Prepper Fail: The first rule of food storage is to store food that you like to eat. My kids love Quaker’s flavored oatmeal. A while back I bought three large variety boxes of Quaker Oats at Sam’s Club, each containing 52 packs of oatmeal. We put them in the “war pantry” with the intention of saving them for a rainy day, and as the “best by” date approached we would rotate them into the regular pantry and use them before they went bad.
Rule Two Of Food Storage: Unless the food is sealed up like a space shuttle you will have spoilage, and even worse, insect infestation. When we seal up food for long-term storage in Mylar bags we leave oxygen depleaters in the food, suck out all of the air, and seal it tight. No oxygen means no bugs.
The Quaker oatmeal packs are made of paper. They are sold in large cardboard boxes. They aren’t intended for long-term storage. They are intended for a hotel with a breakfast buffet that goes through a box in a day or two. The packaging fails two-fold. First, the paper and cardboard allows the oatmeal to act like a box of moisture absorbers in your house. Second, you can easily end up with an infestation of “pantry bugs” (Google them…nasty little bastards). They can show up on their own, but many times they come home with you from the store where they have been hitching a ride since the food was packaged (gross!). Even if they aren’t inside the packages of food, there is enough oatmeal dust on the outside of the packaging to feed them and give them a nice place to lay eggs. You won’t be happy when you open your boxes.
In my humble opinion this type of oatmeal packaging sucks for prepper storage. An option might be to take the individual packs of oatmeal and put them gallon Ziplock bags, squeeze all of the air out, and then freeze them for a half a day to kill all of the bug-a-boos. This would probably make them good to go for intermediate storage (up to 18 months). If you want to store for long-term I would dump the packs into a Mylar bag and seal them with oxygen depleaters. It would probably be cheaper to buy the bulk size packaging of oats rather than a big box of individual size packages if you plan of long-term storage of large amounts.