Emergency food suppliers were hit hard in 2020, and many haven’t been the same since. Find out which emergency food companies still provide the best emergency food supply at a great price, and which ones are cutting corners in this seller’s market.
Emergency food suppliers sold out in 2020 as people quickly filled their pantries with shelf-stable food stores. Since then, threats from international conflicts, global supply chain issues, and inflation are still front and center.
More people than ever are seeing the wisdom in having an emergency food supply, and some suppliers have reacted to the high demand by changing their recipes, package sizes, and offerings, some for the better and some not.
In 2022, sellers of emergency food emergency food supply still incredibly high, and emergency food suppliers know that they’re operating in a sellers market. Demand is
Now in 2022, the world is still an uncertain place, and threats from international conflicts, the global supply chain, and inflation are still front and center. More people than ever are seeing the wisdom in having an emergency food supply.
Beyond that, new emergency food suppliers joined the market to meet the ever-increasing demand.
Some of the best emergency food suppliers really stepped up to the plate, increased production, and even added new high-quality products. Others cut corners, reduced package sizes, and doubled down on starch heavy low nutrient foods that are inexpensive to produce (but still sell for high prices).
I’ve tried food from each and every emergency food company, both before and after the big shakeup that happened in 2020, and I’ll help you stock up with companies still consistently producing the highest quality food for a reasonable price.
I cover them all individually in detail, but if you’re looking for the quick version:
- Best Emergency Food Company: Valley Food Storage
- Best Nutrient Dense Emergency Food: Nutrient Survival
- Best Budget Emergency Food Kits: My Patriot Supply
- Best Emergency Pantry Ingredient Supplier: Emergency Essentials
- Best Easy to Prepare (Single Serving) Emergency Food: Mountain House
Best Emergency Food Company
In my opinion, and based on trying food from just about every company out there, the absolute best emergency food supplier is Valley Food Storage. Their products are high quality, taste great, and have convenient packaging.
Throughout 2020 and into 2021 they’ve maintained high quality, and even increased product offerings (like freeze-dried blackberries).
For a short time in spring 2020, they experienced backorders but they quickly increased production, and now most orders ship the same day.
I’ve done blind taste tests with friends and family, comparing their freeze-dried fruit head to head with other competitors and the flavor of their products stands out every time.
For prepared meals, I especially like their unique options, which will help break up the monotony of eating freeze-dried emergency meals. Flavors like Sweet and Sour Asian Rice keep things interesting.
Their Mango Habenero Chili is a favorite of mine, not too spicy, but just enough sweet heat to bring you back for more.
Of course, they do of course have many of the same options as competitors, namely comfort foods like fettuccini alfredo and maple oatmeal.
At this point, their buckets make up the bulk of my freeze-dried emergency food storage. The buckets stack beautifully, and since they’re square they store more compactly than regular round 5-gallon buckets.
If you’re looking to order something today for peace of mind, I’d suggest picking up one of their pre-packed emergency food kits.
It includes everything you’ll need to stay well-fed in the next emergency, be that next week, or 25 years from now.
(You can read my full Valley Food Storage Review to learn about each of their meals.)
Best Nutrient Dense Emergency Food
Nutrient Survival came on the market early in 2020 as a new emergency food supplier, and their food was specifically designed to be both nutrient-dense and delicious. Their website makes direct comparisons between their food and other popular emergency food suppliers (like Mountain House), comparing things like vitamins and protein content.
Their food is high in protein and nutrient fortified, and their meals include added Omega 3 fatty acids which are hard to come by in emergency food. Omega fats help the body fight inflammation and deal with stress, and I couldn’t imagine a better time to stock up on nutrients than in an emergency.
Looking at the nutrition label, I was impressed. Somewhere between 25 and 70% of the daily value of most nutrients in a single serving, plus more than 1400 mg of Omega fatty acids. My doctor recommended I take a pricey Fish Oil supplement that costs 50 cents a capsule, and it only delivers 1280 mg.
Not a bad bonus from your emergency food supply…
The downside is that they only offer a few different meals since they’re such a new company.
That said, I’ve tried every single one, and they’re all delicious. (You can read my full Nutrient Survival Review to learn about each one.)
I’d especially recommend:
- Emergency Cookie Meals ~ More like a protein bar, shaped and flavored like a cookie, each of these is a meal in itself. My kids love them, and they actually prefer them to regular cookies and ask for them at dessert time.
