Some folks think they should be able to buy a year's worth of storage food for a few hundred dollars at the most. I think they believe that in a crisis, when all hell has broken loose, and they've lost any semblance of normalcy in their lives, and perhaps even a loved one or two, they will be satisfied with eating starvation rations of rice, beans, and sawdust.
What I say to that approach is, just save the few hundred dollars and instead plan on getting your rations at the local FEMA camp or soup kitchen when they get around to setting up shop and herding you into your pen.
I mean, really. Think about it ... in the darkest days of your life, when a major crisis has come calling and you are as down in the dumps as you will ever be, wouldn't it be nice to have some good, normal food? Would it not be a little uplifting to be able to look forward to your daily meals, knowing that at least mealtime will be something worthwhile in your day? That the food you have on hand is quality food that you know how to prepare and that you will enjoy ... and that you know will provide enough calories in the meal to satisfy you?
Two things to consider when you are shopping for your storage food ...
1. You may be willing to cut back on how many calories you will eat after or during a crisis. But don't plan to reduce your daily caloric intake below 2000 calories a day. Americans are accustomed to closer to 3000 calories a day. A minimum level of 2000 calories a day will be enough to sustain the average adult (though you will probably be hungry for a while till you grow used to that).
Many storage food sellers misrepresent their time-period packages, saying, for instance, their one-year packages will supply 900 or 1100 calories a day. If they have any honesty in their bones, there will be some fine print somewhere that admits you will need to supplement your diet with other food. And as far as number of servings go--serving counts are irrelevant. Research what the legal definition of a serving actually is, and you'll see my point. Three servings of food a day will leave you literally starving, though most folks think that means three full meals.
Finally--also know that chicken-flavored or beef-flavored dishes are going to be devoid of real meat. TVP is soy-based material, textured to imitate the feel of meat in your mouth. If you are a vegetarian, that might be OK with you. But many folks are not aware of that when they purchase bargain-basement food packages.
2. That said, cost is next to consider. This is where perspective is needed. How much do you spend on food every week or every month? Do you know?
Well, the USDA knows. Here is a link to the latest Official USDA Food Plan: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, US Average, Jan. 2012. Now consider--this is about how much you spend at home for food, given your household size and your general budget, as well as ages of individuals in the family.
I'm going to pull out a couple of numbers from the table here for the purpose of simplicity and enlightenment. Consider that one male, between the ages of 19 and 50 years old, with a moderate food budget, spends better than $292 a month for food at home. With a "liberal" budget, that man spends about $360 a month. Now how much more does that man spend eating out through the month? I won't venture a guess, but you can keep that in mind when you consider how much you spend on the food you are eating today.
Knowing that most folks spend funds on eating out as well as eating in, I'm going to simply use that $360 a month food budget number. That means, if that man was to plan to put away good year-supply of food that he is used to eating, that he enjoys eating and that he knows how to prepare--he should logically expect to pay at least $4320 for that food--for one male adult. The fact that food is specially produced, prepared, and canned to last a long time--for decades in fact--may or may not enter his understanding of the value of that food, but he should take that into account as well.
The cost and the real value of food continues to escalate. Today's purchase of GOOD quality storage food is an investment that many very smart people are making today. They know that when they make good choices in this area, their investment cannot help but grow in value. Think about it.
Cheap, tasteless food you buy today is not going to be any better years from now when you need to count on it to keep you going.
Vic Rantala owns Safecastle Crisis Preparedness Buyers Club. Shop online at www.safecastle.com and get club member discounts and free shipping all the time on the world's best storage food brands, such as Mountain House freeze dried food.