Sadly, survival food has become a booming business in the wake of the pandemic. For Wired, Jacopo Prisco samples the “ready-to-eat” lasagna in reporting on this disturbing trend.
Readywise’s best seller is a four-week, one-person bundle that retails for $300 and supplies 2,000 calories a day. It includes breakfast and dinner options, such as pancake mix, pasta Alfredo, and dried banana chips: “With a month’s worth of food, you get to put together a good plan,” Lawlor says. “And so that’s what most people want to do. But we do have a very big celebrity that is buying up to $50,000 worth of food—that’s five years.”
Nutrient Survival’s best seller is a 14-day emergency food kit that provides roughly 1,400 calories per day. It retails for $315 and includes mac and cheese, apple cinnamon oatmeal, and chocolate crunch. It is more expensive than Readywise, but not at the top end of the scale: A similar kit from Mountain House, which provides about 1,700 calories per day, costs $438.
“Our largest purchase ever from an individual consumer was $55,000,” says Christianson. “That’s a Mercedes-Benz. But preppers don’t just buy one set of food—they’re coming back every single month. It blew me away when I got into this business that our repeat rate is 40 percent. The reason is simple. They don’t have all the money that they need to buy all the food that they want. So they put a little away, just like you put away a little bit of savings. This is truly an investment for them.” He adds that the delivery addresses don’t have a specific regional pattern and are mostly “modest, middle American homes.”