There are almost a countless number of worst-case scenarios that can occur. From war with a foreign power, to an EMP, to natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, there are many reasons we might need the best emergency food to be on hand.
Ready.gov recommends that families have at least three days of non-perishable food on hand.
We keep far more than that. Prepping for a future in which there is scarcity means making sure you can feed your family for at least months, if not years.
These are all suitable for long-term storage of at least five years. Read on to learn about the options for the best emergency food out there and find out our pick for the best.
Best Emergency Food FAQ
1. What Is the Best Emergency Food?
The best emergency food is easy to store and lasts for a long time. Calorie count is also important. The best emergency food gives you the calories you need to survive in an emergency.
The best emergency food should come vacuum-packed or sealed, preferably in mylar bags. It should be cold and heat resistant and should not melt easily.
2. How Should I Store the Best Emergency Food?
For long-term food storage, keep these items in cool conditions. These emergency food items can withstand extreme cold and heat so they are there when you need them in emergencies.
If you are storing food yourself, like dried beans, you want to remove all moisture from the pouches or mylar bags before sealing them. (Wondering how to use up those dried beans? Here are some creative, delicious ways!)
3. Where Can I Buy the Best Emergency Food?
The best emergency food can be bought on Amazon.com, government surplus outlets, and many retail stores. You can, of course, also make your own.
4. What Is Emergency Food Used For?
Any time you may face an extreme situation or conditions, you want the best emergency food to be there. Hunting, camping, and road trips are other times you’d want some supplies also.
5. What’s the Difference Between Emergency and Regular Food?
Emergency food is nutrient-rich, dense, compact, and portable. It is designed to have a long shelf life and to withstand tough environmental conditions. It should not contain easily perishable ingredients.
The focus is on packing as many calories and nutrients into as little space as possible.
How We Reviewed the Best Emergency Food
The products in this list were reviewed based on the following parameters: We took into account the overall nutritional value of each emergency food item, and the shelf life.
Then we also made sure that you can have it delivered, the packaging stands up to your needs, and that it lasts as long as you would expect.
Overall Price Range
The price range of the best emergency food depends on the ingredients and the calorie count. A higher price gets you more daily calories and better quality.
On the high end are meat and seafood. On the low end, legumes, grains, and vegetable-based foods
When looking at the price, it is important to think about calories. It’s better to pay more to get a product that gives you the calories you need in an emergency than to have a product you can’t survive on.
What We Reviewed
- Wild Planet Wild Pink Salmon
- S.O.S. Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bar
- Food to Live Black Turtle Beans
- Survival Tabs 8-Day Food Supply
- Nutristore Freeze Dried Chicken
- Millennium Energy Bars
- Garden of Life Whole Food Vegetable Supplement
- Wise Company Emergency Food Variety Pack
- Mountain House Essential Bucket
Wild Planet Wild Pink Salmon
Wild Pink Salmon from Wild Planet is sold in packs of 12. The salmon is caught sustainably in the waters of Alaska by local fishing families. Wild Planet is committed to sustainable fishing practices that don’t negatively impact the local habitat.
Wild pink salmon is one of our picks for the best emergency food because it is a nutritious food. One six-ounce can contains more than 1000mg of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA Omega 3.
Plus, each can is gluten-free, non-GMO, and OU Kosher Pareve.
When you eat this salmon, there’s no need to drain the can. Keep the juices for the most flavorful taste.
Canned fish like wild pink salmon should last for at least three to five years. We recommend you replace your oldest cans to ensure freshness.
S.O.S. Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bar
The food bars from S.O.S. are one of the best emergency food options because they are vacuum packed in mylar packaging. In an emergency, having these bars around can mean the difference between hunger and getting the calories you need.
In an emergency, each person should eat three food bars per day. They come wrapped in packages of 9 bars each with 10 packs total. Each pack is enough to last one person 72 hours.
Just because it’s emergency food doesn’t mean it’s necessary to sacrifice taste. The bars taste somewhat like a shortbread cookie with a chewy texture.
The shelf life is approximately five years. Since these are crumbly, they are better suited for long-term storage in a fallout shelter or basement than in a backpack.
Food to Live Black Turtle Beans
Key features of this product include plenty of sizes, including 10-, 15-, and 25-pound bags. Food to Live‘s Black Turtle Beans are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. These beans are versatile and can be used in your favorite Latin American, Cajun, or Mexican dishes.
