Everything You Need to Know about SOS Food Bars

SOS food bars are the first line of nutrition to be included in survival kits. If you’re currently looking for a reliable emergency meal manufacturer, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here, we will explain how SOS rations are different from regular food bars and review the best options available from government-approved companies.

What Makes SOS Survival Food Bars Special?

A variety of SOS food bars

While a protein bar or a high-calorie snack might seem like a great idea for your survival kit, there are plenty of reasons why specialized emergency food is a better choice.

Here’s what makes an emergency food bar superior to what you’ll find at your local supermarket:

  • Long shelf life. You are likely to be storing your survival kit for extended periods, so it would be a waste of effort and money to renew the meal supplies every other month.
  • Impact and temperature resistance. SOS food bars can withstand extreme heat and cold and don't require delicate storage conditions.
  • Durable packaging. The packaging of specialized survival food bars is durable enough to effectively resist damage in extreme situations.
  • No cooking. SOS emergency food is ready to be eaten as-is and doesn’t require heating or adding extra ingredients.
  • Non-thirst-provoking. A person can end up in a situation where potable water is not abundant. That’s why SOS rations are developed in a way that they don’t make you thirsty after consuming them.
  • Compact and nutritious. Emergency meal bars occupy as little space and provide you with as many nutrients as possible.

With that said, not every provider of emergency rations lives up to the government standard. Learn which brands can be trusted below.

Manufacturers Approved by Government Organizations

There are currently four US-based brands recognized by authorities, such as the Coast Guard Service or NATO:

1. Datrex

Datrex emergency ration

Image credit: Datrex

Datrex is the most recognized brand of emergency meal supplies, to the point that the term “Datrex bars” has become a common name for this SOS food category. 

These food bars are designed for use on land and sea in situations where regular meals are unavailable. Keep in mind that these are the only food bars on this list that don’t contain soy.

Datrex meal blocks can be stored for up to 5 years, have coconut flavor, and come in three types of servings, with 1,000, 2,400, and 3,600 calories

2. SOS Food Lab

SOS Food Lab emergency food ration

Image credit: SOS Food Lab

SOS Food Lab manufactures a wide variety of emergency meals suitable for different environments, including mining, aviation, and lifeboats. The company creates vitamin-enriched food with extended shelf life (up to 5 years) and flavors like coconut and cinnamon. 

These products are designed specifically for the preparedness, marine, and government markets.

3. Mayday Industries

Mayday emergency food ration

Image credit: Mayday

Mayday Industries has plenty of emergency meals in store. If you’re not a fan of coconut taste offered by the manufacturers mentioned above, Mayday products are a great alternative featuring apple-cinnamon flavor.

Note that this brand also offers survival food for pets.

4. Quake Kare


Quake Kare emergency ration

Image credit: Quake Kare

Quake Kare is a choice of many preppers and those who live in zones with high natural disaster hazard levels due to the great quality of products and a variety of servings. 

These meals have a pleasant lemon-vanilla flavor and don’t contain any trans fats, cholesterol, or nuts.

Are Survival Bars Healthy?

Even though most emergency food bar options are enriched with vitamins, they can’t be considered healthy. 

The four main ingredients an average SOS ration contains are:

  • Enriched bleached wheat flour
  • Sweetener
  • Palm oil
  • Vitamins

The presence of these products is mainly due to their nutritional value. 

Wheat flour is an excellent survival food but has a short shelf life. To solve this issue, manufacturers bleach it to remove the bran and germ that encourage spoilage. This is when the flour loses a lot of its nutrients and has to be re-enriched by the addition of vitamins.

As for palm oil, it’s typically used since it’s dense in calories and is a decent food binder.

Sweeteners, such as sugar and corn syrup, are the final touch that adds calories and makes the food bar taste better.

Thus, as you can see, SOS food bars aren’t healthy but will surely keep you full and energized in emergency situations.

If, however, you are committed to updating your emergency food stores regularly, are concerned about the quality of your food in an emergency scenario, or simply prefer to have what you know you will be willing to eat, you can reference the In-House Food Supply chapter located in the Guidebook in the Grab + Go Box

In it, you will find guidance on how to store your food, a calculation for determining how much food you will need, tips for cooking and pets, a sample 14-day menu with a shopping list, and additional recommendations for being even more resilient.

Tags: Food, Prepare