If there was ever a sentiment indicator for economic uncertainty and fear, this would be it.
As of April 2011, major distributors of freeze dried food, namely the Mountain House brand, are indicating that shoppers should expect delays ofÂ nearly six months on any orders placed today:
***CURRENT INVENTORY UPDATE AS OF 04/05/11*** All Mountain House & Nitro-Pak food storage #10 cans are in EXTREMELY HIGH DEMAND due to national & world current economic uncertainty and inflation fears. With this increase in demand, our food order processing times have greatly increased also. As Mountain Houseâ€™s leading distributor, we are receiving HUGE shipments WEEKLY to fill our customer orders, but demand exceeds the available supply. Most Mountain House dealers have been been cut off & receive no food, period. Supplies are VERY SCARCE. Like Disneyland, the line is long but still slowly moving. Please be patient. This is a line you do not want to get out of!
All canned food orders and units may take up to 160 days to ship. Thank you for your business!
Other large distributors we contacted indicated similar shipping delays, with many simply marking their freeze dried food inventory as completely “out of stock.”
Mountain House has advised they are expanding their production facilities, but this upgrade will not be completed until the third of fourth quarter of 2011.
When we first covered the shortages of freeze dried food in December of 2010, a spokesperson for Mountain House, the largest freeze dried food manufacturer in the world, indicated that they were estimating the shortage to abate by February or March of 2011. In February, we received an update from Mountain House, which further pushed out the availability date to the Summer of 2011, and feedback from the largest freeze dried food distributors indicated shipping delays of 30 – 60 days. This most recent alert suggests that while freeze dried food manufacturers are working round the clock, demand for emergency supplies continues to sky rocket at an unmanageable pace.
Economic uncertainty, fear of inflation, government policies, natural disasters and the mysteries surrounding the 2012 doomsday date have been cited as the primary reasons for the parabolic spike in demand over the course of the last six months.
Because there will likely be no relief for any of those fears in the near future, we suggest to our readers that demand will continue to increase well into 2012, and question whether the new facilities being built for freeze dried food production will be enough to offset demand. As more people come to the realization that things may not be exactly as they seem, further demand will likely flood the market going forward.
Due to the uncertainty in the freeze dried food market, those concerned with acquiring quality, long-term food storage should consider and act on other options.
As we’ve suggested previously, dehydrated foods and MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are one option that remains available at major emergency food distributors. The other options would be to self-stock and package dry goods, like the 11 Emergency Food items that can last a lifetime, including wheat, rice and beans. Most have a shelf life of 20 – 30 years and provide a well balanced, nutritious diet in the event of an emergency, widespread disaster or protracted crisis.