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Emergency Food

An Affordable One-Year Emergency Food Supply
and
A Really Cheap One-Year Emergency Food Supply

Copyright January 1, 2014 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
Revised May 2, 2016.
All Rights Reserved.



Note: All food prices in this article were obtained on May 2, 2016.

Some people have not yet purchased a one-year emergency food supply because they simply cannot afford it.

This article will provide two options for people who do not have very much money:
  1. An Affordable One-Year Emergency Food Supply (2,000 calories per day for $771), and

  2. A Really Cheap One-Year Emergency Food Supply (1,800 calories per day for $468).
Let's begin by looking at the affordable option first.


An Affordable One-Year Emergency Food Supply
for One Adult (2,000 Calories per Day)

All cost data in the following table was obtained on May 2, 2016.

QuantityFood ItemTotal CaloriesTotal Net WeightSpace RequiredTotal Cost
60 PoundsLong Grain White Rice (5 or 10 pound bags)90,000 Calories60 Pounds1.174 Cubic Feet$ 26
50 PoundsDry Beans (Pinto, Navy, and Black) (2 or 4 pound bags)65,000 Calories50 Pounds0.911 Cubic Feet$ 39
8 BagsCornmeal (5 pound bags) (or 1 Dent Corn in a 40 pound bucket)64,000 Calories40 Pounds0.656 Cubic Feet$ 22
18 BagsFlour (5 pound bags, not self-rising) (or 2 Wheat Berries in 45 pound buckets)135,00 Calories90 Pounds1.604 Cubic Feet$ 31
30 PoundsDry Pasta Noodles (Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Macaroni) (1 pound boxes)50,400 Calories30 Pounds0.699 Cubic Feet$ 30
10 Boxes"Quaker" Oats (Regular or Quick) (42 ounce boxes)45,000 Calories26.25 Pounds1.516 Cubic Feet$ 40
7 BoxesInstant Potatoes Complete (32 oz.) (or 4 #10 cans at 59 oz. each)24,080 Calories14 Pounds0.711 Cubic Feet$ 21
60 CansTomato Paste (6 ounce cans) (or 2 Tomato Powder in #10 cans at 64 oz. each)7,500 Calories22.5 Pounds0.528 Cubic Feet$ 28
26 CansSpam (12 ounce cans)26,520 Calories19.5 Pounds0.439 Cubic Feet$ 69
52 CansVienna Sausage (5 ounce cans)19,500 Calories16.25 Pounds0.520 Cubic Feet$ 28
18 CansTuna in Oil (5 ounce cans) (or 6 Salmon in 15 oz. cans)3,366 Calories5.75 Pounds0.164 Cubic Feet$ 24
12 CansChicken Breast (10 ounce cans)2,700 Calories7.5 Pounds0.209 Cubic Feet$ 29
12 CansRoast Beef (12 ounce cans)4,500 Calories9 Pounds0.250 Cubic Feet$ 48
6 BoxesInstant Powdered Milk (64 oz. boxes) (or 6 #10 Cans at 56 oz. each)38,400 Calories24 Pounds1.367 Cubic Feet$ 90
6 JarsClover Honey (16 ounce glass jars)7,680 Calories6 Pounds0.231 Cubic Feet$ 27
6 BagsGranulated Sugar (5 pound bags)51,000 Calories30 Pounds0.495 Cubic Feet$ 17
6 Containers"Hershey's" Cocoa Powder (8 ounce containers)5,400 Calories3 Pounds0.177 Cubic Feet$ 19
6 BottlesExtra-Virgin Olive Oil (50.7 fluid ounce glass bottles)72,000 Calories18.75 Pounds0.425 Cubic Feet$ 78
12 PoundsCorn Starch (1 pound boxes)20,160 Calories12 Pounds0.398 Cubic Feet$ 12
12 PoundsBaking Soda (1 pound boxes)0 Calories12 Pounds0.230 Cubic Feet$ 9
6 BottlesCream of Tartar (2.62 ounce glass bottles)0 Calories1 Pound0.041 Cubic Feet$ 30
12 Packets"Hodgson Mill" Active Dry Yeast (5/16 ounce packets)0 Calories0.25 Pound0.011 Cubic Feet$ 6
6 BottlesVanilla Extract (2 fluid ounce glass bottles)0 Calories1.5 Pounds0.049 Cubic Feet$ 30
5 ContainersSalt (2 Iodizedd 26 oz. and 1 Non-Iodized 26 oz. and 2 Lite Salt 11 oz.)0 Calories6.25 Pounds0.168 Cubic Feet$ 8
2 ContainersBlack Peppercorns (18 oz. each) (or Ground Black Pepper)0 Calories2.25 Pounds0.102 Cubic Feet$ 10
- -Summary Totals =732,206 Calories507.75 Pounds13.075 Cubic Feet$ 771

