Prepping 101: Cheap Survival Food in Cans from the Mormons

LDS Online Store
LDS Cannery Locations
LDS Food Storage Store Locations

A survival budget is a tough thing to stretch, but this week I want to share with you a recent find that I think is unparalleled in the prepping and survival world. You may remember my fairly recent article on “Survival By The Numbers,” where I broke out some common foods and compared them to the calories per dollar average that you find sold by the survival food companies. In general, you should question the efficacy of any food under 300 calories per dollar, and that covers most “30 Day Supply” package, which rarely even have the calories they promise. What I left out of that article, mostly because I have covered it in a prior article, “Bags vs. Buckets,” is the cost of storing the food in containers that will protect it for the effective life.

The most protective container I have not yet covered, because they are really expensive. It is the #10 can, otherwise known as a 603 can. All of the larger survival food companies, including my source Honeyville Grain, sells bulk food in #10 cans, but it is really expensive. I personally own a #10 can sealer and have experimented with both dry pack and canning in #10 cans, but the sealers have not been available in any quantity for a long time, so I haven’t gotten to that article yet, because it would be pointless. But just to let you know, I actually have an electric sealer from China coming in two weeks, so I do hope to get to it soon.

Please watch this short 12 minute video on the cost comparisons between the LDS online food store and the other sources I have found. As long as they can handle the orders, I think there is not a better buy out there, especially in sealed #10 cans. These cans are over $3 each including shipping generally, and they don’t stack, so the box of empty cans is the same size as the filled cans.

Who knows if the LDS can handle the orders that we will generate here, but if it goes dark, just go back in a few weeks, assuming we haven’t collapsed yet. Don’t be afraid to order. I did, a large quantity, and the order was here in less than a week. I also have not had any follow up recruitment calls. Apparently one of the missions of the LDS church is to get people supplied with an emergency supply of food, and if I were you I would help them with that mission, as long as it stays in stock.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • USARSA June 25, 2018, 2:35 pm

    I just stumbled across this post, very belatedly, but appreciate this valuable information. I’ve been on a quest for quality food, at reasonable prices, to add to emergency reserves. This a great post. Thanks for your time and effort in putting together the info!

  • Matt April 24, 2017, 7:03 pm

    Just as a point of interest on the reasons for changes in policy for the LDS Canneries, it happened about four years ago. While there are many things that could be speculated as to why, the FDA imposed more strict requirements on food handling and packaging. One of the results was that the LDS Church had to change the practices to stop selling bulk bags or allowing people to do their own dry pack canning on-site. That is also why the cans or sealers are no longer available either. Interesting side note to this is that the FDA expected the individual sealers be destroyed rather sold off to people.

    The upside is that the goods can still be purchased in a canned state for a good price.

  • Mara Mai January 27, 2017, 6:58 am

    Vitamin pills are often overlooked. Your diet will not be perfect in a SHFT situation. Store a good multi-vitamin and extra vitamin C.

  • Cecil Loving October 13, 2016, 5:52 pm

    PLEASE don’t stop selling # 10 cans and lids some of us still need them and there is not a place to buy them and be able to save on the food stored.
    Thank you

  • Archangel August 27, 2016, 9:18 pm

    Buy some bulk quick oats, beans, rice, sugar and other long lasting dry foods, seal them in a 5 gallon bucket yourself with a Gama seal lid, then add O2 and moisture absorbers.
    Put them in an inexpensive metal cabinet to keep the mice out.
    Their prices being in metal #10 cans is quite high.

  • 1guyin10 July 4, 2016, 8:20 pm

    The Home Storage Centers normally sell to anyone, but that is sometimes curtailed and sales restricted to LDS church members only due to shortages or other factors. The Bishop’s Storehouse will always get top priority because it serves immediate (and often desperate) needs. The system that supplies these centers also supplies relief supplies worldwide. With the refugee situation in the Middle East and Europe there is currently high demand, so keep that in mind and don’t be offended if a local Storage Center can’t service you at a particular time.

  • Grockman March 5, 2016, 10:52 am

    I went through your list of food storage centers, focusing on those that are somewhat close to me. There is a storage center listed in Hendersonville, TN. I called their number and they are open one day each week and one Saturday each month. The number listed works and they provide an additional number if you wish to get more details, such as on-hand stock. Thank you for this as I would never have known without you taking the time to write it.

  • Glock_10 January 20, 2016, 3:04 pm

    I had forgotten about LDS food storage, thank you for the reminder. Since the LDS church is selling and giving to its own members I feel there will be no misrepresentations or slight of hand going on when I make a purchase. LDS food will make a worry free addition to my prepper closet.

  • Michael Howard January 19, 2016, 10:44 pm

    FYI, the Church of Latter Day Saints’ Home Storage Centers (selling long shelf life #10 can goods and pouch items) are open to anyone and without any commitment. The Bishop’s Stoehouse, normally co-located with Home Storage Centers, does require a Bishop’s (ward or congregation excomunical leader) signature on a list of common food stuffs. The Bishop’s Storhouse is for families in temporary need of assistance.

  • John Cummings III January 19, 2016, 7:58 pm

    Another thank you for a great write-up! Just did a test order to see how long to send to Hawaii at the $3 shipping option.

