Emergency Food Supply

Emergency Food Types The Ultimate Guide to Stockpiling for Any Crisis


Emergencies can arrive in many shapes. Having the proper food supplies can make a great change in your readiness for any emergency. This guide will talk about the kinds of food that you should have on hand to guarantee you have the basics for any crisis.

Knowing the principles of food stockpiling and exploring some of the top emergency food supplies will help you be prepared for anything life throws your way:

Definition of Emergency Food

Preparing for any crisis, like an economic crash, natural disaster or outbreak of illness, is important. Having food stockpiled is too. But not all food is equal when it comes to long-term storage. In this guide we will explore the different types of emergency food.

Emergency food can be categorized into four main types: dehydrated/freeze-dried, canned goods, grain products, and nutrition bars. Each have pros and cons, like shelf life and nutrient content.

  • Dehydrated/freeze-dried food usually lasts up to 25 years and is lightweight and easy to store. Examples include mountain house freeze-dried meals or dehydrated fruits and vegetables. But these products lack variety in taste and texture and may not provide complete nutrition when consumed alone.
  • Canned goods can last for several years if kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. They offer great sources of protein and added fiber. Examples are beans, tomatoes, chili peppers, and tuna fish.

Reasons to Stockpile Emergency Food

Having emergency food is a must for households or communities. It can give sustenance and nourishment, plus relieve stress. Here are reasons why:

  1. To keep body strong – Eating meals with nonperishable foods that have important vitamins and minerals.
  2. To have security – Having a large stockpile if something unexpected happens.
  3. To save money – Buying in bulk from wholesalers is cheaper than grocery stores.
  4. To reduce spoilage – Canned, frozen, and dried foods stay fresh longer.
  5. To meet dietary needs – Have food tailored to those needs in case groceries are closed or rationing is in place during a crisis.

Types of Emergency Food

Emergency food is key when it comes to preparing for an emergency. Your budget and space will determine which type of long-term food storage you choose. Options include: canned goods, dehydrated meals and pre-packaged meals. This guide will explain each type of emergency food and what you should have in your stockpiling plan.

Non-Perishable Foods

Non-perishables are great for stocking up in an emergency. They last longer than perishables, so it's important to choose the right ones for your needs. Here are some common non-perishables:

  • Canned Meals: Soup, chili, stew, pre-made meals, etc. Check expiration dates before buying.
  • Grains: Rice, couscous, quinoa, oats, pasta – they provide carbs and last a while.
  • Preserved Meat & Protein Sources: Jerky, tuna, salmon – if sealed and kept away from moisture and light, they can last over a year.
  • Legumes & Nuts: Lentils, garbanzo beans, peanuts, peanut butter – they provide protein and are affordable.
  • Dehydrated Fruits & Vegetables: Almost the same nutrients as fresh produce, but last twice as long. Make a great snack or part of meals.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried foods, often called “just-add-water” meals, are a perfect way to store emergency food for long-term usage. They've been around since the 60s and come in many options, such as complete meals and single ingredients like fruits and vegetables. The process is simple: water is taken away from the food by cold temperatures and low pressure, leaving behind light and shelf-stable foods with extended shelf lives. These products can last up to 25 years if stored correctly in airtight containers or packages, between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

These foods have many advantages, like safety, long-term storage, convenience, and keeping their original flavor and nutritional content longer than other emergency food choices. Plus, if you add water, you can enjoy them as fresh as when they were first prepared.

Popular items in emergency ready meals include:

  • Cheese powder
  • Milk powder supplement
  • Seasonings & herbs mix
  • Beef jerky pieces or sticks
  • Canned meats
  • Oatmeal packets
  • Hard crackers
  • Soups
  • Pouches with freeze-dried meals
  • Trail bars
  • Energy bars
  • Granola
  • Chip cookies
  • Nutrition bars

Overall, freeze-dried products offer good taste and most essential nutrients needed in an emergency. This makes them a great choice for your emergency stockpile!

Canned Goods

Storing canned goods should be an essential part of your emergency food kit. Canned foods last for months or even years thanks to the canning process. There are lots of options available!

Meals: When building your stockpile, pick meals with essential nutrients and a moderate level of sodium. Examples include stews, soups, chili, tuna, chicken, and veggie dishes.

