What Should I Do?

The Ready Store

CM.com Alert:

Food Storage Shortage Risk Emerging
Friday, December 10, 2010, 10:47 AM

After hearing reports of depleting inventories of pre-packaged, ready-to-purchase stored food, CM.com did a little investigating. It turns out there's truth behind the rumor.

Yesterday, Zero Hedge observed:

It appears that Mountain House, which is one of the better purveyors of freeze dried food and holds over 30 servings and last for 20 years because they are packed with nitrogen rather than oxygen, is now sold out of all #10 cans. And for those who go to NitroPak, which sells these products, they have the following message:

***CURRENT INVENTORY UPDATE***

There is currently EXTREMELY high demand for all of our Mountain House foods nationwide due to current economic uncertainty and inflation fears. With this increase in demand, our food order processing times have increased also. As Mountain House’s leading distributor, we are receiving huge shipments weekly to fill our customer orders. We are shipping as quickly as we can. Your charge card will not be charged-up until we are ready to process your order. Thank you for your understanding and patience! Harry R Weyandt President

Nitro-Pak is one of the distributors we often recommend to our readers, so we started there. Sure enough, the above inventory update is prominently posted.

I then placed a call to The Ready Store, whose products we link to from the Storing Food section of our 'What Should I Do?' guide. They also include a lot of Mountain House products in their food packages. They, too, are seeing high demand, which is affecting their promised shipping times.

In fact, last month had the most demand they've seen in their ten years of business. They're doing their best to fill stored food orders, but are concerned that higher prices and longer wait times are ahead for customers if demand continues rising. 

Next, I called Mountain House. They report this current level of demand is 'unprecedented' in their history. On top of that, they feel they usually can anticipate spikes like this given macro events, but this time the arrival and intensity of the demand caught them by surprise. They've already stopped selling #10 cans on their own site, and are limiting inventory to their top dealers (like The Ready Store and Nitro-Pak). They're working overtime to meet demand as best they can, but I sensed they are concerned about their ability to do so if this spike doesn't abate soon.

I asked both Mountain House and The Ready Store if the new demand was coming from a particular sector or new buyer (e.g. a military contract). Their answer was no; both observe that it's caused by a groundswell among general consumers who are increasingly concerned about the economy and future stability. Nitro-Pak's website statement appears to corroborate this.

So what does this mean? First off, what this is *not* is an all-out shortage. No one is thinks it's time to panic here. Perhaps this demand spike will dissipate soon. Unexpected surges in orders have happened before (though not of this magnitude), and things eventually returned to normal. Orders are still being filled, just more slowly than before.

But the combined suddenness, intensity, and unforeseen nature of the demand is unique and worth noting by the prudent individual. And if it persists - or increases - current prices and availability may be at risk. Hence this alert: if you've been planning to start or add to your food stores with pre-packaged offerings, you should consider accelerating your timeline.

And we want to be crystal-clear here: This only affects freeze dried food. There’s nothing to suggest that people who are willing to undergo the time and effort of storing their own food (you know, plastic buckets, Mylar bags, desiccants, etc.) will encounter any problems or delays. But for those who were hoping to simply cut a check and have the big brown truck of happiness come rollup their driveway and take their food storage concerns away, then this news concerns you. For certain there are minor delays afoot, and there will probably be price hikes along the way if the market tightness continues. If things grow even tighter, you may not be able to fulfill your wish lists.

We’ve seen one prior bout of tightness in the freeze dried food market, about a year ago, but this one seems to be slightly more severe. Such things tend to come and go, and it’s entirely reasonable to suspect that this one too will blow over. However we would be remiss in not bringing it to your attention.

We'll keep our readers abreast of this situation as it resolves or otherwise changes. In the interim, take this alert as a chance to evaluate your own personal level of preparedness around food. How much do you have in supply? What are the most important gaps to address? It's worth reviewing the Storing Food section of our free 'What Should I Do?' guide, if you haven't recently.

If any of you have any additional insight to offer into the availability of pre-packaged stored food, in your areas or otherwise, please contribute your comments below.

cheers,
Adam

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6 Comments

Chronic Agitator's picture
Chronic Agitator
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 5 2009
Posts: 14
Re: CM.com Alert: Food Storage Shortage Risk Emerging

Skeptical me wonders, if there are shortages and delays of Mountain House #10s why is there “up to 25% Off Weekend Sale” at Nitro-Pak?  When you have a real supply problem why make it worse?  Why forego the profits when there is high demand?  Looks like a marketing ploy to me. Just sayin'.

DRHolden's picture
DRHolden
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 18 2009
Posts: 131
Re: CM.com Alert: Food Storage Shortage Risk Emerging

I was wondering the same.  It also seems that since most of the country is blissfully anaware or uncaring, their regular volume may not be that big, so as awareness rises, or maybe fear, more people start ordering, and it wouldn't take much to reduce their inventory.  Ironically, they probably have a just in time inventory process just like everyone else.  I guess they weren't prepared Wink

Nacci's picture
Nacci
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2009
Posts: 194
Re: CM.com Alert: Food Storage Shortage Risk Emerging

I firmly believe that much of this recent demand for prepackaged long-term food storage can be laid at the doorstep of Glen Beck.  I associate with many different people, some of them avid followers of Glenn Beck.  Many of these Beck followers were luke-warm to the principals of preparedness that we follow here until Beck himself began to advocate them in earnest.  These people then began to call me simultaneously to ask how to store food long term, how to purchase precious metals and where to find more detailed information on what they were hearing from Beck.  In my experience Glenn Beck is very influential to a large segment of our population and when he told them to secure long-term food storage fast that is exactly what they did, in mass.

I would also like to coralate my position to a recent thread by Morpheus  http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/how-do-you-deal-abject-ignorance/48981  in which he states his frustration in dealing with the large majority of the population that is ignorant to our principals.  I advised him to look upon this ignorance as a gift from the Gods that allows us to prepare in relative peace.  If the masses were to become aware, then embrace these principals the system would experience an unprecedented demand for the very items the we as a community are looking to secure ourselves.  This unprecedented demand would be followed by shortages and increased prices that would last until the market could adjust to meet them.  It is also possible that the market will not be able to make this adjustment.  Nacci.

DRHolden's picture
DRHolden
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 18 2009
Posts: 131
Re: CM.com Alert: Food Storage Shortage Risk Emerging

Good points Nacci.  Anyway, I think it's better to just have a deeper pantry of the foods you and your family already like.

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
Re: CM.com Alert: Food Storage Shortage Risk Emerging
Nacci wrote:

I firmly believe that much of this recent demand for prepackaged long-term food storage can be laid at the doorstep of Glen Beck.  I associate with many different people, some of them avid followers of Glenn Beck.  Many of these Beck followers were luke-warm to the principals of preparedness that we follow here until Beck himself began to advocate them in earnest.  These people then began to call me simultaneously to ask how to store food long term, how to purchase precious metals and where to find more detailed information on what they were hearing from Beck.  In my experience Glenn Beck is very influential to a large segment of our population and when he told them to secure long-term food storage fast that is exactly what they did, in mass.

I believe you are absolutely correct.  A good friend of mine who, in the past, had accused me of negativity (about preparedness issues) and poo-pooed precious metals and food storage, suddenly e-mailed me and was very interested in being talked through the PM purchase process.  He had actually become more alarmed about economic issues than he had accused me of being by virtue of what he had heard on Glen Beck.  He is a very intelligent and extremely wise person and it surprised me how influenced he was by Beck and the esteem he held him in.  I don't watch him myself but my sense is that he's considerably behind the curve.

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