How do you choose between the many survival food companies when it comes time to prepare for food available disruptions?
This article compares the five best survival food brands and discusses their benefits based on ingredients, calories, and cost per serving. While numbered, these brands appear in no particular order as they all offer benefits.
1. Mountain House — Survival and Casual Prepared Foods
Mountain House provides food rations for emergency preparedness and for casual use such as camping, hiking, and backpacking. Their product list includes:
- Pouches — Prepare using hot water and time. These are perfect for casual use or emergency preparedness, especially if you want to add specific meals to bolster an emergency food kit.
- Serving Size: Available in single serving (small portion) or pouches (large single serving portion).
- Cost: Under $6 for a single serving and under $9 for a pouch.
- Sample Item: Beef Stroganoff
- First three ingredients: Cooked beef, sour cream, and mushrooms.
- Calories per serving: 260
- Total Fat: 11 grams
- Total Carbs: 29 grams
- Total Protein: 11 grams
- Mountain House #10 cans — 30-year shelf life. These are prepared meals in a can that are reconstituted using hot water.
- Serving Size: Approximately 10 servings per #10 Can
- Cost: Under $45 per can plus/minus depending on meal.
- Sample Item: Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Peppers
- First three ingredients: Precooked scrambled eggs, ham, red and green peppers.
- Calories per serving: 190 (2/3 cup)
- Total Fat: 11 grams
- Total Carbs: 7 grams
- Total Protein: 15 grams
Mountain House #10 cans also include staples such as Diced Beef ($77) and Diced Chicken ($53). They have a wide variety of #10 can meals available and per their site information, their #10 cans have a proven 30-year shelf life.
— Basically the same as a pouch except that the Pro-Pak packaging features high-altitude stability so that packages do not rupture due to the increased pressure.
- Serving Size: Single Serving
- Cost: $6-$8 per Pro-Pak
- Emergency Meal Kits
— Food supplies from 2-14 days
- Serving Size: Available 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, 5-day, and 14-day kits and buckets.
- Cost: Under starts at $42 for a 2-day kit (feeds one person and contains 15 servings) and $285 for the 14-day kit (100 servings). Contains 14 breakfasts, 28 lunch/dinner options. Suitable for one person for 14 days or two people for seven days.
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Mountain House is a 50-year company with a healthy reputation for supplying quality freeze-dried foods that reconstitute using hot or cold water. They also boast the longest (30 year) shelf life of all the brands discussed here.
2. Wise Company — Offers a One-stop-shop for Supplies That Are Helpful for Prepping.
Wise company offers many products for emergency preparedness. They have full emergency food kits, and freeze-dried staples, such as meats, eggs, fruits and veggies. Per information on Wise Company’s site, these meals are good for daily use or for food storage for upwards of 25 years. Food is preserved by freeze drying or dehydration and reconstitutes with water. Their product list includes:
- Emergency Food Kits
— These are grab-and-go buckets that ranges by meal type and servings per bucket. Servings-per-bucket range from 40-296.
- Serving Size: Available in buckets ranging from 40-296 servings.
- Cost: $90 for a 52-serving bucket ($1.73/serving) to $245 for a 296-serving bucket ($0.83 per serving.)
- Sample Item: Creamy Pasta with Vegetable Rotini (Included in the 52-Serving Bucket = 16 lunch/entrée servings, 8 breakfast servings, 16 servings of Orange Delight drink, and 12 servings of Whey Milk Alternative.)
- First three ingredients: Pasta, Freeze dried carrots, Peas.
- Calories per serving: 200
- Total Fat: 4 grams
- Total Carbs: 35 grams
- Total Protein: 6 grams
Overall, Wise Company’s Emergency Food Buckets are well-balanced meals. In addition to buckets, they offer emergency food supplies in quantities up to one year for about $1,000.
- Freeze Dried Meats
— 15-year shelf life. These are prepared meats-based meals in pouches plus servings of rice that are reconstituted using hot water. Buckets range from 60-servings to 1080 servings. Buckets contain various types of meat, such as chicken and beef.
- Serving Size: Approximately 4 servings per pouch.
- Cost: $145.00 for 60 servings ($2.41 per serving) – $2,100 for 1080 servings ($1.94 per serving.) *price per serving includes added pouches of rice.
- Sample Item: Roasted Chicken
- First three ingredients: Freeze-dried Chicken, Chicken Broth Flavor, and Roasted Chicken Flavor.
- Calories per serving: 50
- Total Fat: Zero grams
- Total Carbs: Zero grams *Nutrition from the included rice, not available.
- Total Protein: 9 grams
In addition, Wise Company offers buckets of dried fruit , dried vegetables , dairy and eggs. What is important here is that they offer emergency food for everyday use and bulk food for long-term emergency preparedness.
The advantage of this system is that the consumer can choose staples or meals and customize their emergency food stores to fit their preparedness style and needs. Best benefit is low cost ($0.83/serving for their big kits and $1.94/serving for meat).
3. Max Life — Emergency Food and Useful Products for Setting up an Emergency Food Supply for the Whole Family
Max Life offers emergency food kits that feed four people two-three meals per day. They also offer individual buckets so that you can add food in quantities that meet your preparedness plans.
- Family Packs — Prepare using water. Each kit ranges from a one-month supply to a full year’s worth of food for a family of four. Expect balanced meals with either entrée or breakfast with fruit or vegetable or both. They also offer individual buckets that help to customize an emergency food supply. Shelf life is 25-years.