Fruits & Vegetables: Find canned fruits and veggies in most supermarkets. Look for low sodium versions with vitamins and antioxidants.

Grains & Nuts: Grains like oatmeal, cereal, quinoa and other grain-based dry goods stay edible for a long time. Almonds, cashews, and peanuts may give you protein too.

Dry Goods: Dry pasta (especially enriched or whole wheat), dehydrated vegetables such as onions, mushrooms or potatoes; plus formulas for kids are great for stockpiling.

Rotate your canned foods every 6-12 months for freshness. Label each container with dates to know when they were bought or rotated out.

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods are an excellent choice for emergency reserves. They last long, weigh little and require minimal storage space. Options include fruits, veggies, cereals, dairy, desserts and powdered eggs. If properly sealed in air-tight bags, they can be stored up to 25 years.

To use dehydrated food, you must hydrate it. This is done by soaking the food in warm water for several minutes, allowing it to reabsorb the moisture it was dried with. For larger batches, add water directly following the instructions for perishable ingredients.

Dehydrated items include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Powdered Milk and Cheese
  • Protein Shakes/Powders
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Soups & Stews Mixes

Meal Replacement Bars

Meal replacement bars are compact, lightweight and convenient. They provide sustenance in case of an emergency. Pre-cooked grains and legumes, enriched with vitamins and minerals, make up these bars. Protein sources can be added. They are designed to be eaten as part of a balanced diet, with no added sugars, fats or preservatives.

These bars come in vegan-friendly and traditional flavors. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, and dried fruits and nuts are some choices. Extra flavor and added nutrition can be had with these. Meal replacement bars can provide energy when regular meals are out of the question. Cooling mechanisms can keep them warm even in places without electricity.

Non-perishable, meal replacement bars have a long shelf life. They are ideal for stocking in case of emergencies. Mitigating uncertainty during such times is possible with these bars. Nutrition is available while looking for safe and quick food sources.


MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) are a great choice for any type of emergency food stockpile. As the name implies, they are ready to consume right out of the package – no preparation needed! They usually contain protein, carbs, and fats for total nutrition.

Not all MREs are equal. Some have higher calorie counts and more variety than others, like peanut butter crackers and energy bars. The shelf life of an MRE depends on the individual package. Some can last up to five years without refrigeration, while others may need to be eaten within six months. When creating an emergency food stockpile, look for MRE packages that have a longer shelf life. Stored in a cool, dry place, they'll last even longer!

MREs have other great benefits too. They come in easy-to-carry packages with individual components, so you can customize meals according to your needs or preferences. They're sized to fit single servings or larger groups, depending how many people need feeding during an emergency.

Storage Considerations

Stock up on emergency food supplies! Consider the storage options. Depend on the food type for the method. This section talks about storage forms. Plus and minuses of each option too.


Temperature is key when it comes to food storage. The ideal temperature range is between 35°F and 60°F. This helps keep your food fresh for longer.

Remember, some foods must be kept cool, like meat and dairy. Others, such as canned and dried goods like wheat, oats, legumes or rice, are okay at room temperature.

If you're storing food in a cellar or basement, use a thermometer to monitor the temperature – it may get too cold in winter.

If you're storing food outdoors (in sheds or garages), keep it dry and out of direct sunlight. Heat and light can cause spoilage.

If you have the resources, invest in small solar-powered fans. They'll help with air circulation and reduce condensation that can lead to mold growth.

Shelf Life

Knowing what staples to store is key for an emergency food supply. It's also important to know how long your supplies will last. There are a few things to consider when figuring shelf life:

  • Sunlight: Keep canned, bottled, and boxed foods away from sunlight.
  • Humidity: Store perishable items in a dry climate, as moisture can cause mold growth and spoilage.
  • Air Temperature: Warmer temperatures can cause food to deteriorate faster, so keep supplies away from areas with high heat.

The general rule: use items sooner rather than later. Canned goods last 1-5 years, while dry grains can last up to 10 years if stored correctly. Foods like flour, sugar, spices, and baking powder are good until their expiration dates.

