Consumer Poll: pre-packed food : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Informal poll for all you wunnerful folks: how many of y'all have purchased pre-packaged food storage from places like Walton Feed or Perma Pak?

If you have, what's been your experience on (1) delivery time, (2) value (cost vs. quality), and (3) customer service? Doing a "trade study" to see whether the higher dollar cost in "pre-packs" would realize sufficient time savings to be a prudent investment.

-- Mac (, January 15, 1999



I investigated Waltons. They were really backed up. From where I live, shipping will "eat you up". Pun intended.

We opted for the do-it-yourself method. It took some time to research correct storage methods and vendors. Correct storage methods are important. After that, it took many hours of packing effort. It gets much easier with a little experience. I found it to be hard, messy work. We did a large part of the work in one session. However, since some fill in items have shorter shelf lives, we will be packing again in a few more months. I bought quite a bit from a local coop. They sell in smaller quantities too. Therefore, I had the opportunity to test-drive many items before buying them in bulk.

If money is no object, and you are relatively certain that you will like your 24# of dehydrated carrots, then Perma Pak or others may offer you a better option than doing it yourself.

If you decide to do-it-yourself, I would be glad to offer my assistance. I found the vendors at the Cassandra Project to be helpful.

-- Sue (, January 15, 1999.

I ordered Permapak in Oct and got the shipment about 8 weeks later. Service was good, although they said they were moving into a new warehouse and that caused a wo week delay in shipment.

Advantages: 1. Takes up less room 2. One order knocks out a year of stuff (for about $1,495/ year) 3. Easier to manage from a time perspective

Disadvantages: 1. More expensive than building the individual components up at Sam's and doing some of the food storage work yourself. There are lots of good guides for this and having a 15 year shelf life is not real important to me. Shipping a 5 gallon bucket of sugar to me is probably not the most efficient way to get some of this stuff.

Unknowns: 1. I haven't tried the Textured Vegetable Protein Taco Meat on my kids yet. Who knows, maybe they'll love it. If not, I get to eat it.

The last time I talked to the Permapak rep in Dec he said they still had 6 week leadtimes as a result of their warehouse expansion, but I don't know the current state of affairs.

Hope this helps.

-- Perma pak owner (, January 15, 1999.

Mac, We opted for the do-it-ourselves method. I just couldn't see spending all that money on foods I had never tried before and for a family of 6, it's quite expensive.

We also did a lot of research on proper food storage. Our family has spent HOURS washing buckets, soaking them in bleach water, packing, stacking, etc. Not to mention all the hours shopping.

Bottom line though, is that I know what is in my buckets. I know it is stuff we eat everyday. I couldn't afford to be stuck with $2,000 worth of freeze-dried foods. We are also, dehydrating vegs. and fruit and I do all my own canning of the same and jams, etc. Just a little suzy-homemaker :o)

A lot of days I am dog tired of all the preparations, but the reward comes when you look at a room full of buckets knowing you properly packaged them all and the family compliments you on what a good cook you are, even a y2k trial run meal! Mary

-- Mary Howe (, January 15, 1999.

MRE's and their attraction to civilians still eludes me. I guess its good stuff if your on the run.

We have not and will not buy or store anything that we would not normally eat. We are grinding and eating our whole grains. We packed them so we know for sure whats actually in the bucket. Wet packs (canned goods) last a long time and are very cheap. We rotate these so that our food stock stays fresh.

I guess that the only thing that we have purchased in the way of dehydrated foods was milk and this only because I presently have absolutely no time to mess with animals. This product is the only expendable stuff we have bought.

Question: If you have a storehouse of food, do you rotate. If you do, its obviously done by eating it. Are you comfortable with feeding your family MRE's every night?

Perhaps the exception to my logic would be those unfortunates who may find themselves on the 30th floor of a Manhattan Condo. In this case I recommend MRE's as utilities would probably limit your ability to process grains and wet packs. At least thats the way I see it:-) ww


we've opted for a combined approach. We've bought the wheat/corn/beans and a few other essentials in bulk - the rest will be acquired through staggered purchases at supermarkets, gardening, and hunting...the idea being that we keep building the supply and rotate as we go.

Oh and Wayne, while I generally agree with you about MREs I do keep two cases around as a last ditch emergency backup - primarily 'cause I know that neither I nor any of the others will eat them as long as there's anything else available...


-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 16, 1999.

Well, we seemed to have done all of the above, and more. We have our food in aproximately the following proportions:

1) Mormon Cannery food - 35% 2) Perma Pak - 25% 3) MRE's - 5% 4) Camping Food - 10% 5) Self Packed - 15% 6) Waltons - 10%

Note that the self packed food is growing because we're still packing.

We bought the MRE's & Camping food ("Just add water") for our bug out kits & other emergencies.

