. Adjusting to our standard 2000 calorie diet, that's 306 days food supply at $3.95/day. They also claim 4,922 "servings," but as noted elsewhere this is a meaningless figure, and using it counts against them. Still this was the first site where I didn't have to total the calories myself.
Bottom line: This is an offering of dry (dehydrated) goods that will have to be cooked/prepared. Still, the claim that it's a "great package at a great price" maybe true as long as you aren't comparing it to the freeze-dried gourmet stuff. Not the absolute best deal, but they're in the ball park. They claim low price matching, so put them to the test.
SA11F - RD - 1 Year Deluxe Vegetarian
Your get 73 #10 cans, 334 lbs., for $952.52 delivered. That's 432,214 calories or only 1184 calories/day. Converted to 2000 calories/day, this 1 year supply will last 216 days costing you $4.41/day.
SA14F - RD - 1 Year Basic Food Storage
You get 13 six-gallon buckets, 603 lbs, for $956.10 delivered. That's 2225 calories a day of mostly grain—you'll need a good grain mill. You add 4-gallons of oil (making a total of 2713 calories/day) and rotate as oil won't store more than about one year. You'll also have to add a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, but we're talking basic survival fare here. So let's add $50 for oil and vitamins, then adjust to our standard 2000 calorie diet. You get 495 days food supply costing you $2.03/day.
Included: Hard Red Wheat, Hard White Wheat, Small White Beans, Instant Milk, Pinto Beans, White Rice, Black Beans, Quick Oats
(the food is placed in a mylar bag and sealed up inside a 6-gallon bucket with an oxygen absorber). Also #10 cans of shortening, baking soda, Baking Powder, Iodized Salt, and White Sugar. Plus #2.5 cans of Beef Bullion, Chicken Bullion, packages of Yeast, and a lid remover.
Bottom line: A contender, and their stuff is in stock.
SA13F - RD - 1 Year, 1 Person
You get 66 #10 cans + six 2.5# cans, 344 lbs., for $1,033.21 delivered. This offering does not include grains, beans, or oil. The idea is you buy these separately. They do have a package that includes the grains and beans, so I'll consider the complete package.
SA15F - RD - 1 Year Deluxe Food Storage
This is the above (SA13F) plus 9 six-gallon buckets of grains and beans for $1,653.60 delivered. That's 2830 calories/day, or 3000 calories with the recommended 4 gallons of oil. That comes to 578 days at 2000 calories/day, costing $2.95/day. There is good variety in this package, so one to consider.
SA9F - RD - 1 Year Deluxe Supply
You get 108 cans, 18 cases, 574 lbs., for $1,395.97 delivered. You add 4 gallons of cooking oil. That's 74,830 calories without the oil, or 105,678 with oil. That comes to about 53 days food supply (including oil) which means the figure of 74,830 calories is in error. I'll see if I can get the correct figure.
SA12F - RD - 1 Year
Ultra Deluxe Unit
You get 120 #10 cans, 565 lbs., for $1,444.97 delivered. That's 936,831 calories, or 468 days at 2000 calories/day, or $3.09/day. Plus, they recommend you add 4 gallons of oil—not sure if the oil was factored in or needs to be added to the figures given. Assuming it needs to be added, then you have over 1 million calories lasting 530 days at 2000 cal/day and costing $2.82/day.
SAULT18 - MH - 18 Month Ultimate Deluxe Unit
You get 252 #10 cans of "the best" for $7,741 delivered. No total calories given, but if you have the money and can't decide, here's a "deal" for you. A bit less than the best, they also offer a 162-can freeze dried Mountain House brand package for $4,810 delivered—not a good a deal as you'll see if you read on.
Overall, this definitely looks like a site with offerings to consider. They may not have the best deal, but nothing appears grossly over-priced, so take a look.
Pleasant Hill Grain
Although primarily a seller of some really serious looking kitchen equipment (grain mills anyone?), they also sell foods, including 1 year packages.
Security FoodPak 1
This is almost the same as the "SA15F-RD-1 Year Deluxe Food Storage" offered by Survival Acres (see above), but adds a 13th case that includes yeast and 4 #10 cans of sugar. Price varies with shipping: $1,440 West, $1,532 Central, and $1,626 East coast. Survival Acres price is a flat $1,653.60 delivered, so this site looks like a winner. Basic grain packages are also offered, though offerings are fewer than at Survival Acres.
Bottom line: Good price, and
I like the added information and tips included in this site as well as all the neat food prep stuff.
Check it out.
