Cheapest food to store for an emergency

00:36, Dec 14 2012
Peanut butter
GO NUTS: Peanut butter is one of the foods identified by a new study to be the cheapest to stock for an emergency.

Cantabrians could stock up their emergency supplies with nutritious food for as little as $2.22 a day, a study shows.

Most people in Christchurch have made sure they have full supplies in the event of an earthquake, but new research from the University of Otago has looked at the cheapest emergency food to stockpile.

It showed storage foods for an emergency, such as an earthquake, that meet all daily energy requirements could cost just over $2 a day per person.

The foods they identified were flour, rice, pasta, vegetable oil, wholegrain oats, sugar and peanut butter.

The research used a mathematical technique called "linear programming" that assessed New Zealand foods by price and nutrition data.

The computerised method worked out "optimised solutions", such as the lowest total cost to provide a set amount of dietary energy or all required nutrients.


Public health researcher Nick Wilson said the study was done to better inform disaster preparations and civil defence, given that New Zealand was subject to a wide range of natural disasters.

"There is also evidence that some families run very low on stored food or make no disaster preparations at all, and this research may encourage people to be better prepared because of the very low cost," he said.

The research also looked at the cost of foods that did not require any cooking, such as food that could be eaten directly out of a can or after soaking.

The cost of those foods was slightly higher at $3.67 a day to provide enough energy for one man.

The foods identified were wholegrain oats, vegetable oil, dried peas, breakfast biscuits like Weet-Bix, sugar, peanut butter, sultanas and peanuts.

The Press