When it comes to stocking up on emergency food, you want to be prepared for the unexpected. We’re all familiar with stories of people who found themselves in trouble because they waited until the last minute to head to the grocery store before a hurricane or global pandemic hit their cities. The shelves are emptied of all the essentials – toilet paper, bread, canned goods, and more.
You know the importance of having shelf-stable food ready and available for possible emergencies. Even FEMA says, “Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.”
However, it is much wiser to have a stock of emergency food that will last for more than 72 hours, or three days. History has shown that when disaster strikes, it is much longer than three days before things go back to normal. Depending on the situation, you could be without access to a grocery store for significantly longer.
Since you will likely be stocking up on emergency food to last you weeks or months at a time, you will need to be even more careful about what you are buying.
For example, you want to prepare for something that may happen 5 to 10 years down the road. In this case, what is the point of buying a bunch of grocery store food that will expire in two years? That’s a waste of your hard-earned money.
The Difference between Long-Term and Short-Term Emergency Food
For the average citizen, stocking up on emergency supplies includes a trip to the local grocery or big-box store. This makes sense if you’re only looking for 72 hours’ worth of food. Three days’ worth of food is not that much, which means it is easier to store and afford.
Essentially, a short-term food supply consists of foods that you already eat and can eat in an emergency. Think peanut butter, pasta, and spaghetti sauce. It’s food that tends to be rotated about every three months. Given that disasters can occur at any time, it’s wise to have these types of short-term emergency foods stocked regularly.
However, there is a big difference between a three-day supply of peanut butter and long-term emergency food storage. When stocking up on long-term emergency food, you are preparing for a major disaster that could prevent you from getting any new food for months—events that force citizens to go into survival mode.
You won’t be rotating your long-term food supply like a short-term food supply. You will buy it, shelve it, and, hopefully, forget about it until the day comes when you are forced to use it.
Long-term food supplies are just as important as short-term supplies. However, since the goal is for them to last for a very long time and keep you and your loved ones fed in a survival situation, it is necessary and important to shop for the best quality emergency food products.
Hence the need to compare true emergency food supplies to those at a grocery store.
Even in an emergency, you’ll need your morning cup of joe. Coffee gives you the burst of energy you need to get moving each day, so don’t neglect it when you are stocking your shelves. However, here are some things to keep in mind while shopping for survival coffee.
Grocery store coffee will typically last a little over a year, per the stated shelf life.
The coffee above is a great comparison because it is a popular choice. This is mainly because of its low cost (about three cents a serving). Many people use this exact coffee for long-term storage, but may want to reconsider.
The reason is simple. Like most grocery store coffee, it has an unopened shelf life of 15 months from the production date, as stated on the bottom of the packaging. Once opened, the coffee will begin losing its flavor and freshness within a matter of weeks.
So, while it is budget-friendly, it may be a waste of money if you aren’t able to store it for long periods as intended.
Coffee treated and packaged for shelf life, like Franklin’s Finest, can stay tasty and fresh for up to 30 years.
In contrast, our Franklin's Finest Survival Coffee is designed for long-term food survival.
Unlike the grocery store brands, Franklin’s Finest lasts 30 years unopened, if stored in proper conditions. This is because it is packaged exceptionally well.
The ground coffee comes stored inside sealed pouches that are placed in a long-term food bucket, so even if you open one pouch, there are still more that will last for many years. It is priced around 12 cents a serving, but it actually saves you money in the long run, since you won't have to replace it for decades.
Powdered Coffee Creamer
If you like your coffee with creamer, you’ll want to add it to your long-term emergency food supply. Similar to coffee, the upfront cost of creamer will be cheaper at a grocery store than from an emergency food supplier. However, compare the differences to make a wise decision.
Packaging makes a HUGE difference when it comes to shelf life, and very few grocery store foods (like this creamer) are packed in materials that protect and last.
For comparison, you can get a coffee creamer from a major big-box store in a standard plastic container with about 500 servings. Above we show a particularly popular brand in just that amount.
That sounds great until you get into the details. This type of powdered coffee creamer contains corn syrup. Plus, it is packaged in plastic that will not hold up against harsh conditions or rodents.
