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by Mountain House November 17, 2017

Multi-Phased Approach to Emergency and Survival Food Storage

All Food is "Survival Food"

food overhead

Having emergency food on hand is like having a savings account. You should keep cash savings to help you manage unexpected financial shocks—like needing a new transmission in your car. Similarly, you should have extra food on hand as a buffer to help you weather difficult times.

The recent icy arctic blast experienced by much of the country has made travel difficult and serves as a prime example of the benefit of having extra food on hand. Healthy savings accounts and having extra food in your pantry provides peace of mind that your family will be taken care of should things get difficult. If you ever find yourself in the situation of having to dip into your emergency food stores, what exactly is the proper way to do it?

Eat Your Perishables First

The power is out and the grocery shelves are bare due a storm interrupting food shipments. What food do you eat first? Wasted food is money and nourishment down the drain. If confronting an extended power outage, you should eat the food that is in your refrigerator and freezer first. After this, move on to any fruit and breads, which normally only last a week or two before spoiling.

Eat Medium Term Food Next

These include boxed meals and pastas which have a typical shelf life of 3 months to 2 years depending on the product and the quality of their packaging. Feel free to supplement with any canned goods to create variety in your diet. You can also eat any snack food you have for additional calories.

Long Term Emergency Survival Food

Mountain House food on shelves
Mountain House food will taste fresh for 25+ years.

Only after eating your other foods with shorter-shelf life should you dip into your freeze dried and dry-packed foods (sometimes referred to as survival food or emergency food storage.) Because quality freeze-dried meals with proven shelf life can last from 12-25+ years or longer depending on the packaging method, there is less urgency to consume them at the beginning of an emergency. While they do play an important part in any emergency preparation plan, freeze dried food should not be the singular solution. Add dry-packed and freeze dried staples to your diet like rice, flour and beans for fiber and to add variety. Dried fruit is also important for additional vitamins, like vitamin C.


Thankfully, most emergency food situations are resolved in the first 72-hours. But it makes sense to have food that is good for longer. Just in case.

What’s the longest you’ve had to dip into your emergency food stores? Let us know by commenting below!

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