- Homestyle Scramble ~ A hearty mixture of scrambled eggs, hash browns, peppers, and seasonings, their homestyle scramble is one of my very favorite foods. Not favorite emergency foods…favorite foods. I keep a can in the pantry and use it as a quick meal when I’m on the run, and I’ve got a fully balanced protein-packed meal in minutes.
In 2021 they released single-serve packets of their foods, instead of just the bulk no. 10 cans. Single servings are more convenient but a bit more expensive.
They’re a good choice for single people, or those just trying to keep a few packets in their car, purse, or backpack as an emergency food supply.
A sampler pack with all their popular meals will allow you to try each one before committing to a large stockpile. Each one is just add boiling water and stir, so they’re especially easy to prepare.
Best Budget Emergency Supplies
Let’s face it, emergency food supplies can be expensive. It’s an investment in future food security, but sometimes all you want is a bit of peace of mind without breaking the bank.
The best budget emergency food supply is My Patriot Supply, which costs considerably less than most of the emergency food suppliers on the market.
Why? Their food needs to be cooked for 15 to 20 minutes to prepare, rather than the “instant” just add water options from more expensive suppliers.
The food still tastes great and lasts 25+ years in storage, and contains more than 2,000 calories per person per day. The offerings contain plenty of protein and they do not include sugary drinks to bulk out the calorie numbers.
A long-term food supply from My Patriot Supply costs around $200 for a month’s worth of food for one person. Personally, I’d recommend their Ultimate Preparedness Kit which contains:
- A One Month’s Emergency Food Supply (2,000+ Calories a day)
- Large Capacity Stainless Steel Water Filtration System
- Portable Solar Panel for Charging Devices
- Solo Stove (Rocket stove type, fueled by sticks & twigs)
- Portable Stainless Steel Dishes
I’ve tried each and every one of their meals and they’re all tasty. Not necessarily grandma’s home cooking, but much better than any of the prepared foods you’ll find along grocery store aisles. (You can read my full My Patriot Supply Review to learn about each of their emergency meal kits.)
Best Emergency Pantry Ingredient Supplier
The most economical emergency food supply is one that is just regular food items such as beans, flour, and rice. Keeping a deep pantry will ensure you’re ready for any emergency, provided you have cooking skills (since the meals aren’t pre-packed for you).
Problem is, many of our favorite meals include perishable ingredients that just won’t last inside an emergency food supply. Things like eggs, milk, butter, meat, and cheese will not keep on the pantry shelf in the same way as dry beans and flour.
There are, however, emergency pantry supplies you can purchase that are shelf stable for extended periods and will allow you to mostly use your own stored food. They simply supplement in place of the perishable ingredients.
This includes things like powdered butter, powdered eggs, and powdered milk. Using those ingredients, I created my own just add water pancake mix that I keep in my pantry, along with just add water biscuit mix.
Since few people cook meals from scratch these days, most emergency food suppliers just focus on prepared meals. If you do have cooking skills, the best supplier for filling in the gaps in your home pantry is Emergency Essentials. They have the largest variety of freeze-dried ingredients, and they carry options that you just can’t get at any other provider.
- Cooking and Baking Essentials including butter powder, powdered whole eggs, dry milk powder, and even simple pantry staples like flour and sugar ready packed in pre-sealed no. 10 cans. While it’s definitely more cost-effective to buy and seal those yourself, it’s more convenient to purchase them ready to store in rodent-proof cans.
- Freeze Dried Vegetables make for quick just add water soup, casseroles, or simple side dishes that are shelf-stable for 25+ years and ready to go at a moment’s notice. They’re the only place that has freeze-dried tomato, which is perfect for a quick pantry pizza (topped with freeze-dried mozzarella).
- Ingredient Kits are perfect for people who know how to cook, and they bundle all the shelf-stable freeze-dried emergency food you’d need to create all manner of meals. For example, the Super Stew kit contains beef, tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, corn, and tomato in individual no. 10 cans so you can create a meal using your favorite recipe.
They also carry prepared food from other suppliers. Including meals from My Patriot Supply, the best budget emergency food in my opinion, as well as Mountain House Meals, which are the best easy-to-prepare single-serving emergency food (discussed below).
Add in the fact that they also carry high-quality emergency supplies, and you have just about everything you could need in one spot.
Best Easy To Prepare Emergency Food
Mountain House has been providing freeze-dried emergency food and camping food for decades, but in 2019 and early 2020, they started shifting their focus towards convenience meals. They released a line of instant just-add-water smoothies and other single-serve lunch foods targeted at lunch meals in an office setting.