This site sells mostly Mountain House brand freeze-dried foods in #10 cans and offers 1-year packages from "Platinum" to "Ultimate." As a major distributor for Mountain House for 25 years, they guarantee their stuff and will match any lower price if you can find one. Seems like a legit business with a good reputation. There is some good information on the site also. These are 25-year shelf life "no-cook" foods (in a pinch you can just add water and eat, but "heat'n serve" sounds and probably tastes a lot better).
Platinum Food Reserve Unit
You get 168 #10 cans, 520 lbs., 25 cubic feet, for $3,375 delivered. This is a one year supply for one person at 2000 calories/day, or $9.25/day. This is actually a good price for this product.
Ultimate Pak Food Reserve Unit
You get 204 #10 size cans, 650 lbs., 30 cubic feet, for $3,998 delivered. That's 2440 calories a day, so adjusting to 2000 calories/day for comparison purposes, that's 445 days costing $8.98/day, so an even better deal, plus maximum variety. Note in the fine print that many of the non-freeze dried foods are "Nitro-Pak foods, which have a shelf-life of 5-15 years depending on the item." But this includes items like salt and sugar, which isn't going to "go bad" in a mere 15 years (I have salt in the cupboard older than that).
Bottom line: If you want to go with the gourmet free-dried stuff, consider this site.
This is a retailer of Mountain House freeze-dried foods. Grouped with the one year packages, they offer a "basic" food supply totaling 36 cans for $1,048 delivered. You're suppose to suppliment with "other stored foods" but you're left to figure that one out. They don't bother providing details, but that's about 430 calories a day, so you really need to do a lot of supplimenting unless you want to become a Starv'n Marvin look-alike.
They do have a "Premium" 2-meal a day package with 74 cans for $2125 (18 cans are low calorie fruits/vegetables). Again, no calorie count, but through stupifying effort I came up with 173,420 calories. That's about 86 days at 2000 cal/day, costing $24.51/day.
For Mountain House, try Nitro-Pak—don't buy here; just say NO to this site.
This survival site sells AlpineAire Gourmet Reserves Freeze Dried Foods, an alternative to the Mountain House brand. They offer numerous packages, but only one mentions calorie content, so I'll mention only that item.
SuperPak System -
2 People 1 Year
The Gourmet Reserves® freeze dried food products, with 56 different items, come in #10 cans and provides 2,142 calories/day for 1 person over two years for $6,885 delivered. Adjusted to 2000 cal/day, that's 781 days food supply at $8.81/day. This is comparable to the Mountain House brand, so it might come down to individual food taste preferences.
They do sell a 1 person, 1 year supply for $4,287, but there are fewer items and fewer calories (1780/day) and the cost, adjusting to 2000 cal/day, jumps to $13.19/day making this product significantly more expensive than you can get the Mountain House brand for.
If you're shopping for the freeze-dried foods, this brand is a contender, though other vendor's sell for less.
This site offers Mountain House and AlpineAire freeze-dried foods in 1 year packages. Their prices are not competitive, however, so unless you're having trouble getting what you want at a cheaper price due to shortages, you might want to shop elsewhere or contact them if you think they will provide better service.
A seller of AlpineAire freeze-dried foods.
SuperPak System -
2 People 1 Year
The AlpineAire Gourmet Reserves® freeze dried food products, with 56 different items, come in mostly #10 cans and provides 2142 calories/day for 1 person over two years for $6,635 delivered. Adjusted to 2000 cal/day, that's 781 days food supply at $8.50/day. A good price and variety.
1 Person, 1 Year
This package has less variety and fewer calories (1780/day) for $3,965 delivered. Adjusting to 2000 cal/day, the cost jumps to $12.20/day making this product rather pricey. Get the SuperPak or consider shopping for Mountain House 1-year packages.
The Survival Center
This site offers a variety of food packages that "are BIGGER, BETTER and COST LESS and do more than our competitors!" Maybe.
"Best Buy No Cook" Unit
The idea here is to use cheap rice for the bulk of calories and use the expensive gourmet canned stuff as a topping. You get 18 #10 cans of freeze-dried (their choice!?) and 12 cans of dehydrated foods plus 2 six-gallon pales of rice having a total weight of about 200 lbs.. At two meals a day, this is suppose to last one adult six months, and costs $945 delivered. The idea is good, but since they provide no nutrition/calorie information, it's hard to know whether $945 is a sweet deal or grossly over-priced. Whenever a seller fails to provide basic information about their product, that's usually a bad sign.