Summary Totals for the Affordable One-Year Emergency Food Supply

For approximately $771 you could purchase enough food to feed one adult for one year at the rate of 2,000 calories per day.

The food would have a net weight of approximately 508 pounds (food only without the package). Using a 365 day year, this means one adult would consume approximately 1.4 pounds of food each day. This is the dry weight of the original food before it has been cooked with water.

Or this same amount of food would last two adults for one year if each adult only consumed 1,000 calories of food per day. However, each adult would gradually lose a little weight over the course of the year. But this may be desirable if the two adults were a little overweight at the beginning of the hard times.

If you add an additional 5% for the average weight of the package that contains the food, this would be approximately 533 pounds of packaged food. If you had to move all your food to another location this would be the approximate amount of weight you would need to move.

To store the food you will require approximately 13.075 cubic feet of space. This is the theoretical minimum amount of space and it does not include space loss between packages or between stacks. If you allow an additional 10% for lost space between packages of different sizes then this would be approximately 14.38 cubic feet of storage space. This means you could store the food in an area that was approximately 2 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 3.6 feet tall (or 1.8 meters by 1.8 meters by 3.3 meters).

Personal Preferences

The above list is a reasonable starting position for the average family.

But each family will need to modify the above list to accommodate the tastes and preferences of their individual family members.
  1. If you do not like the taste of one of the above recommended foods then eliminate it from the list.
  2. If you really, really like one of the above foods then purchase more of it than the list recommends.
  3. If your family likes a food that is not on the above list then add as much of it as you believe is appropriate.
When you are finished making changes to the above list then you will have a list of foods that is just right for your family and those will be the foods you should purchase for a future emergency situation.

Some More Information about the Above Emergency Foods

If you eat the same foods during hard times that you ate during normal times then this will help to prevent appetite fatigue, weight loss, and poor health.

If your family is looking forward to each meal then this will also help to maintain a more agreeable atmosphere within your home during hard times.

The above list includes a reasonable variety of different foods. If you will strategically utilize the above foods then you could create an interesting and pleasant variety of meals for your family to enjoy.

For example, if you used nothing but the foods in the above list (plus water) then you could prepare meals that include some combination of the following:
  1. Rice or Pasta or Potatoes.
  2. Meat.
  3. Beans, such as Refried Beans, or Beans & Wieners.
  4. 100% Whole Wheat Loaf Bread, French Bread, Sourdough Bread, Biscuits, Rolls.
  5. Sandwich Buns, English Muffin Loaf, Pita Bread, Pizza Crust, Flour Tortillas.
  6. Salt Rising Loaf Bread, Choctaw Indian Fry Bread, Sourdough Bread.
  7. Mixed Grain Loaf Bread (about 75% wheat flour plus some combination of cornmeal and/or oat flour and/or bean flour to provide a taste surprise).
  8. Bagels, Pretzels, Corn Chips, Taco Shells, Corn Pone, Corn Dogs, Hush Puppies.
  9. Basic Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Honey Cookies, Pudding, Chocolate Cake, Pie Crust, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream.
  10. Sweetened Condensed Milk, Baby Formula, Gatorade, Hot Chocolate, Vanilla Milk Shake, Chocolate Milk Shake.
All the above recipes are on my web site here.
The above recipes, plus a lot more, are also included in my cookbook Grandpappy's Recipes for Hard Times.

