In December of 2010 Oregon Freeze Dry, the manufacture of the popular Mountain House brand of freeze dried food products, advised that confirmed that an explosion in demand had led to supply shortages at their production facilities. Mountain House retail sales manager Melanie Cornutt advised SHTF Plan that larger distributors and dealers were receiving limited stocks of inventory, and that Mountain House was unable to provide freeze dried foods in #10 cans to smaller distributors due to significant global demand. “We anticipate this to continue through February/March of 2011. This timing may change, but as of today, this is the best estimate we have,” said Cormutt in a December 10th, 2010 correspondence.
A February 9, 2011 faxed letter from Mountain House to customers, and made available online by Steve Quayle, indicates that the supply issues have not abated, and Mountain House continues to experience high demand for their freeze dried food products, specifically the #10 cans, which are larger quantity containers that can hold up to 13 cups, or roughly six pounds, of food.
Oregon Freeze Dry Letter to Customers [pdf] via Steve Quayle:
This is an update on Oregon Freeze Dry’s #10 can situation. Because the demand for our #10 cans remains very high, we continue to be unable to meet all #10 can needs. OFD is allocating as much of our Production Capacity as possible to this market segment, while still allowing us to meet requirements in other markets.
Unfortunately, we cannot open sales to all previous dealers. We continue to sell allocated quantities to our long-time, largest customers/distributors.
We expect this situation to remain until at least this summer. At this point, we are not able to predict an actual date as to when we can open sales to all current dealers.
I wanted to share with you a recent company announcement to show that we are working on making improvements to be able to address these sudden increases in food storage demand. Our President, Jim Merryman, has signed off a multi-million dollar capital project to make some plant modifications that will increase our capacity. These modifications will start in May 2011 and we estimate the project to be complete by September 2011.
I know how difficult this situation is for each of you and your business. I truly feel your frustration and OFD is working incredibly hard to turn this situation around as quickly as possible.
Oregon Freeze Dry, Inc.
Sales Manager, Retail
This supply crunch with the largest freeze dried manufacturer in the world should provide insight into the general sentiment of Americans with regards to the perception that hard times are coming, or are already here, and that many believe things can get much worse.
As we pointed out in our December 2010 report, both Mountain House and several of their largest distributors, advised us that the primary reasons cited for growing demand were fears of a collapsing US dollar due to monetary expansion, loss of confidence in in our government to control the economic crisis, and rising food costs worldwide.
It’s obvious based on the difficulty Mountain House is having in keeping up with demand that end consumer purchasing is not a result of more Americans requiring freeze dried food for camping trips.
People are stocking up – just in case.
While freeze dried food may not be readily available, we recommend to those of our readers concerned with rising food prices and the possibility of disruptions to US food supply inventories resulting from a collapsing currency or other disasters, that they focus instead on reserve and long-term storage utilizing non-freeze dried food products.
- Dehydrated food, which are simply processed via a dehydrator by removing the majority of its liquid. They will store for extended periods of time, especially if packaged properly utilizingÂ vacuum sealing techniques and/or oxygen absorbers. Dehydrated carrots, apples and milk, for example, have a shell life of over 15 years if dehydrated and sealed properly.
- Dry Goods such as wheat, rice, beans, pastas and instant oats if stored properly utilizing #10 canning, large buckets with mylar bags and oxygen absorber packets, or vacuum sealed bags and oxygen absorber packets, can store upwards of 20 years. For the time being, these goods are readily available at grocery stores, though some large bulk suppliers have advised supply problems have been developing for several months as crops around the world have been damaged due to drought and freezing weather.
- Meals Ready to Eat. MRE’s are an excellent substitute for freeze dried food and can be used as a simple 30 – 60 day reserve food supply. Depending on the temperatures in the environment in which they are stored, MRE’s can last from 5 – 7 years, and anecdotal evidence suggests it is even longer than that. MRE’s are still available from preparedness product distributors for the time being.
In general, freeze dried food is only part of a complete food preparedness plan which should include a variety of foods, as well as sugar, salt, dry soups, jams, dried fruit drinks and cooking essentials like oil, baking soda and yeast.
The freeze dried food supply crunch is a significant indicator of a developing trend. Higher food prices and less supply is going mainstream already. Buyers of freeze dried food, often people who are “in the know” in terms of non-mainstream news, are the first adopters. The rest of the populace will eventually catch on, at which point we may very well see Oregon Freeze Dry’s problems hit larger, traditional distributors, especially if we happen across a currency crisis that forces people to exchange their dollars for hard goods or face a complete loss of purchasing power.
We maintain, as we wrote in Wealth Preservation, Investing, and Prepping For Hard Times, that purchasing commodities (food) now, can only benefit you and your family in the long run:
â€œIf you are a prepper, for example, who is already stocking essentials foods and goods, youâ€™re way ahead of the game. As commodity prices continue to rise for a variety of reasons, your â€œinvestmentâ€ is paying off in real terms. Buy 10 pounds of rice today for $10, and when that same bag of rice goes to $20 a year or two from now, you can say you earned a 100% return on your investment! And the great thing about your investment, is you donâ€™t have any counter party risk, for the most part, meaning that you own the physical good and it is in your possession â€” you take delivery at any time!â€
Those who took our advice a year ago have have made double digit percentage gains on their “hard asset” investments to date, but more importantly, have peace of mind knowing that if the worst were to occur they won’t go hungry.