Best Survival Food Companies: Top 3 Picks from Preppers, Buying Guide

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By Bryan Lynch •  13 min read
Best Survival Food Companies

In recent years emergency preparedness has exploded and there are now quite a few companies that specialize in survival food. 

Survival food is food that requires no or minimal cooking and is prepared and packaged in such a way that it has an extremely long shelf life.

In an emergency, when surviving becomes a day-to-day proposition, the above are two key components for riding out a rough patch as it relates to food.

When You Should Use An Emergency Food Supply

Emergencies can range from a two-day stint without power from a bad storm to something far more reaching and devastating. 

Since we never know what may come our way it is best to be as prepared as possible when it comes to food and food should certainly be a part of your emergency essentials.

Self-Sufficiency vs. Stockpiling for Long-Term Food Storage

The ultimate answer would be for people to be as self-sufficient as possible when it comes to their food supply. That would mean raising livestock, fishing, or maintaining a large garden. 

Considering that most of the population lives within large towns and cities this is not an immediate answer to storing food, but it should be the goal. 

Without having a renewable food source, looking to survival foods is a good choice for always having a stockpile of consumables on hand. This means building up your own stockpile of emergency foods.  

In this article, we will be looking at some of the most popular and best survival food companies out there as well as what you should look for when it comes to emergency food supplies.

What To Look For In Survival Food

long term food storage

When it comes to your emergency food supply and purchasing long-term food storage options, the four main factors to consider:

Price certainly plays a role but if you are looking to build an emergency food supply from emergency food storage companies, then you are going to find that almost all long-term food storage is not cheap.

Taste

The first thing to keep in mind is that survival food and items placed in long-term food storage is meant for survival. It is not going to taste like food from a five-star restaurant.

Having said that, prepackaged survival food has come a long way in terms of taste. Many years ago, emergency food tasted awful. I remember one of the first times I tried a Mountain House meal I made one of those faces.

But now, I have no problem opening a pouch or can and eating one of these emergency meals (even if it’s not an emergency!).

And that is a good thing considering this stuff does not last forever. This allows a person to eat some of their stockpiles while rotating them, rather than it being thrown away.

Now there are several companies to choose from, and they all taste a bit different. I recommend getting samples or buying a single pouch before purchasing an entire case or bucket. This will allow you to see which brand you like the best before committing too much money to a single brand.

Shelf Life 

How long survival food lasts is the name of the game and nowadays, most emergency food companies offer items with a long shelf life.

If it does not taste that great that is okay because you are eating it to survive and not for pleasure, but when an emergency arises, often we do not have access to the power grid. 

This primarily affects our ability to refrigerate and freeze items, which means without power, your normal food supplies will go bad.

What Shelf Life to Look For From Your Favorite Survival Food Company

Depending on the food storage company and the product they make, survival food can last anywhere from a few years to decades or more. The latter is the best option (some survival food companies boast a 25-year shelf life or more!).

Packaging

Valley Food Storage

Generally, survival food comes in either a pouch or a can. This can depend on the food type, how it is prepared, and the company that sells it. 

Emergency Food Kits in Pouches

Pouches are going to take up less space to store, can be resealable, and are much easier to transport, but the packaging can be easily punctured. 

Emergency Food Kits in Cans

Metal cans are going to be more durable but will take up more space to store and can be difficult to transport. 

Be sure that you are considering the type of packaging when it comes to purchasing survival food and your emergency plans.

 Also, have plenty of manual can openers with your food supplies if you are storing cans.  

Preparation 

boiling water

The other consideration is how the food needs to be prepared before consuming it.

Most survival food can be eaten as-is, but following the preparation instructions will make it more palatable or easier to digest. 

MREs and some of the canned food in liquid only need to be warmed up, but the freeze-dried meals need the addition of boiling water.

Typically, hot water is used because it makes it tastier and helps to “cook” the food, but in a pinch, cold water can be used to reconstitute it.


Best Survival Food Companies: My Three Picks 

I have not tested all the different types of emergency food out there, but I have tasted and stored three different brands that are quite popular and are considered by some to be the best survival food companies.

Mountain House Review

Mountain House

The Mountain House company can be traced back to providing meals for the United States Military during the Vietnam Conflict. 

These meals are so trusted that they have traveled to every corner of the Earth and have even been on trips to the Moon!

They are incredibly popular among outdoorsmen, hikers, survival-minded individuals, and those wanting to be prepared for the unknown. 

How to Store Mountain House Meals

These freeze-dried meals come in pouches, #10 cans, or buckets. If you are not sure how much food to store, this gives you the option of storing food in small amounts or bulk, making them a great long-term food storage solution. 

Mountain House foods include breakfast, entrees, desserts, sides, freeze-dried fruits, and meats. They have so many options that almost anyone can find something they like. 

Mountain House emergency food kits

This food also lasts a long time. Most of their products have a 30-year guarantee. This does not only mean it lasts for that long but that it still tastes good after three decades!

How to Prepare Mountain House Meals

Freeze Dried Food - Mountain House

When it is time to eat, all that is required of their dehydrated foods is a little boiling water and ten minutes of waiting. Mountain House isn’t considered just emergency food but it is also a popular option as camping food.

Pros – Mountain House Survival Food

Cons – Mountain House Survival Food

Mountain House Spicy Southwest Style Skillet | Freeze Dried Backpacking &...
  • DELICIOUS BREAKFAST! The spicy sourthwest hash is made with hash browns, shredded beef, black beans,...
  • NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS OR COLORS - Made with no artificial flavors or colors and gluten-free...

Last update on 2023-02-08 at 15:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We did more detailed reviews of Mountain House in this article.

