Michael and I had the luck to come across a huge sale on a brand of food storage we had not heard of before. National Geographic – Live Prepared. Full price for their 72 hour kit ($50) comes to around 131 calories per dollar.
I updated the table to reflect a reported 30 day supply for each brand accounting for the variety of entrees vs breakfasts, and the foods used in these taste tests. Your calculations may vary.
Keep in mind that the Live Prepared, and the Mountain House brands both have actual meat in their meals, none of the others have meat or even meat substitute in their meals. This makes a huge difference in pricing, but there was nothing else comparable that I found. I HIGHLY recommend doing your own cost comparisons and taste test before purchasing as taste is very subjective.
|Based on 30 day kits or their equivalent as represented per brand main page when available (prices can vary via amazon, etc)|
|Brand||Calories/$||Shelf Life||Cook Time and Methods|
|Wise Foods||104.85||25 yrs||Add to boiled water, remove from heat and sit 12-15 min.|
|Legacy||146.03||25 yrs||Simmer for 12-15 minutes|
|Mountain House||76.66||12+ yrs||Add boiling water to pouch, seal and await 10-15 minutes.|
|Augason Farms||269.86||20 yrs||Simmer for 12-20 minutes.|
|NEW: Live Prepared||161.66||20 yrs||Add boiling water to pouch, seal and await 10 minutes.|
I was very excited by the cook in the bag options. This has added benefits for emergency preparation as well as for backpacking food options.
Benefits of cook in the bag vs stove top:
- Far less fuel consumption. This could be an issue if you are cut off from fuel sources or electricity to cook with and have to rely solely on what you have stored.
- Less time standing at the stove. If you are busy dealing with other emergency issues, you can set the bag aside to do its thing. Keeps you free to focus attention elsewhere.
- No water needed for clean up. You could conceivably limit yourself to one utensil per person to eat. There is no need to dirty a pot, plate, bowl, etc. Just eat out of the bag and throw it away when you are done.
- Easy pack-ability. Again, you need limited cookware, fuel, etc. in case you are on the move.
On to the actual tasting.
I was pleasantly surprised by the yummy smell of the food, Michael not so much. He thought there was a “preservative” smell to the beef stroganoff. To me it just smelled like garlic, and I LOVE garlic. 🙂 Since we didn’t have another creamy pasta option with the Live Prepared, we opted for their Creamy Chicken with Rice.
The Beef Stroganoff was a bit salty; probably more salty than the Mountain House. I could imagine really needing that extra salt doing heavy activity associated with emergencies or backpacking, and it wasn’t enough to put me off just sitting and eating it. Michael was not as impressed with the stroganoff as I was, but still found it better than the other brands.
The Chicken with Rice cooked up very nice and had a good flavor, similar to a Rice-a-Roni type of thing. I found the Live Prepared rice cooked up much nicer than the Mountain House rice dishes we have had in the past.
Neither dish was watery or pasty tasting. I had the stroganoff the next day for lunch.