Your emergency food supply should provide you with the nutrition you need to survive in extreme conditions. Your body needs protein to build muscles, repair cells, support the immune system, and as a source of energy.
Many emergency meals boost their calorie content with carbohydrates and fats, often skimping on protein.
Freeze-dried meat is one of the best ways to increase the protein content in your emergency food supply.
We looked at these factors to determine our top picks:
- Calorie count
- Ease of preparation
- Value for money
- Packaging: must be robust
Bottom Line Upfront
Best Freeze Dried Meat Winners
- Best Overall: Valley Food Storage Freeze-Dried Meat Bucket
- Best Price Per Calorie: 4Patriots’ Gold Medallion All-Meat Survival Food Supply
- Best for Shelf Life: Augason Farms Freeze Dried Beef Chunks
Freeze Dried Meat Comparison Table
Reviews of the Best Freeze-Dried Meat Products
#1 Valley Food Storage Freeze-Dried Meat Bucket
This product is made exclusively from high-quality USDA-certified meats. Each serving is 1/2 cup and contains approximately 140 calories.
This bucket contains beef, chicken, and sausage, all of which have been pre-cooked. Eat your freeze-dried meats straight from the packet for a quick protein boost, or add them to a food storage entree for a protein-dense meal.
Each pouch of freeze-dried meat contains eight servings, and the buckets are available in either 48-serving or 96-serving sizes. The larger option comes with a water-resistant food storage bucket, but even without this, the pouches will preserve and protect your meat for up to 25 years.
The chicken option is the most protein-rich, with 21g of protein per serving, while the freeze-dried sausage contains just 15g but comes with an energy-boosting calorie content of 180 per portion.
Although Valley Food Storage’s products are more expensive than most freeze-dried meats, they are of such high quality that they remain cost-effective.
- 25-year shelf-life
- High-calorie content
- Low sodium
- Higher price range
#2 4Patriots Gold Medallion All-Meat Survival Food Supply
Seeking to satisfy “the hungriest appetites,” 4Patriots’s all-meat survival food supply contains 136 servings of chicken and beef. Each serving contains around 180 calories and tastes a lot better than your average MRE.
Not only are 4Patriots catering for the hungry, but they’re also doing it in an affordable and nutritious way. They are by far the cheapest on a price per calorie basis.
Their freeze-dried meats come with a shelf-life of up to 25 years, courtesy of the triple-layer Mylar pouches they use to protect their products against air, light, and moisture.
While you can eat some freeze-dried meats straight from the packet, 4Patriots’ need boiling water to make them suitable for consumption. While this is possible in most survival situations, it does make them slightly less versatile than some of the other products reviewed here.
- Good budget option
- Lots of calories for the money
- 25-year shelf life
- Requires boiling water to prepare
#3 Augason Farms Freeze Dried Beef Chunks
Augason Farms packs 180 calories into each 34g serving of freeze-dried beef chunks, which you quickly unleash by soaking the meat in water for five minutes.
Alongside 4Patriot’s Gold Medallion All-Meat Survival Food Supply, this is the most calorific freeze-dried meat on the market, giving you more bang for your buck. That can only be a good thing as Augason Farms’ freeze-dried meat products are also at the higher end of the price scale.
All their freeze-dried meat products are packaged in sealed pouches, packed inside an industrial size #10 can. This approach to packaging extends the shelf-life of these goods to up to 30 years and prevents contamination by rodents, oxygen, and water.
Certified gluten-free, Augason Farms’ beef chunks contain only natural ingredients. They are also easy to store and transport.
- Contains only natural ingredients
- 30-year shelf life
- Higher price range
#4 ReadyWise 60 Serving Freeze Dried Meat Bucket
ReadyWise’s freeze-dried meat bucket is easy to store and comes with a Grab-n-Go handle that makes it ideal in an emergency. With more variety than any other product we found, the ReadyWise meat bucket contains six different meat dishes and 20 servings of rice, giving you additional protein and an extra energy boost into the bargain.
The sodium content is high, however, making these products slightly less healthy than those from Valley Food Storage. If you’re exerting yourself building a shelter or chopping wood for a fire, the additional sodium is necessary to replace what you lose sweating. However, if you’re hunkered down in your underground storm shelter, it could become an issue long-term.
ReadyWise’s meat bucket contains complete meals, as well as pouches of freeze-dried meat, so you can add a little spice to your meals with a portion of teriyaki chicken or stroganoff beef.
Each pouch contains four servings, rather than the eight included in Valley Food Storage’s pouches which helps reduce wastage.