Long-term food supplies were removed from their website, and they stopped pushing no. 10 cans of food in favor of single-serve just-add-water convenience foods.
They did continue to produce (and promote) camping food but obviously envisioned their future as easy-to-prepare shelf-stable food to keep in your office drawer when you didn’t have time to pop out for lunch.
It makes sense, there are far more people stuck in desk jobs than there are out through hiking the Appalachian Trail or prepping for the next emergency, and they shifted focus to a larger market.
Then then the Kerfuffle of early 2020 happened, instead of shifting back towards emergency supplies they doubled down on camping food, trying to keep backpackers supplied (even though most people were shopping for emergency meals at that point).
Now in 2021, they again have some larger packs of emergency food available, but the ingredients lists have changed, portions have been cut and prices have gone up dramatically.
That said…They are still by far the most convenient emergency food. All their meals are made by just adding hot water directly to the packet and serving. Literally, all you need is boiling water and a spoon, and cold water will work in a pinch too.
I keep a small number of mountain house meals on hand for short-term emergencies (and backyard camping), but it’s just not economical to plan to eat mountain house food for more than a few days.
Good choices include:
- Mountain House Classic Bucket which includes some of their tastiest lunch and dinner meals.
- Mountain House Breakfast Bucket has a selection of breakfast items like scrambled eggs and sausage.
- Mountain House Emergency Meal Kits come in a variety of sizes from 3-day to 14-day kits.
- Mountain House #10 Cans are a good option for larger families, or if you have particular favorites. We love their Granola with Milk and Blueberries, so we keep a few large cans of it on hand.
Other Emergency Food Suppliers
So if those are the best, which are the worst?
I do not recommend emergency food supplies from:
- Wise Food Storage (Readywise)
- Augason Farms
- 4Patriots (different from My Patriot Supply)
I always warn against anything from Ready Wise, and will not support them because of their misleading advertising. In 2019 when I wrote an article on the best survival food kits, and at that point in time, here’s what I had to say about wise food storage:
“While they do sell long-term emergency kits, but if you read the fine print, most only contain about 600 calories per person per day. A “one-month emergency food supply” doesn’t list total calories per day, just that you get 3 servings of food. The problem is, when you look at the individual nutrition labels, a single serving has about 200 calories. Saying 600 calories per day amounts to a 30-day kit is just a balled face lie, and I want nothing to do with a company that would lie to people that blatantly when it comes to their survival.
Their website is intentionally misleading, trying to hide the fact that their kits are short on calories, and they even insinuate that in a real emergency you should be eating 2 servings (ie. 400 calories) a day because who can expect 3 full meals in a crisis.
I don’t expect to be eating like a king, but for the amount of money these kits cost, 400 calories is pretty pathetic.”
They’ve recently rebranded and used to be called Wise Food Storage. They’ve also changed their advertising and labeling, and what used to be a “one-month food supply” is now called a “120 serving bucket,” and they increased the total calories slightly.
I’d call that a slight improvement in that at least they’ve removed the false claims, but their kits still cost 2 to 3 times as much per calorie as emergency food from other reputable companies. They’re still a high-cost, low-value option.
If you assumed that “120 servings” is portioned for a month, then you’d be at roughly 800 calories a day, and the kit costs around $250. A 30-day kit from My Patriot Supply also costs around $250, and includes over 2,000 calories per day. Ready-wise is still a horrible choice in my opinion.
I used to recommend Augason Farms as the true bargain-basement last resort option for emergency food. At that point, they sold a 30-day emergency food bucket with around 1,700 calories per day for about $100. You can’t put a month’s worth of calories in your body for any cheaper than that!
The thing is, the food is pretty horrible, and it’ll keep you alive…but you won’t be happy about it. If you’re just hoping to put something in your back closet for peace of mind, with the thought that you’re never going to have to eat this stuff short of an actual zombie apocalypse, then maybe.
Now in 2021 though, the price has doubled and they sell for a bit over $200 a bucket.
My Patriot Supply sells their 30-day bucket (with over 2,000 calories per day) for right around $250.
The bonus? Their stuff actually tastes good!
If you’re looking for the best budget emergency food, go with My Patriot Supply instead.
(Augason farms also sells pantry ingredients like freeze-dried vegetables and butter powder, and the quality is fine on those. Still, I’d recommend Emergency Essentials for pantry ingredients as their quality is top-notch and the price is better.)
Just about everyone in the preparedness space has seen advertisements for the 4Patriots Emergency Food supply. The thing is, they’re not actually an emergency food company, they’re a marketing company.