Ready Wise Review

 Ready Wise

Ready Wise food is the only other freeze-dried product that I have tried that I have liked

They have a slightly different approach to how they make their meals than other survival food companies.

ReadyWise Offers More Variety Than Other Survival Food Companies

Basic 1 Month Emergency Food Bundle – ReadyWise

They use a combination of freeze-dried and dehydrated ingredients in their meals. This can create a meal with a better taste or texture, depending on the food item used. 

Their products boast a 25-year shelf life and are as easy to make as adding a cup of hot water.

These meals come in individual pouches that are then packed into boxes or sturdy buckets. 

food storage company emergency kits

One perk to ReadyWise is that they offer a wide range of food products that include meals, vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, and snacks. 

Pros – Readywise emergency food supplies

Cons – readywise emergency food supplies

ReadyWise Emergency Food Supply, Freeze-Dried Survival-Food Disaster Kit...
  • ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL KIT: Each variety pack contains 104 servings with 14 unique meal options.
  • JUST ADD WATER: Each entrée is easy to prepare in any emergency circumstance using just water.

Last update on 2023-02-08 at 15:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SURE-PAK from SOPAKCO Review

Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Review

SOPAKCO is another company that has provided food for the United States Military as well as other government and emergency agencies.

This company manufactures a range of different packaged food but since I have only consumed their MREs that is what I am focusing on. 

SOPAKCO MREs vs Freeze-Dried Foods

Amazon.com: Sure-Pak MRE Pack of 5 SOPAKCO Reduced Sodium Emergency Ration  Meals - Ready to Eat Variety Pack Factory Sealed … : Sports & Outdoors

MREs are different than freeze-dried food in that the food is placed into a pouch and then boiled. This sterilizes the contents of the pouch while the food within retains its moisture content. By retaining its moisture, the food can taste fresher than other survival food options.

Unlike freeze-dried food, MREs can be eaten straight out of the pouch much like canned food. However, some come with heaters that are activated by water, and who doesn’t like a warm meal?

The MRES I have eaten by SOPAKCO are very good and provide an all-around comforting meal in part due to the extras provided. 

For example, in SOPAKCO MRE meal kits I received there were:

While MREs can be more expensive per meal, the convenience and number of items included outweigh the cost in my opinion. 

Sure Pak MRE Meals Ready to Eat Case Pack of 12 for Survival and Emergency,...
  • Manufactured in 2015, check bottom of case for date code starting with 5
  • No refrigeration required with up to a 5 year shelf life-when stored at 70 degree's. Higher temps...

Last update on 2023-02-08 at 15:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Negatives to MREs as Emergency Food Storage Kits

sopakco food storage

The two biggest downsides to MRES are their shelf life and size. 

When stored at optimal conditions of around fifty degrees Fahrenheit they are good for up to five years. Five years is pretty darn good but it’s not as shelf-stable as freeze-dried food.

Although when stored at one hundred and twenty degrees, which is quite warm, they are still good for about a month. 

Given how they are processed and all that is included in an MRE, they are a bit bulky and can be a pain to store in bulk.

Pros – SOPAKCO Emergency Food Supply

Cons – Sopakco emergency food supply

Other Emergency Survival Food Companies…

survival food kits

There are MANY other emergency food brands out there. We have done reviews of the following emergency food supply companies as well:

Check out those reviews for more details.


Open Questions about Survival Food Companies

Do survival foods go bad?

Thrive Life Foods Freeze Dried Food

Most do not go bad in the traditional sense that they will make you sick if consumed after the expiration date. If they have surpassed the best by date, generally they are still good to eat but may not taste as good.

However, since most food storage companies boast such a long shelf life for their products, there really isn’t a reason for your food supply to go bad (always remember to use, rotate, and restock!).

Should I buy only MRES or only freeze-dried food?

Legacy food storage

This is a personal choice as it relates to your taste, budget, and storage capabilities. But I have found a mixture of the two provides more options in terms of preparation, transport, and storage, and prevents menu fatigue. 

Pouches from a freeze-dried food company are lightweight but may not fill your belly. Whereas MREs are bulkier and heavier but tend to be more satisfying. It’s my opinion that having a variety in your survival kits is key.

Where should survival food be stored?

valley food storage

In almost every case, you should store food in cool, dry locations, away from direct sunlight. Additionally, freezing is often used for long-term food storage but this could be detrimental to the shelf life of the product depending on the type of food it is and its packaging.

But most manufacturers will provide instructions on their websites for how their food is best stored.

Can I make survival food at home?

homemade emergency supplies

There are some types of food like hardtack and pemmican that you can make at home and I think everyone should add homemade foods to their emergency supplies.

Overall though, for a full diet, unless you are self-sufficient, these food packages are a great bet and should be a part of your emergency meal kits.


Further Reading…

We recommend reading the following articles to get a better sense:

Also you can take a look into supplementing ready-to-go meals with emergency food bars


Wrapping It Up

So thus far in my experience, those are my top three picks for the best emergency food suppliers, Mountain House products, Ready Wise food storage, and SOPAKCO MREs.

One of the best options when it comes to survival food is having a renewable source that you can draw from and be self-reliant upon, which will also determine how much food you need to put away in your food storage.

But things can go sideways in a hurry and survival foods, like those listed in this article, can help to fill gaps in your preparations for emergency food storage. Also, don’t forget a food supply for emergency pet kits if you have critters around the house.

Remember, the best emergency food that you have is what you have.

Thanks for reading and stay prepared!

Do you have any experience with companies featured in this article? If so please sound off in the comment section below and let us know!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.