Emergency foods come in a few different varieties, but they all serve the same basic purpose. Whether you have used emergency foods in the past or are interested in starting an emergency cache of survival food for yourself, there is plenty to consider. While the cost of the food kits themselves is one thing, you need to also think about how and where they will be stored, how often you realistically plan on making use of them, and how many people are going to be using the emergency meals if and when the time presents itself.
For people just starting out, it is easy to overlook many of the hidden costs associated with adequately being prepared with survival foods. The purpose of this piece is to leave no pebble unturned, and to brief you on all that should be considered prior to ever buying even an emergency food kit.
Getting Started with Emergency Food
If you are interested in putting together a cache of survival foods, the first thing you need to determine is just how much money you are willing to spend. Naturally, by figuring out your budget you are also, in a way, determining how much food you would like to buy. For people who know very little about preparing a supply of emergency food, the thought of purchasing a large quantity of meals is something that immediately raises worries related to the cost of such a purchase.
This is a legitimate fear, but you must also understand that the amount of money you are going to pay for emergency foods is something determined by you and only you. While you can definitely shell out thousands of dollars to complete a food cache, an adequate supply of emergency food can be purchased for as little as $50.
Our Wise 72-hour emergency food kit retails for $49.99 and is just one of many meal options. While this is one of our more inexpensive meal kits, our 2880 Serving Wise Breakfast and Entrée Meal Kit will cost you just under $5,000. This is a very clear example of how you can spend as little or as much as you would like. When it comes down to it, however, the larger the quantity of food, the more money you are going to spend.
Length of Storage and Associated Costs
Something else to consider is how often you plan on making use of emergency food kits and the costs associated with that. If you are a prepper who is attempting to create a food cache to be used only in the event of an emergency, your tactics for what you buy and how much will be different than the avid hiker who likes to have emergency meal kits on hand to be used whenever they make their next wilderness trek.
If you are buying meals that will only be used in the event of some unforeseen emergency or natural disaster-type situation, shelf-life is something that you should pay close attention to. If you refer to yourself as a prepper and are looking to fill a cache that is meant to last for an extended period of time, you will more than likely want to purchase freeze-dried meals as opposed to MREs. The simple reasoning behind this suggestion is that freeze-dried meals have a shelf-life of up to 20 years and sometimes longer while MREs tend to have a shelf-life that does not extend too far beyond 5 years.
So, if you are a prepper and do not plan on using your MREs within 5 years, they will need to be either eaten or thrown out and replaced. With freeze-dried meals, on the other hand, you can throw them on a shelf and forget about them for up to 25 years and sometimes longer.
Survival Food Variety and Supplies
While differentiating between MREs and freeze-dried meals is important, the variety of emergency foods extends far beyond that. There are emergency food bars, which are basically nutrient-packed bars the size of a standard granola bar, and they can replace meals just as easily as MREs and freeze-dried food. The drawback, however, is that these bars are just as perishable as MREs, meaning that they will need to be replaced every 5 years, and sometimes sooner than that.
We also stock purified water emergency supplies, such as the 12-pack of emergency water pouches, and these too cannot sit on a shelf for decades at a time. A 5-year shelf-life is standard f or these products, which means that they must either be used or replaced within a half-decade or purchasing. Paying attention to the shelf-life of a given product is imperative, because without that knowledge you may be pressed to utilize an expired emergency food kit when the situation presents itself. And if this happens, you may be doing more harm than good.
Survival Food Brand Comparison
As you probably could have guessed, there is no single brand producing MREs, freeze-dried meals, or any of our other emergency food kits. We carry products produced by a few different companies, but most emergency kits are made with Numanna, Mountain House, or Wise products.
Before going any further, it must be said that Mountain House is amongst the most expensive in the industry. This is mostly due to the fact that Mountain House is one of the longest-standing producers of emergency foods and because of this they tend to have higher retail prices than items produced by other companies. Their products are meant more for hiking, camping and the outdoors than they are for emergencies, but do have some crossover value.
Generally, when it comes to emergency specific foods however, we stock Numanna and Wise products. Both of these companies produce high quality emergency foods, but the biggest difference is the fact that Numanna products are non-GMO and gluten free whereas Wise products are generally not. Simply put, Numanna products tend to be more expensive than Wise, and this is mostly due to their adherence to gluten/GMO-free ingredients.
No matter whether you are buying Numanna or Wise products, the most cost-efficient way to buy emergency foods is to do so in bulk. When you purchase bulk quantities of emergency foods the cost, per item, is less than buying the same food kits individually. This, of course, is only an option so long as you have the funds available to buy what can be considered a bulk quantity of food.