Thursday, January 19, 2017

Survival Food: BP-5 vs. Seven Oceans

When I started to prepare on a serious...eh.."seriouser" basis I ran into the first problem: SPACE.

At this time we just moved from Denmark to a little apartment provided by my wife's company on Marszalkowska Street / Warszawa. The apartment had near to none closet space and my wife grew rapidly tired of me and my new "shit idea".
Food and water are obviously bulky and having boxes stacked with food WAS a bit inconvenient.

Also: "Normal food" has a rather bad volume (weight) to calorie ratio (unless you want to eat a bag of flour....or sugar....but who am I? Homer Simpson??) which is bad because I  wanted to be able to put a large supply of food in a sports bag..just if we had to  evacuate in a hurry.

Short: I wanted a 14 days supply of food for two adults fitting in a box or large bag, maybe some food SUBSTITUTE as supplement for when resources are rare...hey wait!
My father used to take  life boat rations home when they exchanged the equipment on those boats every 5 years. We used them on hiking trips as healthier alternative to chokolate for energy boosts.

So I started with the brand I knew: Seven Oceans life boat rations!


Seven Oceans life boat rations: 9x2 biscuits in one vacuum sealed block.

They were easy to get by and I was pleased with the price and taste. 

The life boat rations (Seven Oceans) were/are cheap blocks of 9 biscuits made out of compressed wheat with vegetable fats and added vitamins/minerals.  All vacuum packed in rodent proof foil in a box that could withstand the brutality of being packed in a life raft and dropped up to 20 m from a ship or oil rig. They weigh 500 g each and have 2500kcal (10300 KJ) High on protein and dietary fiber.

So far so good, but one thing turned me off:
The low shelf life! "Only" 5 years?!

But there were other products: The BP-5 compressed food rations instance: They are designed for emergency relief in disaster areas and are used in places like Sudan, Haiti etc etc.
The BP-5 have a shelf life of UP TO 15 years, are similar in  weight and size compared to the life boat rations and basically are: Pricey blocks of 9 biscuits made out of compressed wheat with vegetable fats and added vitamins/minerals. All vacuum packed in rodent proof foil in a box that could withstand the brutality of being packed on a truck and driven through half a continent or dropped from an airplane. They weigh 500 g each and have around 2020 kcal (8495 KJ). High on protein and dietary fiber.

What?


BP-5 and Seven Oceans.

BP-5`s calorie count.

Those products were nearly identical! I guess it is limited in how many different ways you can produce "blocks of buscuits made out of compressed wheat with vegetable fats and added vitamins/minerals".
So. it turns out that the difference in shelf life is determined by the producing country:
- The Seven Oceans have a shelf life of 5 years because that is the maximum given for any food by its producing country: Norway (And also some additional rules for life boat rations may apply due to the ships vibration and temperature differences.)

As you can see: The best before date is a matter of domestic regulations.
 - The BP-5 is produced in Germany where they have some slightly different sets of rules,   especially when it comes to emergency relief or military rations. I have personally enjoyed the German militaries  "Notverpflegung" (Identical to the BP 5 or Seven Ocean) with only the production date available: 1978. 

My ignorant younger me was afraid of getting hallucinations and become the protagonist in a Hieronymus Bosch picture for the next few days...but I was ok!




Half eaten block of Seven Oceans, this package has been opened for
21 days and is still fresh.

So I guess I stick to the life boat rations: They are easier to get and cheaper..also it has a pretty boaty on the package!

Plus with combressed emergency food: Mixed with water it makes a passable goo for smaller children to eat! That had some importance for me over the last 7 years of my life.



Close up of a Seven Oceans bar.


The fabled Seven Ocean porridge: Low sodium, high on protein
and high on fiber.




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