The Best Emergency Food Supplier [2023]

This is an updated review guide on the best emergency food supplier. Our first review roundup was a few years ago and we will continue to update as new products are released and as new emergency food supply companies emerge.

When things don’t go as planned one of the first things to sell out are emergency food kits. Supply chain disruptions cause chaos and panic at grocery stores, and food becomes scarce. This is why long-term food storage buckets have been a mainstay of preparedness for over 50 years. Whether it’s a regional disaster or a national catastrophe, a prepper food kit as part of your food storage plan can keep you fed through it all.

There are many different brands from several companies to pick from. The number of prepper food kit choices can be overwhelming. This is where we come in. We have plenty of combined experience with pre-made food storage kits and have put in the research and testing. We pinpointed three brands that rose above the rest, with good value, reliable shelf lives, and best of all: they actually taste good.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Legacy Food Storage Supply

The Best Emergency Food Supplier

Legacy Food Storage

Great value, high-calorie content, and best taste.

Weather any emergency with a great-tasting versatile food kit that covers all the bases.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Legacy Food Storage is one of the leading freeze-dried emergency food manufacturers. Legacy has phenomenal price breaks for bulk purchases, so if you are stocking up for over six months you can find bulk kits that easily cost less than $10 per pound. They are not flashy or loud, but as you can see down in the comparison table they pack the most value, nutrition, and taste that money can buy.

Legacy also has great customer service and is known for its quality control. Other brands can have busted bags or packing errors in their buckets – something you don’t want to find out in an emergency. Taste-wise, Legacy has the best flavor we have tried and it does not need much seasoning/condiment support like other brands. The 25-year shelf life is standard for Legacy, where you will find some other brands reducing that all the way down to just 7 years. If you are serious about your food storage and preparedness, you can’t go wrong by going with Legacy Food Storage.

Augason Farms 72 Hour Emergency Food Kit

Budget Emergency Food Supplier

Augason Farms

Cost-effective, long shelf life, and large variety.

Pack your pantry with one of the cheapest prepper food suppliers that will provide good-tasting calories during any disaster.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Augason Farms provides one of the cheapest emergency food suppliers you can find. Because they are less expensive, they are manufactured in higher volume and are usually one of the last brands of emergency food kits to sell out in an emergency. Along with backpackers’ favorite brand Mountain House, you can find Augason Farms at many Walmart locations. Being widely available and at a lower cost makes Augason Farms an excellent choice for last-minute preppers or preppers on a budget.

One thing we love about Augason Farms is the variety they offer. They also rotate through some pretty solid deals regularly and stay on our prepper deal finder page with sales that make it easy to stock the pantry. If you are on a budget and need to stock calories, Augason Farms is the one to watch for.

Nutrient Survival Emergency Food Supplier

Upgrade Emergency Food Supplier

Nutrient Survival

Nutritional, Smartly Packed, and Delicious.

Individual packaging and the most nutrient-dense option on the market make these the top pick for those serious about survival.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Nutrient Survival is a relative newcomer to the emergency food supplier game, but they are knocking it out of the park with their products. The serving-size packaging they offer are ideal for camping, hiking, and mobile kits like:

  • Bug Out Bags
  • Get Home Bags
  • INCH Bags
  • and even Everyday Carry!

This food is packed full of crucial vitamins and minerals- and easily tops the charts in protein as well. Filler carbs are noteably absent. For those that get out there and use their survival gear and put it through the paces, Nutrient Survival is well worth it and our new absolute favorite as our upgrade pick.

Everything We Recommend

Legacy Food Storage Emergency Food Supplier

Legacy Food Storage

Weather any emergency with a great-tasting versatile food kit that covers all the bases.

Where to Buy

$48* at Legacy Food Storage

$48* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Augason Farms Emergency Food Supplier

Augason Farms

Pack your pantry with one of the cheapest prepper food buckets that will provide good-tasting calories during any disaster.

Where to Buy

$30* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Nutrient Survival Emergency Food Supplier

Nutrient Survival

Individual packaging and the most nutrient-dense option on the market make these the top pick for those serious about survival.