They don’t actually make any of the food they sell, but rather just re-package emergency food kits from other suppliers. It tastes fine, largely because they source it from other quality emergency food suppliers, but their packaging is not the best.
Why buy repackaged emergency food from a marketing company that spends a lot on commercials on social media when you can get a better deal, better customer service, and better packaging by going with the manufacturer?
(You can read my full review of 4Patriots Survival Food to learn about each of their kits if you’re still curious.)
While packing away an emergency food supply is a great first line of defense in uncertain times, it’s not the only consideration. Beyond food, I’d also suggest making plans to provide for your families water, energy, medicine, and security.
Water ~ For the longer term, you’ll need to think about filtration, and there’s nothing better than a Berkey filter which works great for tap water now, and river/stream/lake water after an emergency.
Sanitation~ The next consideration once you’ve taken care of food and water. We use a pedal-powered off-grid washing machine, and I’d recommend a composting toilet for waste. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, a bucket camping toilet will get the job done in a pinch, and it’s literally a few dollars.
Energy~ We keep a Jackery portable power bank on hand as a backup, and it’s amazing when the grid’s down. More than just a quick way to charge devices, it also lets us run appliances, cook meals, and stay in touch with the world. When the grid is up you can charge it and then store it until needed. When it’s not, you can charge it with portable solar panels that go with it.
For grid-down cooking, consider investing in a jet boil camping stove and a few fuel canisters for the short term. For longer-term emergencies, Biolite makes a camp stove that will burn random sticks and twigs from the yard, and generates electricity from the waste heat during cooking.
Medicine~ Most people already have a first aid kit on hand, but if you don’t, now’s the time to invest in one, be it a small everyday carry kit, car emergency kit, or a fully stocked backwoods medical backpack. A little bit of antiseptic can be absolutely life-saving, and it’s inexpensive to buy ahead of time.
Beyond first aid, basic medications are essential. Most of the causes of death 100 years ago are now readily prevented with antibiotics, but what happens if you can’t get to the emergency room? There is one company that prescribes emergency antibiotics for anyone hoping to prepare in advance. A single kit comes with a full course of the five most common types of antibiotics, as well as a book explaining their use.
Security~ Regardless of the emergency, you’d most likely be better off with one of these in your back closet for security. (One of these, and maybe two or three of these, wouldn’t hurt either…)
If that’s not an option where you live, consider Air rifles or crossbows, which are less regulated. All three are good options not only for security but also for stocking your freezer and supplementing your emergency food supply.
Looking for more emergency supplies beyond just stocking your pantry?
- Best MREs (Meals Ready To Eat)
- Best (and Worst) Freeze Dried Food for Long-Term Storage
- How to Freeze Dry Food at Home
- Best Survival Seed Banks
- Best AA Flashlights
- Survival Gardening: Our Real Life Dry Run
This is pretty detailed, thank you. I do wish you had included in each category, which services offer most, if not all of their fare, in organically sourced ingredients. Or at least non GMO. I does no one any good if they are consuming foods tainted with glyphosate or other toxic ingredients by way of fertilizers or crop ‘enhancements’. I know that Mountain house does NOT offer any non GMO or organic ingredients. I gave up years ago searching for a good, organic source for emergency meals. They just don’t seem to exist. You can find the occasional company that offers the single source ingredients that are organic, but not the meals.
If you’re looking for a good quality, non-GMO emergency food supply, check out Legacy Premium. Their serving sizes are based on a 2,000 calorie per day plan; their number of servings are realistic, and their food actually tastes very good. And they also offer a selection of gluten-free meals. I’m surprised that Ashley didn’t include Legacy in her list.
Carol. If you find yourself in a situation that requires you to use your emergency food it is likely you will have FAR more issues to deal with than Non GMO/Organic selections for food. You might find true accounts of WW2 in Europe a good place to understand just how sideways things can go, and what REAL priorities are.
Just so you know, Valley doesn’t ship to Oklahoma.
I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks so much for sharing.
Your research was very poorly done. You’ve never tried to survive on ‘storable food’ apparently. I have for many decades now. Prepared meals (already made up for you) are the very WORST foods to try to survive on (or thrive on). You’re stuck eating the same tasteless or over-seasoned (take your pick) ‘meal’ which become extremely repetitious and boring. Your stomach and your bowels will come to hate you.
