Emergency Essentials is one of the longest tenured emergency preparedness and food storage companies around. They have been in business for over 25 years. For customers up and down the Wasatch Front in Northern Utah they have 4 retail stores to go along with their presense online. The company was family owned up until later 2012 when it was sold .
Besides selling emergency preparedness items online, Emergency Essentials also has their own food product line which they have packaged locally. The name of the brand is Provident Pantry and it has a variety of just-add water meals, freeze-dried fruit and vegetables, as well as dehydrated goods to round it all out.
Emergency Essentials differs from some of its competition in that it has a strong mail order catalog program and a number of retail stores. While some food storage companies have annual catalogs, Emergency Essentials sends them out monthly.
CUSTOMER SERVICE – score: 9/10
As we often state in our food storage company reviews, a company is only is as good as the service they provide, which is why we examine service first when reviewing a vendor. Over the past 5 years, Shawn and I have ordered from Emergency Essentials on numerous occasions online and in person and have had very good experiences when dealing with their customer service team. You can contact them via email and phone, and through their forum but we would have liked seeing an online chat feature like some of their competitors. Getting instant gratification from a live person beats emails in our book and most people in our country don’t live within driving distance of their stores to talk to an employee in person. Overall though each time we have had a question about an order we have been helped quickly.
So far we have not had any complaints with Emergency Essentials. After reading up on their 30-day unconditional Customer Satisfaction Guarantee, we have no reason to think we won’t be helped just fine if a problem comes up. Our only complaint is ship times can often be longer than others and some items can be out of stock more often than other companies.
PRICING – score: 10/10
Emergency Essentials is the Walmart of emergency preparedness. They have a huge product offering (which we will talk about below) and they prescribe to the “Everyday Low Prices” mantra. While some competitors may have lower prices when they have a sale you can almost always use Emergency Essentials as a low price benchmark to see if those other deals are really good or not. For someone that doesn’t want to fuss with promotions they are a great option.
Now this doesn’t mean Emergency Essentials doesn’t have sales and promotions, they do and sometimes you can score some pretty amazing deals when items are on sale. For those that receive the catalogs, there are deals in the catalogs which are mailed to homes across the country. Check out our page where we list Emergency Essentials discounts each month in order of biggest discount to lowest
Lastly it is important to look at shipping rates to get the full pricing picture. While we prefer free or flat rate systems that are easy to remember their tier system is very competitive with others. The shipping system works like this:
Order amount up to $60.00 = $6.00 shipping fee
Order amount between $60.01-$120.00 = $9.00 shipping
Order amount of $120.01 or more = $12.00 shipping
FOOD STORAGE – score: 10/10
Emergency Essentials carries two brands of food storage, Mountain House and their own brand Provident Pantry. Unlike some companies that only carry their own brand or only carry Mountain House (a national brand), Emergency Essentials carries both brands which is nice, having options is rarely a bad thing. Between those two brands, almost every food you can think of is covered, whether it is freeze-dried or dehydrated.
Aside from the two brands, they put foods in a wide variety of packaging. Mountain House can be purchased in 2 and 4 serving pouches as well as the very popular #10 cans.
In the Provident Pantry line you can buy it in a #10 can, MyChoice cans (1/4th the size of a #10 can), combos (6 #10 can varieties), and SuperPails which are 6 gallon buckets with food put in a sealed mylar bag.
Emergency Essentials also carries 1 month and 12 month food storage kits for adults. Their kits vary from just add water meals to components you have to cook together to make a meal and they also have a food storage analyzer that can help you get started. While we didn’t find it very useful some may.
PRODUCT SELECTION – score: 10/10
As we mentioned earlier you will feel like you are in a mega-super store when shopping at Emergency Essentials. They have over 1,000 products on their site. The product selection varies from MREs, cook books, water storage, 72 hour kits, and a wide variety of emergency supplies suited for grab-n-go situation as well as sheltering in place.
The enormous variety of products means you will be spending some serious time on the site, which is our only real knock on the company, the website isn’t intuitive and easy to shop as others (update March 2013, they have re-done their site which we will cover below).
PRODUCT QUALITY – score: 9/10
We have been buying from Emergency Essentials for a half a decade now and in that time we have tried a variety of different food storage products and found them to be of good quality. As with a couple of their competitors, we are fortunate to live near their 4 retail stores and have tasted samples and played around with demo products to know that most of the items are of good quality.
One thing you have to watch with Emergency Essentials (as well as a few other preparedness companies) is the quality of the items in the lower priced 72 hour kits. Often the components are not up to my standards so instead I look at what’s in the kits and buy nicer similar items separately. Surely that costs more but I feel I have a better bug out bag in the end.
WEBSITE – score: 8.5/10
[UPDATE MARCH 2013: This section has been revised due to Emergency Essentials' major website overhaul]
Previously our only real big complain was the Emergency Essentials website. It was so antiquated and was nothing like the great retail store in South Jordan that we shop at. With the new site many things have improved such as navigation. Now the site has easy to understand main categories along the top. Along the side of the pages are miscellaneous categories that help you shop by new product, products on sale or the Quick List shopping view.
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Once you click through to the product page you are met with good information that is relevant to the product. Before you had to click around for a lot of product related details but now alot of it are on the pages like reviews, nutritional info, additional details, videos,ect. The amount of details and product description though can sometimes still be lacking though that seems to be improving each time we go back to the site.
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The search capabilities work well. With so many items and types of categories you are going to benefit from it if you know what you are looking for.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES – score: 9.5/10
Emergency Essentials has a variety of other resources to help inform and educate the customer. Their website has insight articles that are chalk full of good information as well as a forum where there is some decent activity. The blog has some really useful articles along with frequent giveaways that are fun to enter (still haven’t won though!). There is a recipe section on their website as well that has over 150 recipes! There is also a Food Storage Analyzer that will help you get started with your food storage plan.
Outside of the resources found on their site, they have a bustling Facebook page where again there are links to articles and free product giveaways. The Emergency Essentials YouTube channel has some quality videos but they are few and far between with only 27 videos as of this review. We would like to see more of them and we feel that this is already happening as 19 of those were made in the last 12 months, hopefully they ramp up production since they are great to watch.
OVERALL SCORE – total score: 66/70 – 94% – FINAL GRADE: A
Emergency Essentials consistently has some of the best deals around which matters a lot in this economy. Aside from great deals they have, they carry nearly everything under the sun. While their website may not be our favorite in terms of navigation it does provide good information that will help aid you in the purchase process and soon enough you will get accustomed to it and you will be saving money in no time! This concludes our Emergency Essentials review!
Visit Emergency Essentials website site.