The beans are high in protein and fully kosher. They are also high in fiber and flavonoids, which contain antioxidants.
These beans are organic and non-GMO.
Dried beans are the best emergency food because they can be kept for longer than 30 years when stored properly. They come in resealable plastic bags.
Survival Tabs 8-Day Food SupplyNo products found.
Key features of these survival tabs include nutritious food tabs with 24 tablets per pouch and four pouches per order. By taking one tab per hour, up to 12 per day, the supply will last one person for eight days.
This is a bare survival food that will get you through tough emergency situations. At 240 calories per day, they are designed for conditions where you can conserve energy.
These nutritional food tabs come with all 15 USDA vitamins and minerals that a person needs to survive. Its small design makes it easy to fit into the best emergency food storage kits.
Each pouch comes in one of four flavors: butterscotch, chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.
Each tab contains 25% fat, 9% protein, 58% carbohydrates, and 18 mg of iron.
If you’re looking for a compact way to get all of your nutrition, these Survival Tabs are an excellent addition to your emergency food storage kit.
Nutristore Freeze Dried Chicken
This diced freeze-dried chicken lasts for 25 years and has been inspected for microbes by the USDA.
Each no. 10 can has 20 large servings, and is good for a full year after opening. The can comes with a plastic lid to use while you are using the product. There are 130 calories per serving.
The meat rehydrates to a tender consistency quickly and is sure to please the family’s tastebuds as well as their protein needs.
The freeze-dried meat may powder a bit with rough handling. That powder is great for use in soups, stews, and other foods that could use some flavor or thickening.
There is no added spices or seasoning in this chicken, which results in a bland flavor without a pinch of salt added.
Millennium Energy Bars
Key features of these energy bars include a five-year shelf life and approval by the US Coast Guard. Each 400-calorie bar contains 18 grams of fat. They come in nine delicious flavors: raspberry, blueberry, coconut, apricot, orange, lemon, vanilla, cherry, and tropical.
Try Millenium Energy Bars for your best emergency food storage kit. They are lightweight and customers report they love the taste.
You can try all nine flavors when you order the 36 pack from Amazon.com.
These bars are best used for supplemental energy and not as a primary source of food. If you wanted 2,000 calories per day and only ate these bars, one 36-bar box from Amazon would last about 7 days!
Garden of Life Whole Food Vegetable Supplement
Key features of this vegetable supplement include a healthful blend that’s packed with antioxidant green whole grasses and grass juices; sea vegetables; whole vegetables and their juices; microalgae; sprouted grains; seeds; legumes; and cherries.
It also contains spirulina for immune system support. If you take just one serving of this superfood supplement, it’s the same as drinking 140 grams of fresh grass juice. It’s a true concentrated dose of healthy greens, seeds, and grasses.
The supplement is available either as caplets or in a powder. You can add a scoop of the powder to a glass of water or use it as part of a healthy smoothie.
Wise Company Emergency Food Variety Pack
Key features of this variety pack include a nice selection of meals from fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains. All you have to do is add boiling water — no cooking necessary.
Each bucket comes with 104 meals and we love the variety. Examples are packets of creamy vegetable rotini, a pouch of creamy tomato basil soup, and pouches of freeze-dried peas and corn. Please note the serving count includes some non-meals such as butter sauces and milk.
The Wise Company Variety Pack has a 25-year shelf life, perfect for long-term storage.
Mountain House Essential Bucket
Key features of this product include enough meals to feed a person for 3.5 days, based on 2,000 calories per day. The Mountain House Essential Bucket is great to have on hand for emergency food storage or RV and camping trips.
The bucket contains 12 total meals. There are four pouches of Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef, four pouches of Mountain House Rice and Chicken, and four pouches of Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.
It’s easy to add boiling water to the packets and eat out of them directly. Mountain House also has a good reputation for taste so you might enjoy these while you’re eating them!
The Bottom Line
While some of these options are tasty in short-term situations, they are not cost-effective in the long run. With that in mind, we chose Food to Live’s Black Turtle Beans as our top must-have.
The beans are non-GMO and high in protein. They can be cooked in many ways that your family won’t get sick of. Plus, they can last over 30 years when stored properly!