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Storage of Emergency & Survival Food



Food and Water are the primary ingredients of any emergency survival pack. Most households will stock food supplies for minimum two days, assuming no disruption to utilies such as water and power. Supermarkets generally have food stocks that will last two to three days. However, in anticipation of a severe weather event, or in the immediate aftermath of an incident, when re-supply is difficult or impossible, panic buying will deplete these stocks in a matter of hours.

You should store enough long shelf life food at home to give you autonomy for 3 to 10 days in case of an emergency. Businesses should also pursue an emergency food storage plan (see Business Contingency Kit, Business Preparedness).

We recommend a storage provision of 2000 calories per adult per day. In nutritional terms, a kcal or kilocalorie, is the equivalent of one calorie (2000kcal = 2000 calories). Storing a mixture of ready-to-eat and long-life dried food is best.

...a note on Emergency Food for Business Organizations:

UK authorities recommend you stock a minimum of three days supplies of non-perishable food. Long-life rations and self-heating meals are obvious choices. Stocking emergency food is advised also for lock-down scenario. In addition emergency food for business is relevant if you employ field personnel or are involved in responding to environmental or civil incidents. All our food products are available with whole sale pricing.


Basic types of emergency and survival foods that you should consider storing

Seven Oceans survival at sea ration & NRG5 emergency ration

Emergency Rations

These are long-life biscuits or bars that are ready-to-eat. They are made specifically for emergency preparedness and are used in relief operations or for survival-at-sea.

The biscuits are formulated to provide a balanced nutrition for adults and children. As these rations are made into compressed biscuits, this is probably the most efficient way of storing food for emergencies. The maximum amount of calories, with balanced nutrition, for the minimum amount of storage space. 

You can pack over 250,000kcal in the same space occupied by an average suitcase. That is enought food for 125 days calculated at 2000 calories per person per day! Each 500g pack of emergency rations is robustly packed in waterproof and airtight aluminium foil under vacuum. They have a shelf-life of five or ten years depending on the manufacturer. The Seven Oceans survival ration is made for use in lifeboats and liferafts, you can therefore store these in extreme conditions without compromising the 5 year shelf-life.

Super fast energy - try glucose tablets

For the immediate delivery of energy in emergencies try i.e. glucose tablets (see Energy Food & Drink). Stock these in your emergency Go Bag  or Survival Kit to give you an immediate energy boost when required. These products are not necessarily produced with a long shelf life in mind, so make sure that you rotate your stored stocks at intervals.


Mountain House freeze dried foods; foil pouch and #10 tin

Freeze dried meals

Freeze dried meals are pre-cooked meals that have been flash frozen. Freeze dried meals have had most of the moisture evaporated away prior to packing, so they can be stored at room temperature without spoiling for a very long time, making them ideal for emergency food storage. Freeze dried foods keep their original shape, texture and taste for years. To prepare, all you have to do is add boiling water. The dried food will rehydrate to its original form (and taste) within minutes. Because the moisture has been removed from freeze dried foods they are very light-weight.

A single meal can weigh as little as 100 grams!

Freeze dried meals are packed in both foil pouches or metal tins. Freeze dried meals, packed in these special #10 Mountain House tins, specifically for emergency preparedness, have a proven shelf life of 25 years.

There are from 5 to 9 portions packed per tin depending on the menu type. Although these tins are initially costly to buy - they range from £30 to £40 per tin - they have a full 25 years of shelf-life. If stored for emergencies that works out to £1.4 per tin per year! From a price inflation point of view alone, these tins are a good investment.

Imagine finding a fully balanced meal for £5 in 2038, it will be virtually impossible to find anything for five pounds 25 years from now! Freeze dried meals are also available in single-portion size packed in foil pouches. These pouches can have up to a five year shelf life. Because freeze dried meals have virtually no liquid content they are not affected by cold temperatures - they are used extensively in Antartic expeditions - they will rehydrate normally in sub-zero temperatures.


Ready to eat meals

There are a multitude of ready-to-eat meals, made for the adventurer, camper or the military that are also suitable for emergency preparedness storage. Army ration packs, MREs (meals ready to eat), self-heating meals, etc can all be stored for emergencies. Also consider easily available dried goods, i.e. rice, pasta etc that store well but do remember to check and log expiry dates. 

Important: remember that your Go Bag should always contain ready-to-eat food in case you have to evacuate.


Also of interest:

Gluten free and Lactose free Camping and Survival Foods;  How to build your own Emergency Kit

on UK Food Security; EVAQ8 Resilience Blog: Rethinking Resilience – Capacities of Relief Staff & Volunteers in Disaster Zones








































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