Where to Buy

$129* at Nutrient Survival

*at time of reviewing

The Brands and Suppliers We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several contenders that we tested: Mountain House, Legacy Food Storage, Readywise, 4Patriots, Emergency Essentials, Ready Hour, Augason Farms, Nutrient Survival, NorthWest Fork, and more. Once we got past the numbers, such as cost, calories, estimated shelf life, and nutritional content, we went into our taste tests. People’s individual taste preferences can vary, but it is still easy to tell when the whole group decides that one brand tastes better than the other brand. All of this information together helped us inform our recommendations.

Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated

You may have noticed that all of the kits that we considered use freeze-dried foods. This is important because of the longer shelf life freeze drying can provide. Freeze drying removes 98% of the water content from food, making it extremely shelf-stable. For comparison, dehydrating only removes 80% of the water. Canning removes none.

We still recommend canning and dehydrating for long-term food storage, but freeze-dried kits are still the best ‘fire and forget’ way to be prepared for an emergency. When an air-tight bucket with mylar-wrapped freeze-dried food can last well over 30 years in the right storage conditions- you won’t find a better option for long-term food storage.

How They Stacked Up

To easily compare brands, we checked out a common offering across most: the 72-hour single-person kit. With approximately 6,000 calories each, these cover the minimum preparedness recommendations and make it easy to compare cost, calories, nutritional content, and shelf life:

72-Hour Kit SupplierCostCaloriesNutritionShelf LifeOther Notes
Legacy Food Storage$486,000208g protein25 years4 pouches, 16 servings
Augason Farms$305,820141g protein25 years5 pouches, 25 servings
Nutrient Survival$129*7,000370g protein15 years25 pouches, 25 servings
Valley Food Storage$705,800110g protein25 years5 pouches, 32 servings
4Patriots$293,76064g protein25 years3 pouches, 16 servings
Mountain House$855,118222g protein30 years9 pouches, 18 servings
ReadyWise$405,560140g protein25 years6 pouches, 32 servings
*includes dry sack as part of the kit

What to Look For

The best prepper food kits have several important features to look for:

  1. Cost
  2. Calories
  3. Nutritional Content
  4. Shelf Life
  5. Taste

Below, we break down what each of these means for the best prepper food kits. When you get the right blend of these, you get the best overall value. Each one is important- it would be a mistake to prioritize cost over taste, for example.

Cost vs Serving Size

There are two main factors that affect how much your long-term food storage kit will cost: brand and quantity.

Brands charge different amounts for the same product on paper, but they use a clever marketing trick to make cross-shopping quantity harder. This trick is the serving size. Most brands advertise dollar per serving when a more accurate measure could be dollar per pound. The problem with measuring how good a cost is by weight is that manufacturers start adding fillers to reduce cost and increase weight. Their products are lower calorie and have much less nutritional value.

This is why it is important to compare costs to all of the other factors, not just one.

Calories per Pound

To really cut through the BS marketing above, with serving size tampering and extra fillers for weight, you need to look at calorie weight.

Calorie weight is a great measure of how much energy a food packs per spoonsful. The higher, the better (in most instances). It is also good when you are eating in a hurry or on the go. Higher calories mean that every bite brings that much more energy.

Weighing some apples
Quantity isn’t everything. Nutrition, and especially calories, are important for long-term food storage.

Calories are king when it comes to survival food, but they still don’t show the total picture. Without nutritional content, your survival food kit will leave you malnourished and unable to process those calories.

Nutritional Content

Proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals work together to keep your organs healthy and working properly. When you create a long-term food storage plan, you will want a wide variety of food types to create balanced meals. Stocking up on one type of food is ill-advised, even if it is a freeze-dried food kit. Many brands offer varieties of buckets and kits, and you should get a mix that will give you and your family balanced nutritional rations.

Freeze-Dried Food Shelf Life

Shelf life for freeze-dried foods typically varies from five years to thirty- depending on the contents of the food and the packing methods. Besides foods that do not have a shelf life, this is as good as you can get. If you are lucky enough to get close to your emergency food expiration date, you will want to re-order to replace your stockpile. This is a good chance to crack them open and eat what you would have during an emergency.

