Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Prepare: Long Term Food Storage Suppliers

There are several great vendors online for Long Term Storage (LTS) food. We know about Honeyville and Emergency Essentials, but there are more coming online every month. I can guess what that is happening; the economy is the driving factor as well as the possibility of disaster or war. Stocking up on food makes sense.

LTS food companies offer something better than the selection of canned goods at your local grocer - food which is packaged and designed to stay edible (key point) for 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years. (If the value of this concept is lost on you, read the book "The Road" and get back to me).

Long term storage food comes from vendors in different ways. Let's examine first what this means.

Freeze dried - food is freeze dried in its present state and packed into vacuum sealed bags or cans. The food is roughly the same size and shape it would be with water so it is a bit larger than dehydrated food. To prepare, hot water is added to the container or with the food in a pot.

Dehydrated food - moisture content is removed making the overall size of the food smaller and weighing less. Food can be rehydrated with room temperature or hot water.

Standard - Without having an official term, standard designates food which is stored and shipped in its standard format. For instance, sugar, powdered milk, honey, and cooking oils are packaged in sealed cans and shipped. No preparation is needed to bring standard food ready for use.

Long term storage food companies typical sell their wares in standard configurations:

Short term supply - a weekend or three day supply of food designed with backpackers or bug out bag use in mind. Cooking staples like sugar or wheat are not part of the configuration, but 3 meals, either freeze dried or dehydrated, consisting of soup, stew and snacks make up the order.

One month supply - Generally, this will be a combination of large cans called "number ten" cans containing dehydrated foods and a few staples like powdered milk and eggs. The order is shipped with a fixed number of meals in mind equaling 3 meals a day for 30 days plus some extra for snacks.

Six month - one year supply - these are heavy orders consisting of mulitple cans of pre-mixed meals (like soup, stew, etc) in their dehydrated or freeze dried format, along with buckets of wheat, powdered milk, honey, sugar, cooking oil, drink mixes and dried fruits and vegetables.

Remember! Most products advertised as one month/year supply are for ONE PERSON. If there are multiple people in the household, it is advised to order more than one of each product.

Also, many of the same supplies are designed for ONE ADULT. Some orders are enough for two children for instance.

Finally, watch some LTS suppliers as a multi month food supply will often contain an inordinate amount of sugar or wheat. If this is what you want, then great, but first time buyers will do best to examine what is being shipped carefully.

For awhile, I have been advertising Mountain House Food here on the blog. It is the "grand daddy" of stored food and is sold in popular retail outlets like Walmart, albeit it, in much smaller quantities.

Mountain House is great because it comes in courses and meals most people are familiar with; spaghetti, beef stew, etc. as well as sides like rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit and tasty desserts. The One Year Ultimate Pak is enough food for ONE ADULT PERSON for one year or a FAMILY OF FOUR for three months.

eFoodsDirect is a brand new company I am excited about. They have a very well laid out and informative website and great prices on dehydrated foods.

Their Freedom and Liberty one year food supply lines are very affordable for a one year supply of food and offer a great selection of staples and meals for long term storage. The products are divided into staples such as wheat, fruit, protein and vegetables as well as quick meals like soups and stews. This provides a great selection to avoid appetite fatigue experts warn many may face with a constant diet of oil, wheat, powdered milk and honey.

Like Nitro Pak, eFoodsdirect has long term supplies are well as short term kits for a weekend or week - perfect for the bug out bag or vehicle.

I saw Wise Foods at a recent gun show and had the opportunity to sample some of their products - Yummo! Wise Foods are designed for a 25 year shelf life and their packaging is unique as well.

Most LTS foods come in number ten (5/6 gallon) sealed cans similar to the ones found in restaurants with salsa or cheese sauce. While this is an excellent way to store LTS foods, the drawback is when the big can of freeze dried beef stew is opened, it is best to keep preparing beef stew until the can is finished. That way there will be no waste.

Wise instead packs their food into four adult servings in vacuum packed bags. Further, they pack these meal portions into square buckets which they claim store easier and take less room that cardboard boxes of number ten cans.

Wise offers their foods in multiple month (one month, two and so on up to one year) and says that each order will be enough to feed a family of four adults OR two adults and two to four children depending upon the size ordered and age of children.

I recommend that anyone interested in these companies first order a three day sample and see if they work for you and your family before dropping a couple of grand on a one year supply.

There are other options out there as well. If on a budget, use an online food calculator and determine how much wheat, dairy, produce and protein your family will need and start obtaining it piecemeal. Store your purchases in five gallon buckets which can be obtained from a local source, sometimes for free.

For instance, I purchased at the beginning of this year, 400lbs of rice, 100lbs of dried beans and 100lbs of pasta. I put all of these in five gallon buckets and placed them in the pantry. Next, I purchased several cases of canned fruit, vegetables and meats like tuna, chicken and soups. It is a basic system, but it is better than nothing.


- there are many Long Term Storage food suppliers out there and more coming onling regularly.
- before ordering, understand how much food comes in a supply and how many people, adults AND/OR children it will feed.
- watch out for suppliers which overload an order with wheat, sugar and other staples which may lead to appetite fatigue and limited cooking options.

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