What you Need to Know about #10 Cans

Are #10 Cans Created Equal?

There are so many different companies that sell #10 cans of freeze dried or dehydrated food.  It can be confusing to know what to buy. So many companies are telling you to buy from them, or friends are encouraging you to buy from them as well.

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I have personally tried the Home Storage Center , Thrive, Augason Farms, and Honeyville products.  Over the years, I have learned more and more about the different companies.  Along with my personal experience, and research from other websites, I have determined that not ALL #10 cans are created equal.

“Updated October 2020” This post may contain affiliate links.  Read my affiliate link disclosure here

Not all #10 cans are created equal

Not sure what #10 cans are?  Read more here.

Weight vs Price

This has been VERY confusing over the years of building our supply.  When looking to buy a lot of products to last a year for my family I wanted to make sure I got the best quality and quantity for the best price.  Overall, food storage has the best quantity and quality at the best price.

I do have to note, that I know some people have claimed that their white flour tastes like aluminum when stored for more than 10 years.  I have personally had flour that was 10-15 years old and never noticed an off-taste.  

When comparing prices of #10 cans, it is important to ALWAYS compare the weight.  (Typically comparing dollar per ounce is best.)  I used to compare the servings and realized serving sizes from company to company vary, and I lost some money using that system.

Prepared LDS Family – 8 years ago made a comparison sheet from the top #10 can Food Storage competitors.  This worksheet is definitely not updated with the current prices but will give you an example of the different prices per ounce for 6 major competitors.  I have noticed that Family Storage Center has ALWAYS had the most product per ounce, and cheaper price.  (I am not an affiliate with LDS Family Storage Center).

Not all calories are equal

A #10 can of a fruit or veggies will have far less calories per serving compared to a serving of oats or wheat.

On a side note about calories not being equal, I just want to make mention about the “pre-made” food storage buckets or #10 can packs of food storage for a year (or other length of time).  I haven’t done the research on this, but Store This Not That has.  Here are their highlighted tips about different calories.   The biggest problem with buying the bulk #10 food storage pack or buckets is the calories they  count are mainly from liquid sugary drinks and broths.  Their x number of calories per day is mainly liquids which will NOT be filling in general, and be even worse in an emergency situation where you are counting on extra calories.  Although they may be great for a diet.

“Look for nutritious calories, not empty calories.” –Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Number of servings can be misleading

One company will advertise 52 servings of 1/4 cup totaling 13 cups in a #10 can.  Where another company will advertise 52 servings of 1/3 cup totaling 15.5 cups in a #10 can.  The biggest mistake I have made was buying Honeyville whole egg powder which had more volume in the can but only 72 eggs, vs buying Thrive Life whole egg powder which had a smaller volume but almost double the number of eggs.  The reason behind this was that Honeyville uses 2 Tbsp powder per one egg since it had additives in it and Thrive uses 1 Tbsp powder per one egg with no additives.  Both companies were about the same price.  These companies have since changed their labels and Honeyville is now similar to Thrive.  This is just something to take note of when comparing prices with #10 cans from one company to the next.

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Not all shipping is created equal

#10 cans are heavy.  Freeze-dried #10 cans are lighter, but can still be heavy and bulky.  Beware of shipping fees.  Honeyville has had a flat rate shipping of $4.99.  I bought 7 boxes of food at one time, and ONLY paid $4.99 to ship it all (US only).  Thrive used to have outrageous shipping where the shipping would increase with the more money you spent.  Now, looking at the website it shows free shipping on orders over $49.  EDIT:  I was informed that free shipping over $50 is wrong. I’m working on an update for their shipping prices and will edit this post when I find out.  If you do know shipping rates with Thrive, feel free to comment below.

Check the shelf life claims

If the company hasn’t been around for 20-30 years, how can they be sure that their product lasts that long?  Sticking to the basics when choosing your long term food storage supply, over the years, I’ve found that finding proven items that have lasted through out time is best.  Rice, wheat, beans and oats are more common items.

