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Emergency Food Bars reviewed in Popular Mechanics

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:24 pm
by kman
Here's an article from Popular Mechanics about a review they did of three different types of Emergency Food Ration bars: The ER Bar, Datrex, and Mainstay: ... ?series=29

While the Mainstay bar received the highest ratings on average, its strong lemon flavor was polarizing-some staffers loved it, some hated it. The Datrex bar consistently received neutral ratings, even reminding one editor of dried biscotti. The ER Bar, while the favorite of one staffer, received low marks and was described as "soapy." For everything else you need to know to prepare for a disaster, see PM's August cover story, "Facing Down Disaster."

Re: Emergency Food Bars reviewed in Popular Mechanics

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:02 pm
by CaptBob
As an emergency manager, I recently sampled each of these bars so I could plan for disaster supplies for a new school we're opening this fall. For taste, I like Mainstay. It has a lemon flavor and its sweetness is what you'd expect in a "cookie-bar" type of food. By comparison, most others are a bit more bland. Someone at our agency bought ER Bars about five years ago and I cracked one open in a management meeting for us to sample. Whatever separate sections were in the bar for portion control were now fused together. The entire bar was one brick-like stone tablet. As for taste, it had a distinct vitamin-pill scent and flavor; bland, but edible if that's all you have. For our school (Kindergarten and first graders), I chose the Datrex which stands out in one important category: individually wrapped portions. One meal consists of two individually wrapped "wafers" that taste kind of like a coconut macaroon. Not as sweet as you might expect, and light texture (unlike the overly dense ER Bar), Datrex only has six ingredients: flour, shortening, sugar, water, coconut, and salt. Nothing else. When dealing with youngsters, I cannot imagine trying to cut or break those ER Bars into manageable pieces for them.

I also know that the S.O.S. Food Labs brand ration comes with individually wrapped pieces, but I haven't sampled them. For adults, I'd still go with Mainstay. While not individually wrapped, the bar is made up of individual sections which remain separate even past the expiration date.

What do these foods have over MREs? It's simple: low cost (how about $4 for a three-day ration?), ease of storage (five years in sub-zero or 130 degree temps), and no preparation (just open it and "enjoy").

For large corporations and agencies, personally, I'd recommend a combination of both types of food. Cookie-bars for shelter victims and others not involved in strenuous work. MREs or Mountain House for rescue teams, damage assessment teams and the like.

Re: Emergency Food Bars reviewed in Popular Mechanics

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:04 am
by Jpak
Great link kman! I always wondered about the Mainstay blocks. Seems like a pretty good alternative to MREs for keeping some emergency rations in a car, bug out bag, etc., since it takes up less space than 1 MRE; can be eaten on the go without any prep; and has a 5 year shelf life.

Funny thing, it looks like the cheapest place to buy Mainstay emergency food rations is directly from the manufacturer - Survivor Industries in Oxnard, CA. I found their website through the Popular Mechanics link posted by kman. Only $4.95 for one 9-block package.

Re: Emergency Food Bars reviewed in Popular Mechanics

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:35 pm
by Bypah
Good article kman.....and nice assesment Bob.Your comment was very informational specially when I'm also an emergency manager at my school ,well our group is brand new.... :D Is good to know detais like that.Thanks!

Jpak....I also use the GP rations from the military, in my case the ones that come in a can. They last a long time. Mine are from the 90's and I opened and they are edible and taste as fresh as the day they were made. :mrgreen: