The importance of Emergency Food: Interview with Mark Hyland, CEO of Food Insurance

A couple weeks back, Food Insurance invited Off Grid Survival to attend their Ready, Set, Prep Summit. I was impressed with the company, and their dedication to helping educate people on the topic of emergency food storage.

Today we are sharing our interview with Food Insurance CEO, Mark Hyland.

Can you tell us a little bit about food insurance and how your product is different from other emergency food products?

Food Insurance provides the highest quality of food for an emergency supply. Food Insurance’s carries both dehydrated offerings and freeze dried offerings.  Our long term emergency food supplies are all freeze-dried.  Many people ask if there are advantages of freeze dried foods.  There are, below are five key advantages to having freeze-dried food:

  1. Easy to prepare– To prepare most of our freeze dried meals all you need to do is add a cup of hot water to a cup of food. Then stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a heat source. Then you can add room temperature water and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Compact and light-weight – Because the water has been removed from the meals you can store a large quantity of food in a smaller space. For example, a six-month supply of food for two adults can fit under a twin bed and weighs less than 300 lbs.
  3. Water efficient – Water is always a concern in emergencies. With freeze-dried food, because it has already been prepared requires less water than dehydrated food, such as rice and beans.
  4. Great Tasting– Some people feel that in an emergency situation as long as it is edible they’ll eat it. That may be true, but if you have the option of having food that tastes just like the meals you are accustomed to eating it will make significant difference.   Especially when it comes to the morale during a difficult unexpected situation and even more so if children are involved.
  5. 25-Year shelf-life–   When stored in dry conditions at or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit we guarantee our freeze-dried meals to have a shelf-life of a least 25-years. This means that you don’t have to worry about constantly rotating through foods and being caught at a time when your food supply may be running low.  Your food supply will be there for when you need it.  You may also find a time when you need to utilize this supply to supplement your weekly grocery bill.

Along with these high-quality emergency food supplies we also have a variety of other emergency supplies. Something we would encourage everyone who is looking to enhance their preparedness to do is check out what we have to offer when it comes to water purification and storage. We are also extremely proud of our topnotch, knowledgeable and friendly customer service team who can help advise and create solutions to anyone person’s needs.

When it comes to reasons for storing food, most people think about natural disasters. What are some other reasons people should consider putting together a food storage plan?

The truth is there is an endless list of reasons to be prepared. Natural disasters are probably the first reason that comes to mind to have an emergency food supply. That is probably because they get so much media attention. Our company, was founded in the wake of Katrina. We really wanted to provide a solution that so many people were looking for after seeing the lasting and devastating effects that nature and a lack of preparedness can cause.

A more likely scenario may be personal economic downturn meaning, loss of job. We hear from customers that have purchase our meal plans, thinking that they would be prepared for a unexpected disaster scenario, but were grateful for preparation as they utilizes their food when they lost their job. Because of their preparation and emergency food supply they didn’t have to buy groceries for a couple of months while they found new employment.

Of course, there are larger scale emergencies as well. Hyperinflation, rising food costs, food shortages, pandemics, political instability and a number of other disasters are always a possibility. The fact is the best reason to have an emergency food supply is to be self-reliant. You don’t need to depend on grocery stores, charities or government assistance to feed yourself and your family.

What is the difference between freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods, and is one better than the other?

This is a great question that people really should be thinking about when they are looking at buying an emergency food supply. It’s not so much that one is out right “better” than another. It’s more about which is best for you.

Freeze-dried food that comes in a can has a 25-year shelf-life. It only requires water to reconstitute and doesn’t require any cooking at all. Through the freeze-dry process it is also possible to preserve meat, so that you can have real meat in these meals.

Dehydrated meals require more effort to reconstitute and in the time and preparation of the meal. You’ll need to boil the water and then add the food and let the food simmer for up to 20 minutes. The dehydration process cannot preserve meat in such a way that it can be reconstituted later, so dehydrated meals do not contain meat. Both the freeze-dried and dehydrated emergency food supplies are light-weight and easy to store. Dehydrated meals have an 8-10 year shelf-life at room temperature. They can last up to 25-years if stored below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrated meals are generally less expensive then freeze-dried meals.

What is the difference between storing food in #10 Cans and storing food in Mylar Bags?

