Editor’s Note: This is an updated and revised edition for 2018.
Legacy Food Storage has earned itself a spot in many prepper’s pantries, and the reasons are simple. Their food options are robust, offer great variety, and have a 25-year shelf life. I received a sampler from Legacy that contained six four-serving packs: pasta alfredo, potato soup, enchilada beans and rice, a meatless stroganoff, oatmeal with brown sugar, and pancakes. I was very impressed by the amount of food that each of the packs provided. My Legacy Food Storage review follows.
A few notes about preparing the foods: I found it difficult to find and remove the oxygen absorbers hidden in all the packages. I ended up dumping each whole package dry into a Ziploc bag, removing the oxygen absorber, and then dumping everything from the Ziploc instead of from the original package. Other than that, prep was easy. I found that each meal alarmingly watery upon first being added to the boiling water, but that during cooking, each meal thickened dramatically and consistency wasn’t an issue.
According to the manufacturing dates stamped on each package, I could eat these meals in early 2042, and they’d be just as tasty as they are today. However, eager to try them within the decade, I decided it would be best not to keep you waiting! Here’s the official BDS Legacy Food Storage Review:
A Note on Sodium and Fat
All survival and camping foods are likely to be high in macronutrients like sodium and fat. However, this is because they are designed for more physically intense situations than in your day-to-day life. Whether you’re enjoying the wilderness for recreation or fighting for survival after a local volcano blows its top, survival and camping food suppliers are assuming you are burning more calories and will require far more fat, sodium, and carbohydrates than usual.
For someone like me, blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird, the extra macronutrients are a wonderful thing. But if you’re concerned about getting too much sodium and fat, you can reduce your serving size or combine dishes with vegetable and low-sodium options to balance things out.
1. Pasta Alfredo
After following the instructions for making 2 servings, or half the package, I realized just how impressive a volume of food this package contained.
I’m a big eater. Usually, when a package suggests the amount for two servings, I scoff and make twice as much. However, two servings of the Pasta Alfredo (and the others I sampled) was truly two servings for me, filling me up beyond my expectations.
I wasn’t able to sample it on an actual backpacking trip, so I wasn’t as ravenous as I would ordinarily be when eating this type of meal. But even if I had to eat 25% more, I’d still be impressed with the amount of food provided. And since the whole bag weighs 13.6 ounces, bringing half of it on a trek would give you two robust meals in a fairly lightweight package.
The smell, taste, and aftertaste had a bit of a preservative-y tinge, but for any food storage solution with a 25-year shelf life, some trade-off is inevitable. In a survival setting, it wouldn’t matter in the slightest, and it’s minor enough that I’m looking forward to taking this dish on my next camping trip.
2. Enchilada Beans and Rice
The Legacy Foods Enchilada Beans and Rice were pretty good but would be even better (and healthier) with a higher ratio of beans in the mix. I’m no bean counter (sorry, I had to), but a more appropriate name would be Enchilada Rice and Beans — the rice definitely takes up the vast majority of the dish. I understand this might make for a more expensive product, but I’d personally be willing to pay extra for more beans, especially for the extra protein they provide.
This one was somewhat bland, but not bad. A bit of hot sauce (which I always keep handy anyway) did wonders for it. It didn’t’ have as much of that preservative flavor as the alfredo dish, but also packed less flavor on its own. It would be enhanced even further by mixing in freeze-dried cheese or high-quality cheese powder, along with some tortillas. With those simple additions, this could feel like a pretty luxurious backpacking or survival meal.
3. Potato Soup
Like the pasta Alfredo, the potato soup had a bit of that preservative flavor but also had enough going for it flavor-wise to make up for it. Since potatoes dehydrate so well, they translate well to food storage solutions, because Legacy was able to make real potato the first ingredient in the soup. It was well-seasoned, and although is not as calorically dense as the other meal options, proved to be a satisfying meal. I recommend seasoning with black pepper. I also imagine it would be a good one to combine with freeze-dried broccoli to add even more flavor and nutrition.
The stroganoff dish was similar to the pasta Alfredo, just with a stroganoff gravy instead of Alfredo sauce and some nice little-diced onions thrown in. The noodles seemed identical. As with the others, the flavor was good – the stroganoff had less of a preservative taste than the Alfredo — but like those, could be improved upon if you rounded it out with some extras.
