Screenshot from Costco.com of Nutristore 1 Year Emergency Food Kit with 6,200 Servings for $999.
Think long and hard enough, eventually there will be solutions to everything, even surviving the end of the world.
Take Costco’s 1-year emergency food kit for $999.99, including shipping.
It is made up of nearly 100 cans — 1-gallon each and making 6,200 servings of food — of wheat, rice, granola, apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, potatoes, carrots beans, onions, corn, beef, chicken, milk, sugar and salt.
The cans, the company said, will last up to 25 years. The Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse club declined to offer much more about the items — or on how many people are buying the kit.
"We don't normally give out sales data," the company said in an e-mail to the Free Press. "The idea came about making a great starter kit for a family who wanted to prepare for any kind of disaster. This is a great value with shipping included."
Obviously, the disaster would have to be catastrophic for someone to need that much food.
Entrepreneurs have long found ways to profit from people’s fears, especially when they involve an apocalyptic scenario: being wiped out by a massive hurricane, getting caught in clashes among groups with fanatical beliefs and facing fallout from a nuclear war.
How much of a market is there for these emergency kits?
“Right now, it’s too small of a trend to track,” said Jeff Gelski, associate editor of Food Business News in Kansas City who has been writing about the food industry for more than a decade. “But, if Costco’s in it, it might be something that’s about to pop.”
There are smaller and larger emergency food kits for sale, too.
In addition to a variety of online sellers, Walmart offers emergency food storage kits with enough food for two days, three days, a month, and a year that sell for $25.88, $58.99, $134.99, and 1,290.99, respectively.
Costco is offering even bigger food kits, too, for $3,999.99 and $5,999.99.
The customers are "working people who fear for their lives," said Ken Dalto, a retail expert with Kenneth J. Dalto in Bingham Farms. He added that it's too soon to know how well these emergency kits are selling, but that with a nation of 320 million, there are plenty of people who are nervous about the future.
A Man is seen with months’ worth of goods in Costco
"You have hurricanes. You saw what that did," he said, referring to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which battered Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. "You add to that climate change, and terrorism, and the idea of nuclear war, which is very much in the news with North Korea, and they can develop a missile that might be able to hit California — even Seattle.”
In August, a month after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, three-quarters of Americans said that North Korea's nuclear program is a critical threat facing the U.S., according to a Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey.
Last year, the survey showed 60% of Americans feared North Korea. It was 55% in 2015.
Dalto said people feel they can't prevent these disasters, so they do what they can: They shop.
Source: Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press
RicebowlAsia’s take: Long lasting foods are destined to open up a potentially big sector in the food industry as more and more people are gearing up for the worse – surviving catastrophic disaster.