Thursday, August 6, 2015

Which Food Storage Company is Right for You?

When first starting out on your path to preparedness, it is easy to get bombarded and overwhelmed with the amount of companies and all that they offer.  Each one claims they have the best, know the most, and cost the least.  With so many food storage companies available, how can you be sure you pick the best one for you?

Before you do anything, make a plan

You need to know what you want.
If you don't know what your preparedness plan is, then you can't be sure of what and where to get it.  Don't fall victim to what someone else believes is the best.  What works for them may not work as well for you.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

Budget
- What kind of budget do you have?
- Are you planning to buy everything all at once?  Or do you want to purchase things weekly / monthly / annually?
- How much do you care about saving money as opposed to just getting it done?

Consider your Geographical Location and Space
- Where do you plan to put everything?  Do you have enough space to fill under your bed, a closet,   or an entire room? 
- What is the average temperature of your home?  Do you have a basement that provides a cold, dark, dry location? Or is the coldest room in your house averaging 70 degrees year round?
- What is the humidity like?
- Are you legally allowed to have food storage?
- What local food storage amenities do you have?  Do you need to consider the cost of shipping?

Most importantly, what is your idea of food storage, and what does that include?
- How long of a supply are you preparing to have, and for how many people?
- Are you planning your supply based on calories?  Or meals?
- Do you plan to have a short (up to 5 years) or long (20+ years) term food plan?  Or both?
- Does everything in that plan need to be shelf stable (no refrigeration required)?
- How long of a shelf life are you wanting/expecting your food storage to have?
- Do you want to have a basic/survival plan, a luxury plan, or somewhere in-between?
- How important is nutritional value?
- Are you planning to use your food storage only in an emergency?  Or are you planning to rotate through your items regularly?
- Does your garden or local farmers market play a role?
- Do you preserve your own food?  By canning, dehydrating, freezing, etc.?
- If purchasing everything, are you more interested in individually packaged foods?  Or pre made meals where you just add water?

The question of which company to consider largely depends on what your food storage goals are.
No decisions should be made until you've come up with a basic idea of what you want.

For example, this is what my idea of food storage is:

I want a 3-6 month short term supply of foods that we regularly consume, so our eating lifestyle will not drastically change if an emergency occurs.
In addition I also want a 1 year long term storage supply that can be used after our short term is depleted.  This plan would include basic/survival foods in the event of a long term disaster.

Food storage is my lifestyle.  I buy what I eat, and I eat what I store.  No item in my storage is "stashed away for a rainy day".  I know how to use everything and do so regularly.
My garden, local grocery store, farmers markets, and fruit stands play a significant role.  I include the contents of my refrigerator and freezer, as well as canned and home bottled goods.  Dehydrated and freeze dried foods also have a place.

Because of this, my food storage is budgeted into my weekly grocery allowance.  I consider all of it 'grocery shopping' because I use all of it.  I generally buy large quantities of one item when it is on sale, and that lasts me until it goes on sale again.  I am not willing to buy everything at once, because it is more realistic for me to budget slowly, and save money by purchasing sale items.

I enjoy cooking.  I believe I get more use out of individually packaged food storage items, as opposed to meals that you add water to.  I also like the idea of being able to prepare numerous menu's, as opposed to the limits that pre-made meals have.  However, I understand the value in convenience, as well as the unlikely event of something happening to me, so I do include some ready made meals for my family's sake.

So, which food storage company is best for me?  Simple:
All of them.
I realize this may not be the case for your family.  That is why over the next several weeks I will be taking you on a virtual tour.  I will evaluate several emergency preparedness and food storage companies and post all of my findings here.
I'll tell you what I like and don't like about them.
What makes them unique.
What types of products they offer.
What they specialize in.
The pro's and con's.
Where can you purchase their products (locally, online, or both).
And finally, how can you get the best deal, both on a monthly budget or by purchasing all at once?

I invite you to make a plan for your family.
Think about what your goals and needs are.  Determine what kind of food storage you want to have, and what your budget will allow.
Once you've decided this, be sure to follow along and learn about the different companies available and which one is best for you.  

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