These freeze-dried meat products come in sealed pouches that can keep them fresh for up to 15 years. This is one of the shortest shelf lives of any of the products reviewed here, but it’s still long enough to make it suitable for long-term storage.
More affordable than Valley Food Storage, ReadyWise’s meats come with a mid-range price tag that complements their calorie content.
- Mid-range price
- Variety of meats and protein sources
- 15-year shelf-life
#5 Legacy Freeze-Dried Meat Package
The Legacy Freeze-Dried Meat Package contains a selection of chicken and beef, each containing between 120 and 130 calories per serving. The servings are a little smaller than most standard portions, weighing just 24g rather than 30g. The shelf-life is also comparatively short at just 10 to 15 years.
You can’t eat these freeze-dried meats straight from the packet as they need rehydrating with water to make them ready for consumption.
Although the sodium levels in the freeze-dried chicken are relatively low, those in the beef are extremely high, with each serving containing a whopping 500mg of sodium. Health organizations recommend that healthy adults should eat no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day. Any more than this could cause problems like high blood pressure.
Despite that, Legacy’s freeze-dried meats offer a quick way of making your emergency meals more nutritious while providing an essential protein boost.
With their resealable bags, these freeze-dried meats are portable and easy to store, although they do require refrigeration after you’ve added water, which could be a problem in some situations.
- Easy to store and transport
- High sodium
- Shorter than the average shelf life
- Needs rehydrating
- Small portions
7 Features to Look For in Freeze-Dried Meats
Finding good-quality freeze-dried meats can be challenging, but if you prioritize the following seven features, you’ll end up with a product that provides the nutrition you need, lasts up to 30 years, and tastes as good as the day it was packaged.
Preparing freeze-dried meats is a simple process that takes just a few minutes. The best freeze-dried meats for survival are those you can eat straight from the packet.
This feature makes them more versatile and means you don’t even need fresh water to prepare them.
Others, like those from 4Patriots, need boiling water to rehydrate the contents, making them slightly less versatile and less useful in a serious survival situation.
#2 Shelf Life
Freeze-dried meats last between 10 and 30 years, depending on the packaging. Augason Farms’ products have the longest shelf lives and will still provide a tasty, nutritious meal in 30 years.
#3 Nutrition and Calories
In a long-term survival situation, you could face a shortage of food so whatever you do have to eat, needs to provide you with as much nutrition and energy as possible. You’ll also be stressed, which means you’ll need more protein to offset the speed at which your body releases cortisol.
#4 Sodium Content
A lot of freeze-dried meat contains high levels of sodium. Manufacturers use it to improve the taste and prolong the product’s shelf life. Unfortunately, too much salt can bad for your health, especially if you’re inactive, which you could be if you’re restricted to a bunker for a fortnight. Read more about the best bunker food.
Although manufacturers are aware of the dangers of eating too much sodium, they also say their products are designed for active people.
Consider your most likely survival situation before buying, and if you anticipate long hours of inactivity, opt for a low-sodium product like those from Valley Food Storage.
The cheapest freeze-dried meats may save you a few dollars, but they won’t necessarily give you the best value for money. Some have larger servings than others, while others contain more calories or extra protein.
4Patriots’ Gold Medallion All-Meat Survival Food Supply is hard to beat in terms of price and receives good reviews for flavor, making it the best budget option.
Nearly all freeze-dried meats are packaged in sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to extend the shelf life even further. This approach is “considered the best long-term storage method” and is the reason why these products can last for so long.
Sturdy packaging that can withstand extreme weather conditions is also essential.
The best options are packaged in smaller portions containing no more than four servings to minimize waste.
No survival food can compare with a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, but freeze-dried meat should at least be tasty enough that you don’t have to be starving to eat it.
Freeze-dried meat tastes surprisingly good, partly because the process of freeze-drying is “better than dehydrating at preserving flavor and color.”
Freeze-dried meat is a great way of getting some healthy protein into your emergency diet. Valley Food Storage’s freeze-dried meat bucket is the best overall, providing a good balance of versatility, shelf life, sodium content, nutrition, and taste.
While you need fresh drinking water to rehydrate most freeze-dried meat products, you can eat Valley Food Storage’s products straight from the packet, making them more suited to extreme survival.
The most economical product is 4Patriot’s Gold Medallion All-Meat Survival Food Supply, which gives you more calories per dollar than any of the other products reviewed here.
Some of the more pricey options, like those from Augason Farms, are still worth considering. They have a longer shelf-life, better packaging, and contain only natural ingredients.