Transition to a Shelf Stable Disaster Plan & Draw a Comprehensive Return on Investment
by Jo Miller, MPH, RDN
There are many benefits to transitioning from a traditional disaster plan to a shelf stable plan. In order to be shelf stable, perishable food must be treated by heat and/ or dried to destroy food-borne microorganisms that can cause illness or spoil food. Shelf stable foods can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container for a usefully long shelf life (i.e. 10 years). Drying is the world’s oldest and most common method of food preservation. Freeze-drying preserves freshness, color, and aroma, while being completely shelf-stable. And, the compact design of the packaging allows you to store more in less space.
When evaluating the cost of your disaster plan, the labor cost is not often included. But in terms of labor cost, comparing a traditional disaster supply to a shelf stable supply is like comparing apples to elephants. Many facilities are updating their plan every three months to once a year depending on the products, including a monthly inventory to ensure nothing was removed when that last delivery was shorted. A shelf stable plan will free the FTE’s (Full-time equivalent) associated with inventory, rotation and ordering. The best part is the initial labor cost are held at the time of purchase, so your return on investment is easy to track.
A shelf stable disaster food plan will save your healthcare facility in many ways:
- Direct food costs reduced over 10-year period
- No extra labor to periodically inventory, rotate and re-order
- Includes an Emergency Preparedness Meals Plan
- Reduce needed storage space at your facility
- Dining kits reduce garbage in emergency
- Nutritious, delicious comfort meals for most therapeutic diets
- Be confident in your “survey ready” plan
- No trained staff needed to prepare/serve meals
- Be prepared! Save Lives in your community!
- Get it and Forget it!
During an actual disaster, shelf stable products can be prepared (re-hydrated/reconstituted) quickly and easily. Just add water and stir. No trained staff needed. This space saving option has consistent sized boxes and weighs less than traditional cans. Your emergency food solution should offer a variety of nutritious, great-tasting foods that taste and look as fresh as homemade meals, and serve most therapeutic diets. Having a shelf stable disaster plan during an inspection, reduces exposure to costly survey infractions and can improve your ROI (return on investment) quickly.
Be Prepared! Meals for All can help your facility get set up with the easiest, most cost-effective, emergency meal solution available. One of our Meals for All’s disaster nutrition consultants will educate you on the Meals for All Emergency Menu & Plan solution. Let us walk you through the ROI, so you can start receiving a comprehensive return on your disaster nutrition investment!