For example, seasoning with some black pepper made it tastier, and I bet that adding in some of Legacy’s freeze-dried beef chunks would make it an even more satisfying feast. On one camping trip where I made a box of macaroni and cheese, I crumbled on some of my homemade beef jerky (easy to make with a dehydrator), to fantastic effect. You could do the same for this stroganoff, and it turns it into what would feel like a gourmet meal in terms of survival and camping food.
5. Pancakes & Oatmeal
For breakfast options, Legacy Food Storage sent me one packet of pancake mix and one packet of instant oatmeal. Both breakfast options were extremely tasty, on par with the pancake mix and instant oatmeal you’d keep in your own kitchen. For the pancakes, mixing in freeze-dried blueberries is an easy upgrade that takes them over the top. The maple oatmeal was a bit sweet for my palate, but I’m not much of a sweets eater, so this likely wouldn’t be an issue for most people.
My only complaint about the pancake mix is that it requires oil, rather than being a “just add water” formula. While this probably helps with the flavor, it seems a little bit strange to require vegetable oil to make pancakes that are meant as a survival food, when store-bought mixes already come in “just add water” varieties.
While the bag of pancake mix might last 25 years, no cooking oil would last nearly as long and would be an extremely difficult ingredient to come by in a survival situation. This makes the pancakes more limited in their usefulness as a long-term survival food because if you don’t have access to cooking oil, you’ll be out of luck.
For the oatmeal, the 38 grams of sugar does make it a less than a totally nutritious breakfast. After all, that’s about 18 grams more sugar per serving than a Snicker’s candy bar. A vastly healthier survival breakfast would be powdered eggs with freeze-dried veggies, but a sugary breakfast could certainly do wonders for morale as well as being extra valuable as a potential barter item.
Aside from those notes, both the pancakes and oatmeal were tasty and filling and would make for an enjoyable survival or camping breakfast.
Legacy Food BDS Original Interview
This original review from Gaye Levy (BDS Founder) provides some additional color to Legacy Food Storage:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Legacy Foods and More
1. To get the ball rolling, tell me a little about how Legacy Foods got started.
Legacy Food Storage officially launched with product in October of 2011. Prior to launching Legacy Premium, most of the owners of Legacy Food Storage were owners in reseller businesses that sold ready-made meals in Mylar pouches, which required little time to prepare. We all dreaded having to grind wheat and bake food in order to manage through an emergency.
By spring of 2011, we had the opportunity to create our own product line in partnership with a company that has prepared grocery store ready-made packaged meals for approximately 20 years. We really wanted to deliver a healthy, high quality, great tasting, better packaged, and better priced offering, something our customers had been asking for since first launching our reseller businesses.
2. In the past few years, I have seen a lot of food storage companies come online. I have tried samples from many of them and some are great and others? Well, to be polite, not so good. That said, someone once told me that there were only a handful of companies manufacturing freeze-dried or dehydrated food.
So first of all, is that true?
Yes, there are only a few companies on the market selling freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, which simply stated, offer a longer shelf life, better taste, and greater convenience than any other method of food storage. They also tend to be healthier than other food storage options because the freeze-drying and dehydration process retains the original nutrient quality found in the food.
If you start with healthy ingredients, the freeze-drying and dehydration process keeps those intact until you are ready to eat them, in large part because the process removes the water from the food, leaving it a condition that will keep microorganisms from growing.
And if so, is the product you get from one company going to be the same as another product by the same name with just a different label?
No, these products aren’t all the same with different labels, as you noticed during your sampling. I am extremely picky on the ingredients I put in our foods, and as a result, very hands-on in picking the ingredients with our vendors. What’s the point of purchasing food storage if no one will eat it?
I’m never satisfied until the food tastes delicious and you’ll notice that difference in the myriad choices we offer. While not everyone will like everything (that’s not how people work), you can ensure your family will find plenty of meals that they will eat during an emergency or even as part of a regular meal plan.
Legacy’s freeze-dried meals are among the healthiest options because we use real ingredients along with ingredients that are certified by our vendors as “GMO free” with no cholesterol, no trans fat, low sodium, and high fiber.
3. How are your recipes developed and how often are they changed, if ever?
Legacy changes recipes and ingredients on a regular basis as new ingredients and processes with higher standards become available. Legacy is always going through the process of qualifying for additional certifications. Legacy is working towards having more certificates and higher supplier production standards than anyone in the industry. Status quo is not acceptable at Legacy.
Legacy Premium meals are developed by professional chefs and formulators, but the meals’ standards and flavoring is influenced by input or comments from Legacy owners, management, employees, resellers and customers. In fact, we love customer feedback and regularly track it to improve our business and product offerings.