Know the difference between freeze dried and dehydrated

I made this mistake once… and only once.  My husband called me from the store and said “they have freeze-dried bell peppers on sale for $10.99”.  I practically jumped for joy!  All of my research showed they were in the $20 range at the time.  I told him to buy 3.  When he came home, we both realized it was dehydrated NOT freeze-dried… 4 years later I am still trying to sneak dehydrated bell peppers into our meals.

Dehydrated items tend to be harder, and don’t re-hydrate as well.  When using them, they work well for crock pot cooking.  Typically onions, apple slices and re-fried beans are the most common dehydrated food storage items.  Dehydrating food is easy for anyone to do either using a dehydrator or oven (which is why this food is typically cheaper per #10 can)

Freeze-dried foods are lightweight, fluffy and when re-hydrated look very similar (although mushy) like the regular version of the food.  These are about double the price.  They have freeze dryer machines you can use in your home, but they are well over $1000.

With many different companies that sell #10 cans for food storage, it can be confusing to know where to buy, esp with friends and family trying to convince

In conclusion

#10 cans can be found in many more places now than 5-10 years ago.  If you are looking for basic #10 can food items, the Home Storage Center is the best price for the most amount of food.  They sell food to HELP not to make money off of it.

When looking for freeze-dried food items, you’ll need to do some research across the board between companies.  My favorite over the years has been Honeyville or Augason Farms (Augason doesn’t have a large selection, but can be found at some super Walmart, and can have competitive prices).

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What have been your issues with #10 cans?

Further Reading

What are #10 cans

Are you making these 3 Food Storage Mistakes?

How to build your Food Storage: 4 Video Series

As always, if you love what you read or have found it helpful, please share or comment below.  Thanks for reading!


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6 thoughts on “What you Need to Know about #10 Cans”

  1. I’m always leery of comparing #10 cans based on weight, since if someone dries the food more throughly, it will weigh less for a given amount of food. I tend to base my comparisons on calories, but your point on sugar is well taken. I always compare the sugar content of items I’m thinking of getting and if it’s too high based on competing brands, but that’s only usually an issue for pre-made meals – things like diced chicken, onions, or carrots tend to not vary much at all from place to place.
    Any of the pre-made items I’ve bought have come from one of three vendors so far: Mountain House, Emergency Essentials and The ReadyStore. Mountain House because their reputation is stellar and their packaging has withstood the test of time. The other brands I bought because they tend to pack more food into each #10 can than MountainHouse does and I have limited storage space so it was important that I squeeze more food into a given amount of space.
    For individual ingredients, I have bought from those 3 stores plus Honeyville. Actually for wheat berries and corn, I’ve only bought from Honeyville in their bulk bags and repackaged it myself into mylar bags. But for meat, fruits, veggies, etc. I buy them mostly in #10 cans although I did get some pouches too, which cuts down on how much food I have opened to the elements at any given time.
    Thanks for the interesting article!

    1. That’s a good point about weight and how through the food is dried. I feel like since it has to be approved, it should all be pretty similar. That’s definitely something to keep in mind. Where do you buy your mylar bags from?

      1. So far I’ve just bought from mylarbagsdirect.com. I’ve tried their 5 gallon bucket sized bags, their 1 gallon zipper top bags and 1 gallon vacufoil bags. Actually, I’ve only used the bucket sized and the 1 gallon zipper bags…I haven’t had an opportunity to use the vacufoil bags yet, but I’ve had great luck with their other bags. They seal easily with a hair straightener so I didn’t have to spend the cash on a full size thermal sealer.
        One safety tip if you’re putting corn into mylar bags…put it in unbleached paper bags first, leaving the paper bag tops open, then put that in the mylar. Otherwise the corn has a nasty habit of puncturing the mylar as the oxygen absorber tightens the bag around the corn. I had to repackage almost all my corn because of that little gotcha. Oh well, prep and learn. 😉

    1. Yes, I’ve read both thrive market, but you’re right, the website shows Thrive Life (I’ll go correct that). I must have heard wrong, do they still charge increased shipping depending on how much you spend? That’s how it used to be and I hated it… but then someone told me their shipping policy had changed to anything free over $50… maybe that was a one time promotion?

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