Now let's take a look at a really cheap one-year emergency food supply.


A Really Cheap One-Year Emergency Food Supply
for One Adult (1,800 Calories per Day)

All cost data in the following table was obtained on May 2, 2016.

QuantityFood ItemTotal CaloriesTotal Net WeightSpace RequiredTotal Cost
60 PoundsLong Grain White Rice (5 or 10 pound bags)90,000 Calories60 Pounds1.174 Cubic Feet$ 26
80 PoundsDry Beans (Pinto, Navy, and Black) (2 or 4 pound bags)104,000 Calories80 Pounds1.458 Cubic Feet$ 62
8 BagsCornmeal (5 pound bags) (or 1 Dent Corn in a 40 pound bucket)64,000 Calories40 Pounds0.656 Cubic Feet$ 22
18 BagsFlour (5 pound bags, not self-rising) (or 2 Wheat Berries in 45 pound buckets)135,000 Calories90 Pounds1.604 Cubic Feet$ 31
30 PoundsDry Pasta Noodles (Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Macaroni) (1 pound boxes)50,400 Calories30 Pounds0.699 Cubic Feet$ 30
10 Boxes"Quaker" Oats (Regular or Quick) (42 ounce boxes)45,000 Calories26.25 Pounds1.516 Cubic Feet$ 40
7 BoxesInstant Potatoes Complete (32 oz.) (or 4 #10 cans at 59 oz. each)24,080 Calories14 Pounds0.711 Cubic Feet$ 21
60 CansTomato Paste (6 ounce cans) (or 2 Tomato Powder in #10 cans at 64 oz. each)7,500 Calories22.5 Pounds0.528 Cubic Feet$ 28
4 BoxesInstant Powdered Milk (64 oz. boxes) (or 4 #10 Cans at 56 oz. each)25,600 Calories16 Pounds1.367 Cubic Feet$ 60
4 BagsGranulated Sugar (5 pound bags)34,000 Calories20 Pounds0.330 Cubic Feet$ 11
3 Containers"Hershey's" Cocoa Powder (8 ounce containers)2,700 Calories1.5 Pounds0.089 Cubic Feet$ 10
6 BottlesExtra-Virgin Olive Oil (50.7 fluid ounce glass bottles)72,000 Calories18.75 Pounds0.425 Cubic Feet$ 78
6 PoundsCorn Starch (1 pound boxes)10,080 Calories6 Pounds0.199 Cubic Feet$ 6
12 PoundsBaking Soda (1 pound boxes)0 Calories12 Pounds0.230 Cubic Feet$ 9
12 Packets"Hodgson Mill" Active Dry Yeast (5/16 ounce packets)0 Calories0.25 Pound0.011 Cubic Feet$ 6
2 BottlesVanilla Extract (2 fluid ounce glass bottles)0 Calories0.50 Pounds0.016 Cubic Feet$ 10
5 ContainersSalt (2 Iodized 26 oz. and 1 Non-Iodized 26 oz. and 2 Lite Salt 11 oz.)0 Calories6.25 Pounds0.168 Cubic Feet$ 8
2 ContainersBlack Peppercorns (18 oz. each) (or Ground Black Pepper)0 Calories2.25 Pounds0.102 Cubic Feet$ 10
- -Summary Totals =664,360 Calories446.25 Pounds11.283 Cubic Feet$ 468

Summary Totals for the Really Cheap One-Year Emergency Food Supply

For approximately $468 you could purchase enough food to feed one adult for one year at the rate of 1,800 calories per day.

The food would have a net weight of approximately 446 pounds (food only without the package). Using a 365 day year, this means one adult would consume approximately 1.2 pounds of food each day. This is the dry weight of the original food before it has been cooked with water.

Or this same amount of food would last two adults for one year if each adult only consumed 900 calories of food per day. However, each adult would gradually lose a little weight over the course of the year. But this may be desirable if the two adults were a little overweight at the beginning of the hard times.

If you add an additional 5% for the average weight of the package that contains the food, this would be approximately 469 pounds of packaged food. If you had to move all your food to another location this would be the approximate amount of weight you would need to move.

