Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is Food Storage This Year's Furby?

A Furby
Do you remember the Furby? It was the hot toy of the Christmas of 1998. At that time, I was a newlywed, in college, and working part time as an extremely inept customer service rep at a department store. Shoppers came to blows as they competed for the few Furbys we had in stock. One of the highlights of the store's employee Christmas party was a chance to win one of three Furbys. I remember thinking that was extremely lame and didn't understand all the fuss about them. Twelve years later and now a mom to four children, I get "Furby Mania" a little bit more.

It seems like there may be a bit of the same sort of mania building in our country about food storage.

First, I read about Mountain House freeze-dried food rationing on The Survival Mom's blog. Then, I tried to order a few Superpails of wheat, navy beans, etc. from Emergency Essentials. Emergency Essentials is my go-to source for bulk supplies of wheat and other staples that I cannot buy in my area. I haven't found any place cheaper, especially when you add in the cost of buckets, mylar bags, and O2 absorbers. (I get rice, flour, pinto beans, and sugar at Sam’s Club and then package them myself, which you can read about here.)

I took a look at EE's Superpail page and lo and behold - nearly all of the products had a little yellow square displayed next to them, meaning they were backordered. I then checked out Walton Feed's website. Walton Feed looked like they had most things in stock, but they were going to take 4 weeks to ship them to me. (I got my October order from them in about a week.)

The next 15 minutes of my life were spent in a full-on freak out. Was a wide spreading food shortage approaching? I was willing to blow this month's budget and spend our last dime on kidney beans and freeze-dried beef stroganoff, if I could only find them in stock. I called Hubby Dear at work and demanded that he take the rest of the week off and drive me to Utah or an LDS cannery, whichever was closer. He muttered something vaguely reassuring before telling me he was busy and had to get back to work. How dare he be so callous about something so important, I huffed.

Twenty minutes, some deep breathing, and a handful of peanut butter M&Ms later, I regained my composure and began to think more clearly about the situation. I have been prepping for less than a year. There could be some sort of cyclical or seasonal shortage of food in the food storage industry that I was unaware of. Or perhaps something dire was indeed happening.

This article on the SHTFplan blog explains a lot about what’s going on.

It sounds like the shortages and backorders are being caused by rising demand from people like you and me. The food storage companies are struggling to keep up with the amount of orders now, but Mountain House anticipates the shortage will resolve by February or March of 2011.

Those of us who haven't finished our food storage are going to have to be patient until supply and demand balances back out. Is preparedness becoming the new "in" thing? Will it be a fad that will quickly be discarded like an old Furby? It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially if good economic times come back.


  1. Hello. Love your blog. Love your get'em attitude. Do you know where your (most) local cannery is? I get their wheat and oatmeal, with the big Mylar bags at Pleasant Hill Grain and it is SO much cheaper (esp. w/ shipping!) I'd love for you to check out my blog and if you like it, link it in your sidebar.

  2. I love your take on this issue (and I *adore* your "drive me to Utah" ultimatum!) My humble prediction? Food supplies will even out (and backorders will be resolved) ... which will decrease demand ... but only temporarily. Then prices on everyday items (wheat, etc.) will skyrocket.

    Ultimately, I'm planning to stick to my plan of adding to my family's everyday supplies by stocking up when everything is on sale.

  3. Mama4x - I enjoyed perusing your blog and I've linked ya. :)

    OP - Where have you been, missy? Your blog is getting lonesome! How about a pantry update? You know I have a sick fascination with other people's pantries...

  4. I'll have a New Blogging Regime soon! My DH and I have somewhat stalled about prepping (we're maintaining our supplies, but not really adding anything exciting or blog-worthy). But ... there are Big Changes on the horizon ... don't give up on me yet! :-)

  5. Monsanto’s, an American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, Food Truck Finder