- Costco currently sells a $1,000 emergency food kit that provides enough rations for one year, according to the Detroit Free Press. The supply contains close to one hundred gallon-sized cans containing a variety of staple goods that will last up to twenty-five years.
- Costco declined to reveal sales figures to the Free Press, but noted that the emergency kit is designed to meet customer demand. "The idea came about making a great starter kit for a family who wanted to prepare for any kind of disaster,” the company noted in a statement to the newspaper. “This is a great value with shipping included."
- The club store isn’t the only retailer that sells so-called survival food. Walmart also offers kits that last from two days to a year, with prices ranging from $25.88 up to $1,290.99.
It turns out the survival food market is quite competitive. In addition to Costco’s $1,000 kit, Walmart sells a slightly pricier year’s supply of “premium” ingredients. The mega retailer, as well as its Sam’s Club arm, also sells a selection of emergency food kits from brands like Wise, Mountain House and Augason Farms.
Price tends to vary according to the number of calories each kit provides per person, per day. Costco’s one-year kit, offered by supplier NutriStore, provides around 1,200 calories per day; other kits offer up to 1,700 calories per day. Kits also distinguish themselves according to cuisine types and even the use of natural ingredients.
Costco offers even bigger kits for $4,000 and $6,000, while Walmart does the same. The retailer that takes the freeze-dried cake, however, is Sam’s Club, which sells a “friends and family” emergency kit that contains nearly 3,000 cans, more than 12 million calories, and feeds twenty people for one year. Price tag: $26,998.
It’s hard to say whether there’s increasing demand for survival foods. Research firms don’t track sales, though recent polls indicate people’s doomsday fears are rising in light of natural disasters and recent geopolitical issues. According to a survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs cited by the Free Press, three-quarters of Americans last month cited North Korea as a critical threat to the U.S. An army surplus store owner also told the Free Press he’s seeing more people coming in to buy emergency supplies.
This survival food kit is another example of how Costco, which focuses primarily on its in-store experience, has gradually ramped up its online offerings. The retailer offers around 10,000 products online compared to the 4,000 it offers in stores, and has recently added new products and updated its search function. Despite these updates, the company lags well behind competitors in the ecommerce space, leading some analysts to speculate it could eventually run into trouble, despite its “Amazon-proof” status of late.