To store the food you will require approximately 11.283 cubic feet of space. This is the theoretical minimum amount of space and it does not include space loss between packages or between stacks. If you allow an additional 10% for lost space between packages of different sizes then this would be approximately 12.41 cubic feet of storage space. This means you could store the food in an area that was approximately 2 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 3.1 feet tall (or 1.8 meters by 1.8 meters by 2.8 meters).

The really cheap one-year emergency food supply does not contain any meat items. To compensate for the loss of protein from meat, the dry beans were increased from 50 pounds up to 80 pounds.
There was also a reduction in the amount of instant milk and in the sweet items, such as sugar.


Some Information about the Foods in Both Lists

Most of the recommended foods are dry foods, with the exception of the canned meats, the tomato paste, the olive oil, the honey, and the vanilla extract. The elimination of water from the foods has the following three significant advantages:
  1. Dry food normally has a longer shelf life than water packed food because the moisture has been eliminated from the food.
  2. Dry food weighs less than the same food that is packed in water.
  3. The elimination of water also means that less space is required to store the food.
If something unexpected happened and you were forced to abandon your current location, then all three of the above advantages would be very important to you.

More information about some important factors to consider when purchasing emergency food is on my website here.


Vacuum Sealing the Dry Foods

I strongly recommend that you vacuum seal all the dry foods in the above list. More information about vacuum sealing is on my website here.


Water

Most of the above recommended foods are dry foods and they must be prepared for human consumption using water.

I strongly recommend that you have a least one good gravity fed water filter element in your emergency food storage area so you can provide clean water for your family during a serious hard times event. More information about a homemade water filter system is on my web site here.


Milk, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Fruit

Instant dry powdered milk is easy to find at almost any grocery store. However, you can purchase the same basic product in #10 cans for almost the same price as the boxed milk. And the #10 cans are already packaged for long-term storage. Therefore I suggest you consider investing in the #10 cans of instant dry milk instead of the boxes of instant dry milk.

Some instant potatoes require the addition of milk and butter. Some instant potatoes do not. I suggest that you look for a brand of instant potatoes that only requires the addition of water. These can be difficult to find at most grocery stores. However, some of the dehydrated potatoes in #10 cans are complete instant potatoes and they only require the addition of water to convert them into a tasty side dish of mashed potatoes.

Tomato paste is preferred to tomato sauce because tomato paste has less water than tomato sauce. You can convert tomato paste into tomato sauce by simply adding water. Therefore it makes more sense to store tomato paste because it takes less storage space than tomato sauce. However, as with any water packed food that contains acid, tomato paste will gradually eat its way through a can and therefore it has a shorter shelf life than foods that do not contain acid. For this reason I suggest that you consider dehydrated tomato powder in #10 cans. Tomato powder has a longer shelf life than tomato paste, and it weighs less because it does not contain any moisture, and it will not gradually eat its way through the can.

The original food list includes four of the major food groups (dairy, vegetables, grain, and meat) but the only fruit it contains is tomato paste. (Note: Tomatoes are technically a fruit but most people think of tomatoes as a vegetable because they cook tomatoes the same way they cook some vegetables. Some brands of tomato paste, such as the Walmart Great Value Brand, contain 10% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.)

My personal experience with canned fruit is that the cans do not last very long in storage. The natural acids in the fruit will gradually eat though the can and a tiny amount of the fruit juice will gradually begin to leak out of the can and that juice will get on the other cans of fruit that are next to it. Pretty soon all the cans of fruit will have tiny holes in them, and they will begin leaking, and the bottom of the cans will become covered in rust. When this happens they must be safely disposed of because they are now toxic. This is the primary reason I did not include canned fruit in the above list (except for tomato paste). Canned fruit doesn't have the shelf life expectancy of the other foods. If you wish to add fruit to your long-term emergency food supply then I suggest you consider freeze dried or dehydrated fruit in #10 cans.

More information about #10 cans of dehydrated fruit, tomato powder, complete instant potatoes, and milk is on my web site here.



Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.

Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com