Legacy Oxygen Absorber
Oxygen absorbers can help air-tight buckets improve even freeze-dried shelf life beyond 25 years.

Whenever you do a taste test or use any of your emergency food, be sure to restock quickly so you aren’t caught empty-handed during an emergency.

The Issue of Taste

Nobody expects freeze-dried food to taste like a perfectly cooked steak from your town’s best steakhouse. But, the taste still matters- just ask any soldier that was tossed one of the worst MREs in the field. As I quickly learned from MREs, condiments can definitely help food kits with bland flavors.

Why Emergency Food Supplies are Important for Survival

Food is an important part of our daily lives. It is a survival priority and the survival rule of three says we can’t live long without it. Our research shows that you can’t go much further than three weeks without food, and even that is without expending much energy.

Most food we eat throughout the week can’t last more than a few days on its own. Food goes bad- decomposition is just how the world works. Humans have had many accomplishments over the years in attempting to improve the shelf life of food. We’ve salt-packed meat and invented refrigeration, freezers, and supermarkets. The latest and most profound innovation? The freeze-dried food kit.

Freezing meat makes it last 1,500 times longer than it would at room temperature.

Freeze-dried foods can make meat last up to 100 times as long as freezing.

So, freeze-dried foods can extend your period to eat that food by 150,000 times!

A few centuries ago, people would have marveled at this achievement. We send astronauts to space with freeze-dried food. The military uses this food as standard issue MREs in deployment zones. The only downside is cost- otherwise, there would be no hunger for anyone on the planet. The freeze-drying process is manufacturing-intensive, using expensive machinery with high energy costs.

Astronaut Freeze Dried Food
Astronauts actually bring food preserved by several different methods. The longest lasting though? Freeze Dried.

Some may balk at the cost of survival food kits, but the kit is assurance that you can feed yourself and your family any time you need to for up to 30 years. The costs, when compared with the risks in this world of grocery supply chain disruption, are minuscule. There are many, many reasons why the delicate supply chains that bring food around the world could be destabilized. There is one good way to prepare for this eventuality: getting an emergency food kit.

Who Needs Emergency Food Supplies?

Everyone eats, and everyone can benefit from a prepper food kit stored away for an emergency.

Most preppers store these food kits at their primary residence, along with their tools and other contingency supplies:

Emergency food buckets (because of their sturdy design with handles) can also be used in this kits if you are using a Bug Out Vehicle (BOV):

If they are able, many preppers keep prepper food kits stored at their Bug Out Location (BOL). Anywhere that you could be spending time in an emergency would be a good option for storing extra food with an extremely long shelf life.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

Our analysis of the best emergency food suppliers would be useless without crediting our sources and references. We leaned on these resources for the book knowledge that we paired with our practical military and emergency management experience. If you would like to learn even more about prepper food kits, how freeze-dried food works, and research studies conducted on food shelf life, dig into our sources:

Denkenberger, D. & Pearce, J. (2015). Feeding Everyone No Matter What: Managing Food Security After Global Catastrophe. Academic Press. (Source).

Ratti, C. (2008). Freeze Drying and Vacuum Drying of Foods. Drying Technologies in Food Processing. Blackwell Publishing. pg 225. (Source).

Subramaniam, P. & Kilcast, D. (2010). The Stability and Shelf-Life of Food. Woodhead Publishing. (Source)

The Final Word

Food is one of the most important things a prepper can stockpile, and food kits make it easy. A hundred years ago people spent a considerable amount of their life planning and preparing food storage, yet today we can preserve food for an extremely long time with freeze-drying technology.

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing settled on Legacy Food Storage as the best option based on their quality, selection, nutrition, taste, and value.

As always, I suggest that you try your food kit out. Make sure you know how to cook it, that it is being stored properly, and that it has enough calories, nutrition, and variation in taste. If you’ve had it for a while, be sure to check the expiration date and cycle your inventory if you have to. If you are looking to learn more about food storage, check out these articles we’ve written up:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Emergency Food Suppliers for Prepping and Survival

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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