Fearless number cruncher that I am, I calculate there are 115,200 calories in 12 gallons of rice. The AlpineAire cans average 3540 calories, so 18 cans comes to 63,720 calories. The 12 cans of dehydrated stuff comes to 45,700 calories (yes, I looked up each item). So the grand total is 224,620 calories. That's 112 days at 2000 cal/day for $8.44/day.
This is close to what the gourmet stuff costs and over half the calories are rice. So pretty obvious this package is over-priced.
Deluxe Family Unit
This is a mix of grains, legumes, dehydrated, and freeze-dried foods providing 2 years food supply for one person at 2050 calories/day and costing $3,325 delivered. That's 748 days at $4.45/day.
Considering that this package is mostly grains, this not a great deal. When I first saw this site my impression was they were offering some screaming deals. I was only after over an hour of number crunching that I came to a different view. I'd say their prices are about one-third higher than you can find elsewhere.
I'm not going to bother analyzing their other offerings. Nothing really bad here, it's just that for quantities of this much I'd expect discount pricing. The rice idea is good, but buy your toppings and rice elsewhere. On the plus side, I found some information on this site to be of interest, so I'd have to say the site is worth visiting.
ThriveTM Brand Freeze-Dried Food
1 Year Deluxe Food Storage Package - One Person
You get 127 #10 cans of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, 718,985 calories, (approximately 1,969 calories per person per day) for $1,606 delivered. That's 359 days at 2000 cal/day costing $4.47/day. Plus you get a 72" shelf to hold the cans thrown in.
This seems way cheaper than Provident Pantry or Mountain House, and is, but it's not comparable. Although it all comes in cans, it's mostly dry goods, dehydrated, 10-year shelf life grains and legumes that's much cheaper to buy by the bucket. Only seven of the cans are freeze-dried, and these are just freeze-dried carrots, onions, mushrooms, sweet corn, raspberries, and strawberries—not the gourmet entrées the others offer.
Here's what you get: Spaghetti, White Rice, Quick Oats, Cornmeal, White Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Carrot Dices, Potato Chunks, Potato Pearls, Sweet Corn, Mushroom Pieces, Chopped Onions, Tomato Powder, Raspberries, Strawberries, Banana Chips, Apple Slices, Chocolate Drink Mix, Cheese Blend, Instant Milk, Butter Powder, Small White Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Small Red Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Chicken Bouillon, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Iodized Salt, and White Sugar.
This package is called "Deluxe" but it's really "Basic" foods, so minus one for deceptive labelling. A photo of a years supply of Thrive looks like a years supply of Provident Pantry or Mountain House, but it's what inside the cans that counts. This product line is being sold by Costco and Amazon. It may be okay for what it is, but some people, perhaps many, will see it as a cheap alternative to the real meals—a can of gourmet freeze-dried, 25-year, Chicken a La King is very different from a can of wheat flour or corn meal with a 10-year shelf life. I'm wondering if the company is intentionally marketing a look-alike product knowing they many shoppers will go for the low price without realizing what they're actually buying?
Basic 1 Year Freeze Dried & Dehydrated Food Supply
This is called "Basic," even though it includes more deluxe freeze-dried foods, because it is based on a 1243 calories/day—your basic starvation diet.
You get 102 #10 cans of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, 453,560 calories, (1,243 calories per person per day) for $2,016 delivered. That's 226 days at 2000 cal/day costing $8.20/day.
Here's what you get: 6 Grain Pancake Mix, 9 Grain Cracked Cereal, Cornmeal, White Flour, Germade, Quick Oats, White Rice, Hard White Winter Wheat. You get freeze-dried vegetables and fruits: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Green Peas, Potato Chunks, Chopped Spinach, Green Beans, Sliced Bananas, Blackberries, Mangos, Peach Slices, Raspberries, and Strawberries. Plus: Chocolate Drink Mix, Powdered Milk, Instant Milk, Whole Egg Powder, and freeze-dried Chopped Chicken, Diced Ham, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Diced Turkey, Ground Beef, Roast Beef, and Sausage Crumbles. Plus flavored sugar—lots of it: Apple Drink, Orange Drink, Brown Sugar, White Sugar, Powdered Sugar, and Iodized Salt. In this package you get entrées (just-add-water meal mixes that are ready in 10 minutes!): Vegetable Risotto, Cheesy Potatoes with Chives, Beefy Chili with Beans, Rice with Sweet Pepper Beef Steak, Creamy Tomato Pasta with Chicken, Dijon Chicken and Rice, Curry Rice with Chicken, Baked Potato Cheese Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup.
