One of London’s top survival kit sellers says survival food sales have doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

After seemingly endless headlines of deaths, serious illnesses, and increasingly stringent government lockdowns caused by a modern global plague, the idea of ​​a “survivor” no longer seems limited to the wild-eyed stereotypical paranoid in camouflage suits.

In fact, many people have been gripped by the wave of panic buying that hit grocery stores across the city a few weeks ago. Customers loaded carts to stock pantries and cupboards with everything from canned goods to dried pasta to toilet paper.

Forest City Surplus, known for its selection of military items like boots, uniforms and coats, said Tuesday that military rations are one of the most sought-after items during the pandemic.

“It’s not entirely home cooking”

A sign of the times during the COVID-19 pandemic at Forest City Surplus in London, Ont. (Colin Butler / CBC News)

“We offer everything from a single source,” said Michael Diet, who has been a manager in the business for the past seven years. He said sales had shifted towards survival items in the past few weeks.

“A lot of the sales went to people who got things for the end of the world,” he said. “I think people are preparing because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Since the number of gatherings in the province is limited to a maximum of five people, customers can no longer freely browse the retailer’s extensive collection of odds and ends. Instead, buyers have to order online or tell staff what items they want.

The most popular products right now include first aid kits, water purification kits, rubber gloves, surgical masks and gas masks. However, the most desirable are freeze-dried foods and military rations.

“They’re pretty edible, but it’s not entirely home cooking,” he said. “I’ve tried the poutine, shepherd’s pie, pulled pork, pizza, pasta, we have quite a few.”

In fact, military rations appear to have a following on the internet that is offered by humans Unboxing videos and reviews of soldiers’ meals onlineSome even offer vintage dishes that have ripened to perfection.

According to Diet, Canadian military rations cost $ 16.95 for around 3,000 to 3,500 calories and come in a variety of flavors, such as: B. Pizza and Pulled Pork. They’ve proven so popular that the store limits sales to two per customer.

60 meals for $ 279

One of Forest City Surplus’s hottest sellers during the pandemic is this 56-serving freeze-dried meal set that retails for $ 199 and has a longer shelf life than its owner. (Colin Butler / CBC News)

Freeze-dried food is also a best seller, and while it may not be as rich as army food, it comes in handy. One of the most popular options in the business is an emergency meal kit that includes meals like chilli macaroni, chicken noodle soup, pasta, and desserts. It costs $ 199 for 56 servings or $ 279 for 60 servings.

Diet said while foods with a stable shelf life have been a popular option lately, it isn’t the only way the retailer is doing brisk business these days.

“We have a lot of rubber gloves that we have sold, we have chemical-resistant latex gloves, flashlights, first aid kits, bandages, hand soap, we just got more surgical masks yesterday.”

For Forest City Surplus, the only shop in town that equips both bomb-proof bunkers and bug-out bags for the savvy survivor who wants to thrive in the apocalypse, this is a moment I told you.

Diet is quick to point out that while the business is luckier than most because of its special inventory, the tight government restrictions to curb the spread of the virus are also affecting the business.

“Overall, we’re fine,” he said. “I think that definitely has an impact on the way we work. We can’t allow customers to browse our store.”

For people looking to cross things off an apocalypse prep list, the store is mostly closed with the exception of cash registers and some popular items. According to Diet, staff are happy to pass on your gas mask, hatchet, or crease when you order online or drive to the roadside for pickup.