Monday, June 01, 2009

Prepare: Costco Emergency Food Kit

I shop at Costco monthly and it has to be one of my favorite stores. If you are into preparing for the worse, Costco gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when you see all those stacks of canned goods, big bags of rice and multipacks of batteries.

For a review of Long Term Storage (LTS) food companies, click here

I have not seen this particular product at my Costco and I think I know the reason. We don't have hurricanes or earthquakes where I live and this product probably would not appeal to many who shop at my Costco - or so the management thinks. I believe they would be a big seller because so many unprepared people want to do "something".

So what is the Emergency Food Kit? Actually, it is a "Food for Health Emergency Food Kit" as Costco markets it. Inside the weatherproof bucket are 270 servings of food. Like what you ask?

# 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

This sounds good, right? The only complaints I have seen online have come from people who have not purchased the actual product. Rather, they either read about it online or examined the product at the store. Reviews from buyers however, say plenty of good things about the food.

The Emergency Food Kit says it has a shelf life of 20 years when stored at optimal temperatures. This puts it along the same lines as Mountain House or Military meals.

The meal sizes are small (1 cup dry) and the calories are low. Most of the dishes have about 140 calories per serving with the pancakes having the highest caloric value of 220 calories. Please note that the product claim is 275 "servings" not days worth of food or even meals, but simply a serving. If you have a family, you know that growing child can eat two or more servings of a dish at a meal. Keep that in mind for reference with the Emergency Food Kit.

Buyers say the food quality is actually very good. Like most survival foods, they say the sodium content is higher than normal foods they eat, but that they enjoyed most of the food selections.

Also, with most long term storage foods, be aware of appetite fatigue. Buyers say the Emergency Food Kit combined with other long term storage foods would make a good meal plan.

Others suggest that buyers purchase multiple food kits rather than a single bucket for a family. Also, be warned that the food must be stored at a constant temperature. I would not store this in the back of the car during the summer for instance. Exposure to extreme temperatures lowers the shelf life of the food and may cause it to become inedible.

What is funny, is the manufacturers of the Food Kit or Costco have not suggested that the bucket can be reused as a toilet. They must not have had a survivalist designing the product.

How about cost? Costco has this bucket of food, with a shelf life of 20 years for the low price of $84.99. That's a good price for some LTS food which may be a good start for a food supply. If anything, the food can be used for camping or hunting trips.

Positives - affordable long term storage foods available at a mainstream retail store. That's pretty good in my book. I just wish they carried it at one of my Costco locations.

For more information about LTS foods, click here

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