There are lots of different food storage companies out there. How do you compare the food storage options apples to apples?
I recently overheard a friend say that it didn't matter where you got your food storage - it was all the same. Wow! I didn't say anything at the time but I have to respectively disagree. We’ve collected a few tips that you can use but also collected some tips that food storage companies use to try and trick people when comparing food storage supply kits.
Calories per day
One of the best ways to compare food storage is by comparing how nutritious your food storage is. After all, that's the whole point of food storage - keeping you healthy and running in a stitch. The average person needs between 1,300 and 2,400 calories per day to maintain health. Children usually need between 1,000 - 2,000 calories per day.
|How many calories do I need?|
Children (ages 2 - 13)
Female Adult (ages 14 +)
Male Adult (ages 14 +)
1,000 - 2,200
1,800 - 2,400
2,200 - 3,000
If a company doesn’t advertise how many calories are in their food storage items, it’s probably because it’s not very flattering. You'll also see companies make it very difficulty to find nutritional information about products on their websites. We have seen a variety of companies that sell kits with calorie counts as low as 500 calories per day! That’s the equivalent of eating a single Big Mac from McDonalds for your one meal a day!
Other companies will try and stuff their long-term kits with filler calories like sugary drink mixes or crackers in order to bump up the calorie count. Be sure that you get a variety of foods in your kit so it will be worth eating when the time comes. Some products on the market only come with 10 meals. Imagine eating just those 10 meals over the course of a year - that would get old pretty quickly.
Dehydrated vs Freeze-dried
Many times, companies will compare a kit of dehydrated foods with a kit full of freeze-dried items. This is a little misleading.
Dehydrated items typically have a shelf-life of 10 - 20 years and they typically require some a longer cooking time (increased fuel requirements too).
Freeze-dried foods typically have a longer shelf-life of 20 - 30 years and require less cooking and fuel. Some are great straight from the can like our fruits and veggies.
Don’t be fooled when a company claims a better price when they’re really comparing apples and oranges.
The Ready Store offers dehydrated kits, freeze-dried kits, or mixes of both.
Most companies are hesitant to share where their food is grown. Be sure that your food is coming from a reputable place and that the company isn’t cutting corners by purchasing food from cut-rate growers from locations of the world with bad track records of safety and quality.
Your food storage will typically come in three different types of packaging: pouches, #10 cans, or buckets.
Mylar pouches. Most meals inside of a mylar bag pouch will last 15 - 25 years.
#10 cans. Food inside of #10 cans will typically have a shelf-life of 10 - 30 years depending on whether the food is dehydrated or freeze-dried. Make sure that your cans are sealed correctly. Read our post about what to look for with #10 can sealings.
Buckets. When purchasing a bucket of food storage, your best option is to have the food come inside of an air-tight bucket with a Mylar bag inside that bucket.
Oxygen absorbers. It’s important to have an oxygen absorber inside of your bag or can. Make sure that the absorber is high quality and will help preserve your food. Some companies advertise that they will flush the food with nitrogen before they package it. An oxygen absorber will work better.
What the nitrogen flushing companies aren't telling you is that they include an oxygen absorber because in the end that is what works best. Companies, like Oregon Freeze Dry - parent company of Mountain House, that have been in the business for almost ½ a century, have dropped nitrogen flushing altogether for 02 absorbers because they get the job done.
Shipping & additional costs
While many companies have comparable prices, don’t forget about the shipping costs. They need to be added into your overall purchase price. Some companies require tax to be paid on all orders. With The Ready Store, only customers from the Beehive State are required to pay sales tax.
Bad Apples: What NOT to look for when comparing food storage
While there are many things that you should look for in a food storage supply, there are also many things you don’t need to worry yourself about. Here are a few examples:
Number of cans
The number of cans in a food storage kit can be misleading. How much do they fill each can? What are the cans full of?
If you’re getting as much nutrition and food out of less cans, then you’re not losing anything besides storage space.
Saratoga Farms fills their cans and buckets, on average, 20-30 percent more than other competitor’s brands. This saves you precious storage space.
A lot of companies that skimp on the amount of food in their kits will typically highlight their serving count instead (like we mentioned above). Even when you’re comparing serving counts, be careful. Some servings vary by size (1 cup vs ⅓ cup) or preparation (dry serving vs prepared serving).
Weight of the kit
Freeze-dried foods weigh considerably less than dehydrated foods. A kit that has a lot of dehydrated foods will weigh more but have a shorter shelf-life.
More than anything, supply kit weight should only be considered when determining shipping costs. However, not all companies charge by weight.
What questions do you have?
We try really hard to provide you with a quality product that you and your family will enjoy. We also want to help you understand your purchase and be as transparent as possible. If you have any questions, please let us know and we’ll try and answer it!
We also want to know your tips! Share below what things you have found helpful when comparing food storage supply kits.