*ER Bar (3600 Calories) Evaluation*
ER Bar 3600: My wife and I each have one of these, along with some other food, in our 72-hour bags (we live in the Seattle area -- waiting for another big earthquake). After recently joining the Rubicon, I realized that I need to determine whether the marketing material is accurate on a component we could really need to depend on. Is it actually edible? Could we stomach it? Should we be carrying something else? Let's see. (Note: I am evaluating this as a temporary, short-term, emergency food source, not for the purpose of storing as a major component of food storage for a protracted emergency.)
Goal: Provide long-term storable, compact, palatable sustenance for use over a 72-hour period.
Size: Approx 6 3/8" x 6 3/8" x 1 1/2". Weight: 1 1/2 lbs.(per packaging). Packaging: Foil/plastic, sturdy enough to prevent inadvertent seal breakage/tearing. Meets the size/weight criteria for our 72-hour bags.
How long is it edible? Package say AUG 07, Expiration AUG 12. Obviously, it hasn't been stored for long when this article was written. I'll open another one up in a few years and write that up too.
Ingredients: Enriched Flour, Vegetable Shortening, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Soy Flour, Corn Starch, Potassium Sorbate, Vitamins (Vitamin A, Iron, Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Copper, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Thiamin, Niacin, Falate, Biotin, Iodine, Zinc), Artificial Lemon Flavoring, Artificial Vanilla Flavoring, Artificial Butter Flavoring, Artificial Coloring (Egg Shade).
Other packaging info shown here:
Opening & eating: I cut the top off with my knife, and was able to peel down the sides of the packing. Opening wouldn't be difficult under stress. I also tried tearing the back end open with my teeth. That was also easy. A knife wouldn't be essential to get at the food.
In some marketing material, it was written that the bar contained separate smaller bars. I didn't see that. Just one big hunk of compressed food. How did it taste? I smelled it first. It smelled a little buttery and lemony (probably the artificial butter and lemon flavoring). Generally bland, and not bad. Then I bit off a chunk and chewed. Ate some more. Not bad. A pleasant surprise, in fact. Still pretty bland, but dense and definitely edible. No funny after-taste. No upset stomach later.
Would one of these be enough to get someone by for 72 hours? While I haven't eaten only one of these for 72 hours, I think it would easily take the edge off. It put weight into my stomach, tasted OK, and the ingredients indicate that it's full of flour, fat, & sugar. Full of energy.
Will it be pleasant? Not really. It won't comfort like a home-cooked meal, an MRE, canned, or freeze-dried food, but it's compact, full of calories, edible, and supposedly good for five years. I'll still be including MRE components in the 72-hour bags, but one of these bars provides a simple hedge against annoying, discomforting hunger during stressful times. For ~$4, that's not a bad deal in my book.
Pros: Compact, lots of calories, compact, 5-year lifespan (not verified yet), didn't increase my thirst (as advertised), sturdy, easy-to-open packaging, no preparation (e.g., adding water) necessary
Cons: Bland, heavy (compared to freeze-dried), can't be re-sealed after opening, no sub-bars or scoring of the big bar to enable easy breaking
Worth storing in my 72-hour bag? Until I find something better, I say yes
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