There are two main differences in the intended use of #10 cans and Mylar pouches. First, there is typically more food in a #10 can than in a Mylar pouch. The #10 can will hold somewhere between 9-20 servings, depending on the meal. Mylar pouches usually come with 1-5 servings per pouch. So if you are looking for something to take camping or hiking Mylar pouches are usually best unless you’re feeding a larger group.

The second difference is the shelf-life and protection offered by the different packaging. The #10 cans we sell are guaranteed to have a 25-year shelf life if stored at or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. They Mylar pouches have a max shelf-life of 10 years at this same temperature. Also, the #10 cans are much more resistant to being punctured or being ruined by insects and other pests.

A question we receive often is “What if I’m just a single person? How will I use all 12 servings in a can at one time?” The answer to that is that you don’t have to make all the food at the same time. Once, a can is opened you have about 45 days to use all the food in the can, if stored correctly. So you could make a meal or two from that particular can a couple of times a week and use all the contents within the 45 day period.

Do you have any tips on how people can Maximize the Shelf-Life of their emergency food stocks?

The best way to get the full shelf-life from an emergency food supply is to keep it in a cool dry place. The enemy of shelf-life is oxygen and moisture. The items we sell have gone through an elaborate process to remove both moisture and oxygen from the food and packaging, while preserving the nutrition and taste. Storing the items in a cool and dry place will help to keep oxygen and moisture out of the packaging. This means that the food needs to be stored in the house, preferably the basement if possible. The garage is typically not a good place to store food unless modifications have been made to keep the garage under 72 degrees. The other thing you want to watch out for is keeping bugs and rodents away from the food as best as possible.

Fun fact: we have tested food that was over 40-years old in the #10 can and it had the same taste, with only a slightly decreased nutritional value. Now, we don’t guarantee this but it is possible if stored correctly.

When talking to people about stockpiling emergency food, I usually tell them to stock up on foods that they already eat and then rotate those foods into their normal life. How does something like Food Insurance fit into a preparedness plan like that?

Food Insurance fits in very well with a preparedness plan like that. There is always place for food that has a 25-year shelf-life, is easy to make and tastes great. That is why we try to offer a variety of items from a 1-week supply up to a year supply of food.

We have different freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, drinks and desserts that can act as a supplement to a preparedness plan that you may already have in place. Many people like to have a 1-3 month supply on hand of the emergency meals that we offer just to supplement any food they may already be storing and rotating. Others have a year supply of our emergency foods and keep a 1-3 month supply of their own foods to rotate through. It becomes something like a financial portfolio. You may not want to invest all in one method of an emergency food supply. Kind of like the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

We do stand by our offering 100% as a tried, tested and truly convenient emergency food supply in even the hardest of situations.

For more information on this topic and about Food Insurance here are some articles and infographics:

Understanding The Freeze-Dry Process (Infographic):

The Difference Between Freeze-Dry and Dehydrated (Infographic):

The Six Enemies to Food Storage(Article):

#10 Cans Vs. Mylar Pouches(Article & Infographic):

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  1. I would like to find some reasonable priced food storage that is GMO free.. Better yet, free of all chemicals. I dehydrate at home with no chemicals so I know it can be done.

    • Try Gofoods global. They are based out of Utah, and all their food is GMO free. They offer the opportunity to buy wholesale and be a online re-seller as well.

      • GOFoods goes to great lengths to insure none of its ingredients come from sources that use GMO techniques. The term genetically-modified organisms (GMO) is most commonly referred to a process where genetic engineering techniques have made specific changes to the DNA of a crop plant grown for human or animal consumption.

        These modifications are intended to introduce traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products such as soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil.

  2. Trish,

    My family does not eat “hamburger helper” and other boxed convenience foods. I generally do all my cooking from scratch. I have a years supply of foods/ingredients that my family usually eats, but I have also decided to have freeze dried foods as single ingredients in my food storage so that if the gardening or hunting is not succussful, we still have something to eat. Such as, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, chicken….this way I can make the meals, casseroles and soups my family is used to with the spices I always use. I can also control, salt, preservatives, etc.

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  4. Lots of great info here. You share an important distinction between freeze-dried and dehydrated. Although having to cook the food is not always desirable, I’m thinking that it may have retained more of its nutrient value…especially important for extended survival situations.

    Wes T.

  5. @MolenLabe: You make a good point, I think emergency food storage IS the insurance we look for, or maybe it is even better. You invest in emergency food storage, it has an incredible shelf life so you do not even lose your investment and it’s once off.

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