    • Penrod January 24, 2016, 10:00 pm

      Hi John, If you live on Oahu you can get them at the Home Storage Center in Kalihi- across the highway from Bishop Museum: 808-841-6311, 1120 Kalihi St Honolulu, HI 96819 Call ahead for very limited hours- IIRC about three hours Wed & Thursday afternoons. It has been a while since we bought any, but I am pretty sure they were cheaper than online. Also, there are some locally canned foods which are not listed online, so if convenient it may be well worth stopping by.

  • Higherview January 18, 2016, 1:25 pm

    Great article. We have used the LDS cannery or Home Storage Center in our region a number of times. We have used it as a group of individuals and also our “prepper group” has used their center to can and also seal bulk foods in Mylar bags for storage. We also signed up to borrow the canner and used it at our church for people who bought bulk and then we helped each other to seal all the food stuffs. We only needed to contact the folks at the center to set up a time when they were open for our group to come down and use the cannery for a number of hours, or reserve the equipment to borrow. They have lots of foods in oversize bulk packaging and you buy what you want and then can or seal it into the containers you are interested in using (#10 cans or Mylar bags) then pay at the end for the materials you have used. If you borrow the canner, if I recall, there was no charge only the cost of the cans, lids and labels which we got from them, we even were able to return the unused cans, if I remember correctly. I has been a little while since we used their facility or equipment, so I do not know if things have changed recently, but I can certainly recommend this process and really thank the LDS church for their willingness to help other get prepared and such a nice way.

  • Joe W. January 18, 2016, 12:16 pm

    I have been getting emergency food supplies from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for years now, but I never thought about getting the word out to other preppers or those who want to have a back up food supply for any kind of emergency from natural disaster to loosing your job. I am glad to see that you have done that. I try to rotate through my stock every couple of years and I have never had a problem with the LDS material. It is actually very good quality and it has long and robust shelf life, as you mentioned. It can be stored in the basement or the garage or the shed for years and will be a reliable food source if you have an emergency.

  • Janelle Williams January 18, 2016, 8:28 am

    Thanks for the excellent article and video. I’m from North Dakota, and yes, LDS. I’ve worked closely with the Home Storage Center in Apple Valley, Minnesota as I was the food storage specialist from our local ward (congregation). You do not need a bishop’s permission to go to the Home Storage Centers. It is the Bishop’s Storehouse that you would need to go through the local bishop first as it’s purpose is for those who have fallen on hard times. Anyone can access the Home Storage Centers. Outside of Utah and Idaho, the hours are often only a few hours a day, a couple of days a week. The Centers are staffed by volunteers. They would be happy to help anyone working their way to self-reliance. And the prices of products are even lower at the centers even though they are the exact same products in the same packaging. Except for Apple Slices for some reason. Also, and it is a small thing, those wanting to order from, like many online ordering sites, will need to set up an account. But like you said, no strings attached. I hope they can handle the increased orders as well. Last fall there was quite a run on products online and they were backordered for several weeks but it appears they’ve caught back up again. Well, thanks to you, one of the best secrets of quality, packaged, affordable long-term food storage is out. Well done.

    • Paul Helinski January 18, 2016, 8:34 am

      You don’t actually need an account. It allows you to check out as a guest.

  • Christopher Kennedy January 18, 2016, 7:24 am

    Hey, we Mormons aren’t all that bad. I’d be willing to wager (but we’re discouraged for doing such things) that a lion’s share of your subscribers are LDS. Glad to see that you’ve stumbled upon one of the many food storage sites we have. Also, for those of you who live close to any LDS congregations, we also fave facilities throughout the world, known as Bishops Storehouses, where people (members and non-members alike) are able to go and can their own food. This is mostly dry-pack stuff like wheat, oats, various kinds of beans, flour, sugar, etc.
    Learning how to can your own food is a great resource and also provides an opportunity for you and your family to work on building a meaningful emergency food supply. Everything is done in the number 10 cans with stackable boxes and resealable lids. Wheather LDS or not we’re all in this together and in the end like-minded people are going to need to have one another to rely on. As on of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin so eloquently put it: We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

    • Paul Helinski January 18, 2016, 7:44 am

      No, Christopher, you don’t anymore. That is explained in the video. The LDS canneries were shut down years ago, except for the 12 I show and linked to. But you can buy food if the local Bishop allows nonmembers. The majority of the subscribers are not LDS here, and it doesn’t like you hang around the church much lol. This is a great resource they have provided.

      • Ted January 18, 2016, 10:35 am

        Just curious–how do you know that the majority aren’t Mormon? How many of us are Catholics? Not being snarky, just actually curious.

        • Paul Helinski January 18, 2016, 10:39 am

          Because we have demographic data for 800,000 subscribers and it is a statistical impossibility regardless.

          • Actual Statistician October 22, 2016, 8:21 pm

            It may be a statistical improbability, but not an impossibility. All but you may be Mormon. Improbable, but not impossible.

            Also, where can I get one of those cool hats you were wearing the other day?

  • Joe Deats January 18, 2016, 5:49 am

    Loved the article, thank you so much for the great web site. I’ve ordered some things already. Please please change the battery in your smoke detector the beeping in the back is driving me nuts. Thanks again and have a great day.

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