Glenn Beck's apocalypse survival kits: An instant guide
First, it was gold. Now, the Fox News star is promoting another way to prep for disaster: Freeze-dried food. Is there a method to his endorsements?
Noted gold spokesman Glenn Beck is hawking another way to hedge against disaster: Food insurance. Or rather, Food Insurance, a company that sells "gourmet quality" survivalist kits. What makes these all-inclusive kits worthy of Beck's coveted endorsement, and might there be a certain "end times" theme to the products he promotes? (Watch an ad for "Survival Seeds")
How is Beck promoting Food Insurance?He has filmed a commercial for Food Insurance that is featured on the company's website ("prepare yourself for what we all hope won't happen, but probably will, if you're not prepared") and has talked up its freeze-dried food on his radio show. "I remember... thinking 'I could lose my job, and my family will eat,'" Beck has told his listeners in reference to his emergency food stash. "Sometimes guys don't realize how much pressure is on them." (Beck's own website also prominently features a Food Insurance ad that includes Beck's photo).
Is he the only pundit endorsing the company?No. Fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity started promoting Food Insurance on his show in June, saying he feels "it is critical for Americans to be ready for whatever life might throw their way."
What does Food Insurance claim to insure against?According to its website: Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, power outages, severe winter storms, pandemics, terrorism, unemployment, among the "ever-increasing number of disasters in the world."
How much does it cost?The entry-level "Essentials" kit — enough food for one adult for at least two weeks, waterproof matches, cooking tin, stove and heating pellets, a water filter, plus a backpack to carry the kit's contents — costs $200. The "EmergencyPlus" kit, at $250, offers the same array and throws in an all-in-one survival tool, two dust/pollutant masks, radio flashlight, and a 350-piece first aid kit. The company's premium offering is the $9,600 package, designed to feed a family of four for 12 months.
What kinds of "delicious" meals are included?Freeze-dried offerings, such as lasagna with meat sauce, beef stroganoff, creamy chicken rotini, teriyaki chicken with rice, and "a host of other great entrees" that don't "require you to grind wheat or employ some other 18th century skill." So "if you ever find yourself in a post-nuclear holocaust environment and come across people eating beef stroganoff," says Eric Lach at Talking Points Memo, "odds are they'll be Glenn Beck fans."
How does this fit in with Beck's other product endorsements?This dovetails nicely, says Lach, with Beck's commitment to promoting gold as a way to insure yourself against the coming economic apocalypse. Beck's clearly figured out that "if you can scare the hell out of" listeners, you can sell them gold, hybrid seeds, food insurance, or any number of survivalist "scams," says Mario Pipperini in Zimbio. (Don't mock, says Mike Madden in Salon, I recently took Beck's advice to buy gold "and I'm a richer man for it.") It's not that we "object to responsible Americans preparing for disasters," says Josh Sanburn in Time. "We just like to poke fun at individuals hawking disaster products, who then spend their days preaching about the world's end."