When you allow others to “plan your meals for you” you’re no better off then just going to the supermarket and buying boxed or frozen meals. It’s the same quality, same high salt contents, same bland taste and the same limited variety. I tried this early on and realized this isn’t healthy and it isn’t the way I like to eat (speaking for my family too – they came to hate these pre-packeged offerings). They’d rather go hungry if I try to serve them this.
I think you’ve fallen for the marketing hype and lack the practical experience of actually eating these survival foods for a long time like we have. If you did, you’d likely as not change your opinion about prepared meals (which are generally very low in calories and good nutrition and always the same ‘taste’) versus making up your own meal planning. We much prefer the latter and now avoid these prepared meal companies like the plague (overpriced too).
It’s much better to make up your own meals from your food storage supplies. If you shop like this at the supermarket (buy ingredients versus frozen meals) why not do the same with your food storage supplies?? Buy ingredients packaged for long term storage? It’s far cheaper too, taste better and you don’t have the same amount of waste when your palate (or stomach or bowels) rejects what some company claims is a ‘meal’ that you just can’t stomach (again and again and again).
We save a TON of money avoiding meals. Personally, I think meals are the worst way to go, and for lazy people who won’t learn how to cook anything. They want a quick fix that they’ll come to hate if they’re stuck eating this for a month or a year or whatever. Just my two-cents and my experience.
Hi what type of ingredients packaged for long term are you talking about can you give us some examples thanks
Some of us aren’t “lazy who won’t learn to cook” as you say, but are very ill and or disabled. Many of us already feel guilt and shame over our lack of ability to perform seemingly easy tasks (like going to the supermarket) necessary for survival and are thankful their’s an alternative to starvation. My bowels and stomach will thank me when my ability to eat does not dependent on MY ABILITY to source and prepare.
Have you tried Thrive Life? Formerly Shelf Reliance. They have amazing food. Both freeze dried and dehydrated and more. We absolutely love their products
Levi Paul D. Levi
I love you article but did not see Food4Patriots. Can you give me an evaluation on that product? Thanks in advance.
Are you referring to “4Patriots” which was on the list of products that we did not recommend in this post or is this a different company?
Hi Levi, I just posted a full review of 4Patriots here: https://practicalselfreliance.com/4patriots-survival-food-review/
I purchased Freeze Dried Food from one of the above companies and noticed there is air in the majority of the bags. I was told there should not be air in the bags if it were to last the 25 yrs. Is this true?
That’s not true. The bags are generally not vacuum sealed to remove air when packed commercially, and instead, they put in moisture and oxygen absorbers. The oxygen absorbers remove the oxygen (leaving just nitrogen, etc) in the package. That way, the “air” in the package acts as padding to keep the food from getting busted up, so it’ll be higher quality when you open it.
Oxygen and moisture are what cause degradation over time in storage, so those are removed even if there is air in the package. Does that make sense?
You forgot to mention the BEST freeze dried food company: THRIVE LIFE FOODS. I started buying from them in 2018 and as of 2022, ZERO complaints. I had one dented can in almost 5 years and they replaced it when I called to ask if it was still good to use. And, they ship FAST. It used to be three to five days but with the surge in demand, it’s up to two weeks on the website. But, as someone who is a monthly subscriber to Thrive Life Foods, I’ve never waited two full weeks from the time I placed the order to having my food in hand. I’ve never had an oxygen absorber failure with Thrive Life, either. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about My Patriot Supply. I placed exactly three orders with them in all my prepping years and all three orders was in March. STILL waiting for replacement product because 45% of my total order had oxygen absorber failure. I learned in Hurricane Ida that my oxygen absorbers failed in my rice storage. I had bags full of bugs and I found out at the worst possible time. Thank God I had Thrive Life!! And no, I don’t sell the food. But I DO eat it. And I have lived through the kind of life threatening emergency this stuff is made for, so that’s some significant credibility for those who actually intend to SURVIVE.
um… you might want to proof read a little better… 4th paragraph: “In 2022, sellers of emergency food emergency food supply still incredibly high, and emergency food suppliers know that they’re operating in a sellers market. Demand is “
Thanks for pointing that out. We will fix it as soon as we can.
Mike in Missouri
Survival food companies are robbing people. I looked at buying a 40 pound sealed container (bucket with airtight lid and oxygen reducers) of organic white rice and the price including shipping was almost $150. I can buy 8 5-pound bags of organic white rice for less than $21 at Wal Mart, and a food grade bucket and airtight lid for not a whole bunch of money, as well.
People are being taken to the cleaners by these survival food companies.
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