- Serving Size: Available in family sized buckets that range from two meals per day to three meals per day.
- Cost: Under $529 for 392 servings ($1.35 per serving) in their 1 month kit -$4,998 for 4,412 servings ($1.13 per serving) in their one-year kit both kits offer three meals per day, family of four bucket/kit.
- Sample Item: Red Beans and Rice:
- First three ingredients: Cooked red beans, cooked long grain rice, spices.
- Calories per serving: 221
- Total Fat: 1 grams
- Total Carbs: 32 grams
- Total Protein: 7 grams
The company often offers sales, so don’t let the sticker price shock you. The benefits of buying food from this company is that they consider larger-sized groups rather than individuals. Per information on their site, they might offer payment plans.
4. Honeyville — Offers a lot of products that fit into emergency food storage and they have a huge selection of freeze-dried foods.
Honeyville offers foods for long-term emergency food storage or for casual everyday use. They sell freeze-dried and dehydrated dairy, complete meals, freeze-dried fruits, meats, veggies, and plenty of grains, rice and beans. Their emergency freeze-dried meals reconstitute with hot water. Shelf life ranges 10-15 years.
- #10 Cans — Prepare using hot water. Each #10 can holds about 20 servings. You can buy these as a single can or in a case of six #10 cans. These are perfect for casual use or emergency preparedness, especially if you want to add specific meals to bolster an emergency food kit.
- Serving Size: Available in single #10 cans (20 servings) or in cases of six #10 cans (120 servings).
- Cost: Around $34 ($1.70 per serving) depending on the meal for 20 servings and $183 ($1.53 per serving) for a six #10 can case.
- Sample Item: Rotini with Meat Sauce
- First three ingredients: Rotini Noodles, Niacin, Iron.
- Calories per serving: 210
- Total Fat: 3 grams
- Total Carbs: 36 grams
- Total Protein: 9 grams
Overall, the product selection from Honeyville is vast. They offer many opportunities to buy complete meals or staples such as a single #10 can of elbow macaroni or freeze-dried white chicken meat.
The benefit of buying here is that they make it easy for you to find products that fit exactly into your emergency food preparedness plan and you don’t have to buy their food kits. You can simply buy emergency food staples and add to your home food preservation plan. That is a plus for anyone who wants to build meals to hit specific caloric intake or energy packed meals and who want less of the standard freeze-dried prepared meals.
How much food should you buy? Check out our Emergency Food Buyers Guide
5. Legacy Food Storage — A One-stop-shop for Pretty Much Everything Preparedness
Legacy offers a wide range of emergency preparedness products including emergency food. Their offerings include a range of sample packets, which are handy for trying before you go all in, single buckets and bulk options for purchasing emergency food stores.
- Bulk Meal Packages
— individual meals in Mylar pouches with a shelf life to 25 years. Prepare using hot water. Per information on their site, the average calorie count per serving is 372. Bulk Meal Packages start with a 64-pound 240 serving kit and ends with a 1,107 pound 4,320 serving kits. Their bulk meal packages come with enough options to feed one person three meals per day for an amazing four-year period.
- Serving Size: Available in kits based on total servings
- Cost: $565 for 240 servings ($2.35 per serving) or $8,790 for 4,320 servings ($2.03 per serving).
- Sample Item: Stroganoff
- First three ingredients: Pasta, Corn Starch, Onion.
- Calories per serving: 330
- Total Fat: 4.5 grams
- Total Carbs: 61 grams *likely from the corn starch.
- Total Protein: 10 grams
In addition to their bulk meal packages, they offer diary, vegetables, grains, protein, and fruit in bulk and you can buy gluten free products, single buckets and specific meals such as breakfast, lunch or dinner. They offer a variety of drinks and specialty items such as probiotics. While their price per serving is higher than most of the emergency food manufacturers on this list, they do offer meals with high calorie scores.
The benefit of buying here is that you have many options for how you want to add food to your emergency preparedness plan.
Emergency food supply is no joke, and cost is a significant barrier to setting up a survival food storage system. It is important to consider what you need and compare those needs to what you get for the dollars spent. Quality food, good calories, health, and nutrition are just a few of the things that are important considerations.
Honorable Mentions – Other Good Survival Food Companies
There are certainly other reputable brands out there – as readers have reminded us. With this in mind, there are a few worth specifically mentioned below:
Honorable Mention: Emergency Essentials – By popular request, it’s also worth mentioning that Emergency Essentials carries a robust line of survival food. While they aren’t exclusively in the food business, it’s certainly worth noting. You can read a full interview with them here, to learn more about their background.
Honorable Mention: The Ready Store – Similar to EE above, The Ready Store stocks a variety of prepper items, but has a heavy emphasis on survival food. They carry lines like EasyPrep and Saratoga Farms in addition to your standard variety traditional MREs.
Honorable Mention: Valley Food Storage – Here’s one that recently popped on my radar. They are a nice “change of pace” form the traditional survival food companies in that they are GMO free, have Gluten Free options, dairy free options, and don’t have a bunch of fillers. This might impact shelf live, but personally it’s worth diversifying a bit because I’d prefer NOT to have fillers.
This article looks at many of those factors but we encourage you to do your own research too. Every emergency food plan is different because the needs of the people it must serve are different. What’s on your “bucket” list for survival food storage? Let us know in the comments below and speak up if you have a favorite brand that we did not discuss here.