So you pay more and you get more. What you want to do is compare other package deals in the $8-$9/day range to see which one you like best. Individual preferences come into play. At best you're getting what you're paying for. It's not a bad deal, not a great one. I don't care for the misleading marketing (e.g. they call their #10 cans "one gallon sized" instead of telling the truth—that they're closer to 4/5 gallon sized), but I might try some "Thrive" products if on sale just because they're different and for comparison with the alternative offerings.
This business has been around over 50 years. Lots of a la carte foods. The Web site is primitive. I finally found 1-year kits under Shop/Rainy Day Foods. They have several kits, and prices look good until you go to checkout and they add on a couple of hundred for S/H. I used Arizona for the destination in figuring the following—they're in Idaho.
1 Year Basic Food Supply
You get: 13-6 Gal buckets, 6-#10 Cans, and 5 #2.5 Cans, that comes to 2225 Calories and 94 Grams of protein per day for one year for $587.50 + $218.58 shipping + $26 handling, or $832.08 delivered.
This is basic fare: 13-6 Gal Super Pail Buckets:
3- Hard Red Wheat,
2-Hard White Wheat,
1-Small White Beans,
1-Quick Rolled Oats, plus 6-#10 Cans:
1 can Shortening Powder,
1 can Baking Soda,
1 can Baking Powder,
1 can Iodized Salt,
2 cans Sugar, plus 5 #2.5 Cans and Misc.:
1 can Beef Bouillon,
1 can Chicken Bouillon,
3 Pkg Yeast, and
1 Lid Remover.
Adjusting to our 2000 calorie/day standard, this comes to $748/person/year or $2.05/day. This is comparable to similar offerings and if you happen to live in Idaho, this could be your best deal.
1 Year Supply-Standard Food Storage Unit For One
This package gives you 12 cases of dehydrated basic can goods (not the freeze-dried gourmet stuff), but it's figured on 1104 calories/day starvation rations. Cost is $883.35 + $188.02 shipping (AZ) + 0 handling, or $1,071 delivered. Adjusted to 2000 cal/day, that's $1940/year or $5.32/day. This is does not compare well with other offerings even if you do live in Idaho.
1 Year Supply-Deluxe 1 Yr Food Storage Unit
This is a more varied offering of canned dry goods with nine 6-gal buckets of grain/beans added. You get 2830 cal/day for $1,241.35 + $280.67 + $18 handling. I told them I lived on the East coast and shipping came to $446. But just to play nice, let's adjust to 2000 cal/day shipped to Arizona. That comes to $1,088/year or $2.98/day. Keep in mind that this is all pretty basic food stuff, but even with s/h the price is good even if you don't live in Idaho. You'll need to compare with other similar offerings and factor in the s/h to see if this is your best deal, but it should be considered a contender.
The Internet Grocer
The best prices on storable foods are claimed. The site also offers information and advice on food preparedness, so give it a look. They are in Dallas and invite customer's to pick up and save shipping, so if you live in Texas, give this retailer of various brands and types of storable foods consideration.
1 Year Standard Food Supply
This looks like the Walton Feeds Standard Unit but without the small cans for $925 you-pick-up or $1,150 delivered to any of the 48 states. At least they admit this package needs to be added to (unlike Walton Feeds), and suggest adding 300 lbs. of wheat and 100 lbs. of beans to it to provide 2,950 calories and 76 grams protein per day. Also stock up on: "Plain Salt,
Herbs and Spices that you like and use,
Other Flavored Extracts that you like,
Apple Cider Vinegar,
Ketchup (or Catsup),
Sweet and Sour Sauce,
Any Hot Sauces you like and use, and
Fish Sauce, if you like and use it." This is a good list, and I like the added info this seller provides.
1 Year Food Supply for 2
This is 32 cases, 186 #10 cans and 12 #2.5 cans, of dehydrated food for $2,999.90 delivered. No calorie count is provided, but what you're getting is a 15% discount off the a la carte price. Can't really tell, but for basic foods in cans this offering is a bit on the high price side.
Three Months Supply for Four
This is a mix of dehydrated and freeze-dried food in 168 #10 cans for $2,999.90 delivered, $2700 if you pick it up. You are invited to compare with the competition's Premium 2000 Calorie, 1 Year Supply of Food "costing $3,375!" I did, and the competition's price is $2,612 delivered. Oops. So even if you live in Dallas, ordering from the competition would be cheaper.
Ready Reserve Foods, Inc.
