I’ve been doing some research lately on dehydrated and freeze-dried “emergency” food and associated purchase plans.  I have come to the conclusion that, for the most part, many of the companies that market long-term storage food plans have the same “fatal” flaw: Their per person, per day calorie contents are woefully inadequate for an actual emergency/disaster situation.  In fact, they are often barely adequate for “normal” food requirements.

Consider this: As a 40-year old man, weighing in at 260 and measuring 5 feet 9 inches tall, my basal metabolic rate calorie requirement is (roughly) 2150 calories PER DAY.  That’s a requirement of over 2000 calories expended with no physical exertion at all.  Unfortunately, when things go pear-shaped, as in the case of a disaster, you are highly likely to be putting out a hell of a lot of exertion, both through physical activity and through the added stresses of the disaster on your body.  This means that your daily caloric requirements are higher (possibly significantly higher) than normal.

There are a lot of things to consider when you consider storing food for emergencies or disasters (or, for normal food storage, for that matter).  For example, you need to consider the average caloric load.  A 72-hour kit doesn’t necessarily need to provide high levels of caloric value since the idea is to use it to get somewhere that you can be safe and find other means of support.  But, for prolonged use, stored food needs to provide enough calories to give you enough energy to maintain health and respond to your situation.  

Another thing to consider with food storage is how you will need to prepare it.  How much water per serving does it need to become edible (most emergency food is dehydrated or freeze-dried)?  Does it require boiling water?  Hot water? Simmering?  Do you need to do any additional preparation of the food?  Even more important to keep in mind is that you need to have access to adequate potable water to both maintain your hydration and to prepare any emergency food and to perform basic hygiene tasks.  At the very least, the general thought is that you need one gallon per person, per day.  More is required when the weather is hot or you’re exerting yourself a lot. 

To sum up my thoughts, it is important to be very aware when buying your emergency food stores.  Make sure that you are getting enough product to meet your daily calorie requirements, and make sure that you have enough “stuff” on hand to prepare the food that you buy.  Make sure that you have access to enough water to both prepare your food and drink during emergencies.

Stay safe.