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A Beginner’s Guide: Basic Types of Emergency/Long-Term Storage Food

A Beginner’s Guide: Basic Types of Emergency/Long-Term Storage Food


In the world of emergency preparedness, there are a few terms that are bandied about – which perhaps make sense to the user, however as we often find when delving into a new world of terms and definitions, the way that we describe things can often need some interpretation for those not so familiar.  My husband often complains when I start getting into medical chat, commenting on my "nurse talk" and how it is like a different language.  I would agree – many industries and organizations have a whole plethora of ways of describing somewhat simple concepts.  Such is the case that I have found when referring to emergency food or long-term storage food.  Martin gave me a lesson not so long ago that I would like to share with you in a fairly simple, straight-forward method.

Related Products

Emergency Rations

Emergency Rations

MRE Meals

MRE Meals

Happy Yak

Quick Heat Meals

Ready Wise

Long-Term Storage Food

Four Basic Types:

  1. Emergency Food Ration Bars

    These bars are a type of biscuits that are supplemented with vitamins and minerals, originally developed to serve the shipping industry for lifeboats, but are also used in aircraft and emergency bags.  Emergency food ration bars are meant to support the urgent daily needs of an individual in the acute phase of an emergency situations, when there is no ability to cook due to a lack of clean water and cooking equipment.   The bars typically have up to a 5-year shelf life and are resistant to fluctuating temperatures – which makes them ideal for an emergency bag which may be exposed to heat and cold.  Good2GoCo carries SOS Emergency Ration Bars in the 3600Kcal size or in a case of 20.  My family and I have sampled them and in our opinion are really quite tasty!

  2. Meals Ready to Eat or MRE

    These are pre-packaged, self contained meals commonly used in the military.  They are meals that can be eaten hot or cold right out of the pouch (not so yummy when they are cold but completely safe to eat in this manner).   They often come with a flameless ration heater (FRH) which is a water activated chemical heater.  Although these types of meals were originally developed for the military, they are now available to civilian consumers to use when hiking, camping, fishing and other outdoor endeavours.  Beyond the meal being ready to eat, the other distinguishing feature about some of these types of meals is that they come as a full meal with a main course, side dish and dessert.  Many also come with a candy, eating utensils and so on.  They truly are complete!

  3. Quick Heat Meals

    These are meals that one can simply add boiling water to a pouch, zip it up to sit for a short period of time (generally 6-10 minutes) and voila….a piping hot meal ready to eat out of a pouch.  The bulk of these meals are made with pre-cooked – freeze dried and/or dehydrated ingredients in single serving sizes.  They are made for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Good2GoCo carries a couple of varieties of these meals such as some of the Happy Yak meals (developed and produced right here in Canada originally for extreme athletes) as well as Mountain House.  Again, these meals are designed for folks on the go – they are great to heat up at the end of a day of hiking, ATVing, fishing, camping OR at home when you are on the go and meal preparation just didn’t happen!

  4. Other Long-Term Storage Food: 

    The bulk of Long-term storage food requires the meal to be taken out of a pouch or can and poured into boiling water to cook for a period of 12-18 minutes (much like other packaged foods in our local grocery stores).  Most of this food has some ingredients that have been freeze dried and/or dehydrated, but can also contain elements that require cooking like rice, beans and pasta.  These meals generally come in mylar bags, and as I stated before, require cooking – and generally come in 4-6 servings sizes.  Good2GoCo again carries a variety of these types of meals from companies like Wise Company (now called ReadyWise), Augason Farms, and Emergency Essentials.

This quick little review doesn’t cover every type of Emergency/Long Term Storage food.  For example, there are also stand-alone ingredients like freeze dried fruits, veggies and meats.  Many of the companies that produce emergency and long-term storage food also provide options with single ingredients like beans, grains and rice in long terms storage cans or buckets.  

Next week, stay tuned for the start of a multi-blog series entitled "Where to Begin with Basic Emergency Preparedness".