This is a Southern California supplier in business for over 37 years. They do Vacuum-Nitrogen canning using quality stuff and have been around long enough to actually test the storage life of their products.
Deluxe One Year Reserve
This is 100 #10 cans of dehydrated foods (not gourmet freeze-dried foods), 480 pounds shipping wt., for $1,399. No mention of calories, so I can't do much to compare. Still, you're paying $14/can average. Compared to similar offerings that average $10.41/can and this doesn't look like your best buy. Still, "quality" may count. You can order a sample pack from various sellers you are considering before placing a big order.
This is a seller of Provident Provisions brand packages also going by the Harvest Pack name. The 1-Year Harvest Deluxe Pack goes for $1,749, but can be had elsewhere (Survival Acres) for $1,445, so not an impressive discount. I think I'll shop elsewhere.
The Ready Store
This is "Where America Goes To Get Ready." It offers a mix of Saratoga Farms™ and Mountain House™ freeze dried #10 cans of foods, 430 pounds, 138 cans, one-year at 1700 cal/day for $3500 delivered. Adjusting to 2000 cal/day, that's 310 days at $11.29/day.
Although all contents are said to be freeze-dried, many are not gourmet fare: 30 cans are drink mix, meaning mostly sugar, 9 cans of crackers, 6 cans are instant rice, 18 are vegetables; only 45 cans are lunch/dinner entrées. So you gotta look at the details.
This is another slick Web site set up to sell, sell, sell without really trying too hard to be competitive. Prices are not outrageous, there's an adequate amount of information, certainly not a scam site, but you might want to shop around some.
Emermgency Preparedness Center
This is another retailer of preparedness products, but they do give you a 46-page how-to-book they wrote with your purchase. I picked one product, the 120 can 1-Year Deluxe Harvest Pack for comparison. They want $1,500 which is close to the best price you'll find, so this site looks like a contender. You can even get a 7.2 year (their 10-year pack at 1442 cal/day), 2000 cal/day Harvest Pack for $9,200, a mere $3.50/day,
Another comparison: their Platinum Reserve Food Unit goes for $3,395. You could save $20 by shopping around, but definitely competitive. They have a large warehouse and carry many products, so I'd say shop this site, but also shop around. They do offer a Low Price Guarantee, so after shopping around, call and say, "Hey, so-and-so has the same product for..." and you should get a price match.
A retailer of emergency preparedness kits and supplies. Their food packages are the Provident Provider/Harvest Pack ones. The 120 can 1-Year Deluxe Harvest Pack sells for $1,795, about $300 more than the competition, so not a discount seller. They falsely give the suggested retail price as $2,200 when the manufacturer says it is $1,899. I can only assume deception is commonplace on this site.
Seller of survival and preparedness products. Some interesting stuff and prices are competitive. They had the lowest price of anyone for the Wise Foods 36 bucket 1-year food supply package and Mayday Food Bars by the case.
This site (eFoods Global aka Sundance Global, a Utah based company) came to my attention as it was being advertized on Craig's List. It turns out to be another multilevel marketing scheme. Affiliates host their own copy of the Web site and can offer slightly lower prices than the main company site (from which you cannot order). Packages are sold by ill-defined "servings," which is a red flag to me. Also affiliate sites can have different product descriptions than the main site, which is concerning.
On the plus side, they have been selling dried foods for going on 30 years, so it's not a complete scam. For $10 you can order a sample pack, so the food itself is probably okay.
You can get their "Essentials Pack" featuring 380 servings for "less than $0.91 per serving!"
But how much is that per day for 2000 calories? They don't bother telling you—another bad sign, as you'll have to look up each item and crunch the numbers to find out what they apparently don't want you to know. The overly slick Web site and excessively fancy packaging can also be a bad sign.
So, as a public service, I've crunched the numbers and here's what you get for $372.56 ($340+ $32 s/h): 62,300 calories (they omitted info about their whey and instant potatoes, so I had to guess and may be a few calories off—I've emailed for the missing info but no reply yet). That's about 31 days food for one 2000 cal/day person who is paying $12/day or $4,385 for a year's supply. They claim a 15-year shelf life, significantly lower than similar products.
This product is priced at over twice what it's worth, so shop elsewhere.
This site features the Provident Pantry line of food storage options and at a good price. The Traditional 2000 Calorie 1-Year Food Supply is $1288 delivered, while the Gourmet version is $3740, making these best buys.
They also sell numerous other disaster supplies. Definitely a site to shop.
I will review other sites as I discover them. Suggestions welcomed.
Have fun prepping,
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