Creamer from Ready Hour comes packaged in a #10 can which is water, light, and pest proof. It protects food and lasts for decades.
In contrast, Ready Hour Coffee Creamer comes packaged in a #10 can (which has a variety of survival uses) and has more than 500 servings. As a result of the #10 can and the included oxygen absorber, it can last unopened for 20 years! In addition to adding creamy flavor to your hot beverages, this powdered coffee creamer can also be used for baking.
Another popular long-term food item is pancake mix.
Again, you can find a pancake mix at a grocery store that costs less up front, but what’s the point if you wind up having to throw it out when it goes bad? In the long run, rotating the pancake mix out of your food supply and replacing it will cost much more.
Let’s look at the differences.
This popular brand of pancakes is another example of a common emergency food that has to be rotated out every year or two. The cost adds up quickly!
Here’s a very popular pancake brand sold at most grocery stores in America. It is simply packed in a plastic bag (a big problem for long-term food storage). Moreover, according to the manufacturer, the pancake mix only has a shelf life of 548 days, or approximately one-and-a-half years.
Pancakes from a dedicated emergency supply company like Ready Hour are every bit as tasty as the grocery store variety, but you only have to buy them once.
In comparison, Ready Hour Buttermilk Pancake Mix Case Pack is sold as a set of five airtight, sealed packages, which last for 30 years unopened. Each package has 10 servings for a total of 50 servings total. This grab-and-go option is convenient for emergencies.
You can open one package, after which it will last for about a year. In the meantime, the remaining packages will continue to stay shelf-stable until the next time you need to open one.
Dry Beans and Rice
Even though these beans are nonperishable, the poor packaging will let in moisture and pests in very little time.
Protein is a must-have for your long-term emergency food supply. While you can find dried beans at any grocery store, it may be more convenient and long-lasting to purchase them from an emergency food supplier.
Traditional bags of black beans, pinto beans, and rice are nonperishable. However, when purchased from a store, they come in simple plastic bags. These bags have little to no protection against the elements, pests, or rodents. This means you must prep the beans yourself to make sure they last for a long time, such as repackaging them and then purchasing #10 cans or emergency food buckets.
Moreover, when the time comes to cook the beans and rice, you will have to go through the entire cooking process (cleaning, soaking, and cooking) before you can enjoy them.
Not only are Ready Hour beans and rice better protected from the elements, they also take a fraction of the time to prepare.
In contrast, the Ready Hour Beans Trio & Rice Kit is much more convenient. All the prep is already done for you.
The beans and rice are prepared for packaging using a low-heat dehydration method, which locks in flavor and high-nutritional value. Additionally, each bean variety as well as rice is individually sealed in our heavy-duty, four-layer packaging and placed in a food bucket with oxygen absorbers to ensure their freshness for up to 30 years (unopened).
Fresh produce will be a luxury in an emergency – unless you stock up on freeze-dried fruits. Freeze-dried fruits include the essential nutrients you need to survive. The problem is that not all freeze-dried produce is of the same quality.
Most freeze-dried fruit at the grocery store lacks an oxygen absorber.
For example, many of the freeze-dried fruits you can purchase at a grocery store are not packaged in a way that will keep the foods safe from spoiling over time. These grocery stores' freeze-dried fruits are packaged in simple sealed pouches.
However, freeze-dried fruits need oxygen absorbers, which are not included in the sealed packages in grocery stores. For this reason, most grocery store freeze-dried fruit has a short shelf life of approximately one year or less.
Ready Hour fruit, like most Ready Hour foods, are packed with double the amount of oxygen absorbers required, ensuring long shelf life.
In comparison, the Ready Hour Fruit Case Pack Kit, which comes with oxygen absorbers in each sealed fruit pack, has a shelf life of up to 25 years unopened.
Plus, you don’t have to open it all at once. The individually sealed packages allow you to open one fruit at a time and use it as needed. The opened and resealed packages can last for up to one year.
Shop for emergency food wisely, friends.
Elizabeth AndersonPreparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply