Apocalypse Chow: Disaster Response Foods are Big Business

An employee is testing the packaging for disaster response foods.

From Bloomberg Businessweek, a profile of Aaron Jackson, who is changing the market for disaster response foods:

Jackson is the 42-year-old chief executive officer of Wise Co., a leading brand in survival foods, that is, Mylar pouches of freeze-dried meals such as Savory Stroganoff and Loaded Baked Potato Casserole designed to remain edible on shelves for a quarter century. Over the past several years, the prepper phenomenon—people geared for imminent disaster—has come out of the backwoods via shows like the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Prepper and media reports of the very rich and very worried buying and fortifying luxury bunkers. Jackson’s been positioning Wise to feed the trend.

As the profile notes, fears of the apocalypse or, at the very least, a government-bungled catastrophe, are increasing the demand for disaster response foods, pushing the products out of a cottage industry into the suburban big-box stores:

In four years, Wise’s annual retail sales have more than doubled, to about $75 million . . . Wise’s two main competitors, Emergency Essentials LLC and Mountain House are, like all companies in the industry, privately held and don’t report sales data, but Jackson estimates that survival food sales total about $400 million annually.