Pros and Cons of Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated, MRE, Canned, Food-Bars, Grains-Beans

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A pros and cons list of the various methods and types of food for storage that you may consider in your overall diversified food storage plan.


Freeze-Dried Food


Long shelf life
Very lightweight
Very low moisture
Reconstitutes quickly
Best way to dry meat items
Generally tastes better than dehydrated
Retains original shape, texture, color after reconstitution



Most expensive food storage option
Most items require water to prepare
Items are bulkier than if dehydrated
If purchased in Mylar pouches, they’re susceptible to puncture



Dehydrated Food


No waste
Low moisture
Long shelf life
Not easily spoiled


Requires water to prepare
Some items have poor visual appeal
Some items lose taste after reconstitution
Some items take a long time to reconstitute
Dehydration process can affect nutritional value



MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)


Convenient to use
Familiar foods available
Requires no water to prepare
No mixing or blending required
Can be heated for hot meal by many methods
Can be eaten right from pouch without preparation


Taste of MREs considered poor by some
Not intended for long term consumption
Artificial additives added in many recipes
Expensive considering actual food received
Entrees alone will not supply adequate nutritional value
Because of foil pouch, they are susceptible to puncture
Can be heavy if larger quantities need to be transported
Many entrees more like sauces & require additional quality carbohydrates for a filling meal



Commercially Canned Food


Wide variety of canned foods
Secure packaging-containment
Readily available at all grocery stores
Moderate shelf life, generally 3-years – depending on food
‘Real’ shelf life often much longer than posted without issues


Heavier than dried foods
Difficulty in freezing conditions
Heavier than dehydrated, freeze-dried
Typically lots of preservatives-salt, etc.
Not as practical for on-the-go or carrying
Exposure to water-humidity promotes rust
Requires more physical space than other types of processing



Emergency Food Bars


Low cost
Calorie dense
Good shelf life
Compact – convenient
Good for portability – small kit, etc.


Limited nutritional value
Not everyone likes the taste
Not adequate for prolonged use
Not a satisfying substitute for a hot meal



Grains, Beans, Basic Commodities


Low cost
Good nutritional value
The basic food staples – very important
Very long storage life if stored properly
Essential ingredients for sustaining life
Many sprout-able seeds, grains, and beans increase nutritional value


More time consuming to prepare
Heavy weight – meant for storage, not portability
Not generally appropriate for shorter term emergencies
Time is required to adapt to basic commodity oriented diet
Requires relatively large quantities of water and fuel to prepare
For calories, a fairly large quantity must be consumed when eaten exclusively.


There are use-case scenarios for all of the above while variety and diversification are important for your overall food storage plan. The partial list above should give you some ideas to consider while there are MANY additional food types and compliments to add to one’s storage.

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