The recipes are generated in part by claim needs such as Non-GMO or Gluten Free and the source of ingredient requirements. We also take into consideration the fact that Legacy Food Storage wants to provide meals that are appetizing and delicious. Only ingredients that pass the claim needs and source of ingredient requirements are used in the formulation process. Once a formula is developed, tested, and approved, it is either added to the current product offering mix or used to replace an existing product we wanted to improve.
4. I see that Legacy Food products are GMO- and in some cases, Gluten-Free. What type of testing or certification has been done to assure the consumer that these statements are true?
We require verification from our supplier that the ingredients we use are GMO-free.
Also, when manufacturing our gluten-free products, we ensure that our facilities are free from cross-contamination with other foods containing gluten. The clean room is cleaned before gluten free items are run. Different product items are packaged on different days. The rooms are completely cleaned between running new items.
Finally, Legacy is taking action to add a gluten-free clean room that is dedicated to gluten-free items only. Within the next few months, our products will be packaged in one of the highest rated facilities in the country. In the meantime, our current production facility is highly rated for its cleanliness and the production room (clean room) is cleaned in such a manner to prevent cross contamination.
5. Let’s talk about packaging. I see that Legacy Food Storage sells their products in pouches rather than tins. This includes bulk products such as butter, egg and honey powders. Why have you chosen this type of packaging?
We like Mylar pouches more than tin cans because they are more convenient for individual use; package easier into plastic buckets, which are good for storage; they don’t rust, and are easy to carry. In addition to being easy to store and carry, Mylar bags help keep oxygen from contaminating the foods. In fact, it’s crucial that residual oxygen levels be below 2 percent to keep food from spoiling.
Nitrogen flushing and oxygen absorbers are two things we use with our Mylar pouches to keep the levels in our packaging below this level. If your food storage is not packaged in these ideal conditions, and then stored appropriately (low temperature and low light), it is going to spoil long before you might need them.
6. It seems as though everyone is on a budget these days. What advice do you have for someone who only has $500 to spend on emergency supplies?
If you only have $500 to spend on emergency supplies, buy a solid emergency bag that has both food and water storage, emergency items, and the basic items necessary to keep one warm and protected in an emergency. A good emergency bag with everything can be bought between $300 and $800, depending on what you want in the emergency bag.
7. Two fun questions: What is both your favorite and least favorite FD product?
My favorite is Chili and least favorite is Hawaiian Style Sweet N Sour.
8. Do you have plans for any new products?
Yes. In addition to all of the meal options we sell, Legacy Food Storage is devoted to making overall emergency preparedness as simple as possible. We’ll be introducing enhanced 72-hour kits and emergency-specific packages for specific emergency situations, such as tornados, hurricanes, snow storms, etc.
Also, recognizing that water is the most important item in emergency preparedness, we have developed 5-gallon water storage boxes that can be filled at home long before an emergency happens. We have also just released our MegaOne Meals, a 100 percent natural meal replacement shake with complete nutrition in every serving, ideal in emergency situations for the elderly or the infirmed that might not be able to eat solid foods.
On the other hand, when prepared, most of our entrée foods are soft food as well, such as all of our soups and breakfast items.
9. Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers at Backdoor Survival?
This year, Legacy will be introducing a lot of new emergency items, including various bug out bags and kits, a bug-in kit, a sanitation kit, and food fuel water packages as well as a new line of camping food.
Legacy has put a lot of time and resources into the development of new products to meet customer requests and hopes to be able to continue to satisfy the requests of our customers long into the future.
Pricing and Conclusions
For the hefty serving size, shelf life, and flavor, I highly recommend Legacy Food Storage for survival food storage and backpacking situations. I would recommend mixing in plenty of vegetable options and your own extras, like adding homemade jerky to the stroganoff, to take the flavors and nutrition to the next level.
The pricing is competitive with other suppliers. Affordability per serving increases the more you buy, but Legacy’s entrée packs range from a 16-serving entrée sampler for about $40 to a 4,320-serving bucket set currently priced at about $8,800.
Whether you’re fighting for survival or just enjoying the great outdoors, a little bit of customization takes Legacy Food Storage’s meal options from excellent to extraordinary. I highly recommend them!
Eric is a nature-loving writer, experience junkie, and former Boy Scout who never forgot that time-honored Scout Motto: Be prepared. Aside from camping and survival, he loves writing about travel, history, and anything he finds strange and unique!
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