We've eaten several"Y2K" meals now, and have noted several things:

First, we're not going to lose as much weight as we'd hoped - the stuff is *great*. So far we've eaten from the Perma Pak - Chicken TVP, dehydrated carrots & veggies & apple slices. From Walton's we've eaten the Cheese blend & Bacon TVP. (The bacon was excellent on our Boston Baked Beans recipe)

On the Mormon food, we've eaten the apple slices, mashed potatoes (excellent), white & pinto beans, & Fruit Drink.

The single most surprising thing of all this is how yummy it all is. The dehydrated food *does* take a little different preparations, but it's really good. I recommend Perma Pak to anyone.

One other thing: The cost of even the "expensive" dehydrated food is actually pretty cheap.A TVP "Chicken" pot pie enough to feed four adults was $1.77 total. Can't beat that with a stick.


PS(I was at Stor-tite today in Grants Pass, OR. They have *bunches* of Ready Reserve 1 year packs for $1178 delivered sitting in their warehouse (I saw them). Ready Reserve is considered a good brand - but that's one of the few brands I don't have :-) )

-- Jollyprez (, January 16, 1999.

I ordered $250 worth (432 meals) of seasoned rice&soy from Future Foods (612) 504-2930 in Minneapolis on December 23 and it arrived today. That's less than four weeks. Each package makes at least six servings, and it tastes just fine, especially if you add salt. It is fortified with vitamins and minerals and comes in either chicken or beef flavor. This is by far the best storage food deal I've ever heard of. You wouldn't want to live on it exclusively, but it's simple to cook and would be convenient to give to unprepared relatives who come begging.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, January 18, 1999.

After taste testing freeze-dried meat meals and MREs, I elected to purchase a full year of freeze dried & dehydrated foods for my family of three. I ordered it from Nitro-pak in three installments spaced a week apart.

At the time I placed my orders, when I first GI'd in late January 1999, I had the impression that waiting lists had long been backlogged over eight months. I was very worried that my food would not arrive before the rollover, and that some other incident would happen before then to prevent the it from getting here.

Here are some of the reasons I decided to go this route. Firstly, I have a husband who is Type II diabetic, and who is practically restricted to eating only meat and vegetables, especially if he is unable to obtain his medications. Since I had never canned, and didn't know if I could obtain a pressure canner soon enough, I thought he might be out of luck. (I've since received my canner a few weeks ago).

I have limited storage space. As has been mentioned, freeze dried and dehydrated food packed in bulk takes up a lot less space.

I don't have a reliable source of fuel. I'm not sure how long our two cords of wood will last if I can't convince my husband to get a fireplace insert. I have several other types of stoves and ovens, but none is ideal. Either the fuel is too explosive, or cooking has to be done outside (where one might be subject to harassment by marauders), or reliant upon sunshine, which may not be available on some days. The food I got can be made with hot or cold water.

The fact that this food had a shelf life of twenty years meant that if Y2K were a dud, we would be prepared for a multitude of disasters for many years to come. If we ended up not liking a steady diet of these foods very much but still wanted to eventually eat them, to avoid wastefulness, we would only have to eat one every three weeks or so.

I sometimes have arthritis symptoms of lupus that are aggravated by stress. The idea of using grocery store foods overwhelmed me. I couldn't be certain that I would be up to the work of finding all that food in correct proportions, hauling it into the house, and shuffling it into the appropriate containers, being careful to observe cryptic expiration dates.

Never the less, I also started packing grocery store foods (including food from box stores), not knowing if my other stuff would get here in time. My health has been good, so my pace can't be excused by any handicap. I've worked on it pretty hard, in addition to my other Y2K preps, but in two months only managed to pack just over six weeks of stuff. That's way too slow. I'd like to end up being stocked through September 2001. Leaving some allowance for the fact that things could meltdown at any time, it doesn't appear that I can pack it fast enough to get that job done.

We're not following any variant of the LDS plans, of storing mainly staples such as wheat, corn, rice, milk, sugar, and honey. None of these foods are healthful for us. (My husband also has high cholesterol.) The food I'm storing tends more toward lean meats, and vegetables, and so I'm not finding that the turn-key foods are all that much more expensive.

The orders I placed all arrived in less than two weeks. I wasn't real thrilled with the fact that three huge semi trucks made the deliveries, with the attendant noise and eye-catching excitement of hydraulic forklifts, etc. I didn't know until the day before delivery that they didn't plan on bringing the stuff into my house but wanted to just deposit it outside. I had to tip them to bring it in. Fortunately, there weren't a lot of signs of preparedness all over the place. I'm uncomfortable with the fact that these mobile strangers are familiar with my address.

I'm going to continue storing grocery store food, even though it greatly annoys my DWGI family to have half the kitchen devoted to this production line, for months on end. It also exposes to my housekeeper and her family (and friends?) week after week the fact that we are preparing.

Considering that the preparedness industries seem to be currently in a lull, I would purchase a second year of long term food storage right now, if not for the fact that my husband would throw a major fit over it.

If I were to do it over, I would try to order from the same company, only more ` la carte, in order to avoid paying freight on salt, sugar, and cans of wheat, which were part of the overall package.

-- Dancr (, June 28, 1999.

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