Chances are you’ve seen those miracle buckets of food storage, the “one and done” of the food storage world. They claim to have just what you need for great tasting, easy to prepare meals that your family will love. Just hand over your money, take their products home with you and store them in a cool, dark place and you’re done. But, could it really be that simple? It could be that simple, if you have a lot of space, a lot of extra water stored (to re-hydrate all of those meals), and a LOT of money. We think of these buckets like eating out because, truth be told, you could be spending as much or more on one of these food storage meals as you would spend taking your family to a fancy restaurant!
Don’t believe us? Meet Johnny (names have been changed to protect the innocent).
Johnny decided to buy a year supply of food for his family. He was very busy and found a reputable company that sold deluxe kits with lots of good sounding meals, that even included desserts, and plunked down $10,000. (NO JOKE!) It was expensive, but he wanted only the best for his family. When it arrived, he decided to try a meal from his stash. He quickly realized that the “meal” was only enough food for a very small child, and that to fill him up; he would need 4 times the allotted serving. His $10,000, “year supply” was in reality, a four month supply.
See what we mean? Expensive! Now, we’re not saying there isn’t a place for these buckets in your food storage but your year-supply shouldn’t be made up of them. After all, you’d never eat out every meal, so why do it with your food storage? These buckets do serve a purpose as emergency food in case you’re sheltering at home, or mixed into your year supply to give yourself a break from cooking. To get the most for your money with this type of food storage, be sure to follow our rules.
Remember that every food storage company would love for you to purchase everything freeze-dried, but it’s not necessary. In fact, if everything you store long-term is freeze dried or dehydrated you will need to store a boat load of water (we’re only half kidding…about the boat, not the extremely large amount of water you’d have to store).
7 Important Rules for Buying Food Storage Buckets & Bundles
RULE NO. 1: SERVING SIZES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
Meal serving sizes range from 1/4 cup – 3 cups depending on the product. Many companies list their serving sizes as grams vs cups, not helpful when determining actual eating amounts. As a general rule: the higher the number of servings in a bundle, the smaller the average size of the servings.
Beware: up to 30% of bundle’s servings can come from multiple servings of seasonings and drinks.
RULE NO. 2: ONE SERVING DOES NOT EQUAL A MEAL
We tend to think a meal as a serving, wrong. Case and point: a 5-gallon bucket of emergency food said it contained 308 servings and it did: ¼ c of this and a tablespoon of that. You have to put a lot of these “servings” together to make a meal.
Beware: claiming a large number of servings is a marketing trick.
RULE NO. 3: QUALITY OF FOOD INGREDIENTS
Read the labels. Do they contain lots of sugars and preservatives? Do they use real milk (instant or non-instant) or milk drinks (see milk section for details)? Sugar vs honey/sugar powder? TVP or meat flavorings vs real meat? Are the meals filling or watery soups? On the plus side, some packages have gluten free and vegetarian options.
RULE NO. 4: VARIETY OF FOOD
Look for packages with a variety of food options, the more the better. The better bundles have five or more breakfasts, 12 or more main meals and a variety of fruits and vegetables too. One only had two breakfasts and seven main meals and crackers and peanut butter. We would get tired of that really quick.
RULE NO. 5: STORAGE LIFE
Many of these food bundles claim to “store up to 25 year”s. The key term being “up to.” These packages usually contain mixed types of foods. Generally they store as follows:
freeze-dried: 25 years, dehydrated: 8-10 years
mixes: 1-2 years
RULE NO. 6: TOTAL CALORIES
The best way to determine if a food storage unit has enough life sustaining calories is to take the total calories for the bundle (usually found on website, otherwise call them) and divide it by the number of days the bundle is supposed to feed you. This number should be at least 2,000 (the per day amount). In addition, the cheaper companies often include small sugary drink servings to boost their number of servings and calories. With some companies, 20-50% of their overall calories are from drink mix.
Become a Savvy Food Storage Shopper
You’re a savvy shopper when it comes to everything else you buy, so why not be a savvy shopper when it comes to food storage as well? Look—we get it, the world of food storage can be a confusing place not many people want to visit, but we’re changing all of that with our food storage best-seller book Store This, Not That! The ultimate food storage guide. Think of it as the Cliff notes for food storage. You know, just go straight to what works, and forget everything else. We’ll help you quickly decipher what you should and should not be storing, share with you space saving tricks and insider information to save you $1,000s of dollars when buying your food storage, and in the end, how to make something your family would actually eat! Grab your copy today at Amazon.com or Deseret Book.