Pest Control

Storing emergency food properly is key. To ensure it's free of pests and contaminants, here are some tips:

  • Keep food in clean, dry containers. Plastic buckets with tight-fitting lids or glass jars with gaskets work well.
  • Store food away from rodents and other pests. Keep pantries and basements free of clutter and debris.
  • Inspect stored food regularly for signs of infestation. Look for larvae, webbing, droppings, mold, and fungus. Discard all affected products if found.
  • Seal cracks and crevices near food stores to keep out pests. Use diatomaceous earth or sprays with essential oils or pyrethrins. Let the area dry for 24 hours before placing food back.


Emergency food packaging is just as vital as choosing the right food. Retort pouches are usually the best choice. These are vacuum sealed then heated and sterilized to remove any air that could cause spoilage. They are durable and moisture-resistant and can last without refrigeration. The shelf life depends on the food.

Myalr bags are an advanced version of aluminum foil and offer double-layer protection from light, moisture, insects, and contaminants. Vacuum sealing bags are another option for long-term food storage. They offer durability and protection from moisture even in extreme temperatures.

Before you pick a packaging option, make sure it is labeled correctly according to FDA guidelines. This includes an expiration date and safe storage increments so you know when it's time to rotate stock.


Crisis prepping? Need to know which recipes to make from the ingredients you have? We've got you covered! Here's a list of the best emergency foods. All you need is some basic ingredients and you're ready to go! Get stocked up now and be prepared for anything. Read on to learn more!

  • Grains and Legumes
  • Canned Fruits and Vegetables
  • Canned Meats and Fish
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Dried Fruits
  • Instant Soups and Meals
  • Powdered Milk and Cheese
  • Energy Bars and Trail Mixes
  • Peanut Butter and Jam
  • Honey and Maple Syrup


Breakfast is important. Making meals ahead of time helps with a healthy start to the day. Try these easy recipes for busy mornings!

  • Overnight Oatmeal: Prep 5 minutes before bed. Add oats, milk, yogurt, honey & cinnamon. In the morning, add some chopped nuts or fruit.
  • Freezer Burritos: Scramble eggs & veggies for burritos. Wrap in a warm tortilla. Top with salsa or cheese. Cool & store up to 3 months.
  • Granola Bars: Gather ingredients like oats, seeds, honey & nuts. Mix with agave nectar or honey. Store with an airtight lid at room temperature. Enjoy a nutritious & energizing start to the day!


When it comes to emergency-stocking, lunchtime should not be forgotten. Nutritious meals are essential in a crisis, but what are the best options? Here's a guide to some great foods for one-pot meals, sandwiches, salads and more!

  • One-Pot Meals: Quick one-pot meals like chili, soup and stew are perfect for emergency stockpiles. They're easy to store and cook with non-perishable ingredients. Prep time is short and cooking time is usually less than 30 minutes. You can also freeze or can rice and pasta dishes like casseroles, mac & cheese and lasagna.
  • Sandwiches: Sandwiches are a lunchtime favorite, in crisis or not! There are lots of combinations, so just make sure nothing spoils quickly. Peanut butter & jelly, tuna salad wraps and turkey & cheese sandwiches all freeze well for emergency kits.
  • Salads: Salads are surprisingly easy to make in an emergency. Use canned fish, canned veggies, hard boiled eggs, shredded cheese, nuts or seeds for complete proteins. Vacuum seal eggs for up to a month.
  • Other Lunch Ideas: Grab-and-go items like snack bars are useful between meals during an emergency. Most bars offer nutrition and delicious flavors. They freeze well too! Pre-packaged soups also require minimal effort. Look for shelf stable products like cup o' soups that come with their own packet of crackers – just add a bowl!


Meal planning can be tricky, even in the best of times. When you plan dinners from stored items, ensure they have enough nutrition and flavor. Freeze-dried and dehydrated products are a great choice. Examples include mac n' cheese, soups, stews, chili mixes and casserole mixes. Add extra protein, like canned or freeze-dried meat. Sauces, gravies and carbs like pasta, rice and grains are all great for storage. Beans are a great source of protein and vitamins, plus they last a long time. Spices add flavor to any dish! Add veggies or canned fruit for extra vitamins. A few staples and scratch ingredients can make delicious emergency dinners!


Stock up on non-perishables! Canned food, dry goods and meal-replacement bars are great investments. You save time and money in the long run. Plus, you have security knowing you're ready for any crisis.

Benefits of Stockpiling Emergency Food

Emergency food has lots of benefits.

  • Firstly, it doesn't need any extra prep.
  • It's also small and easy to store.
  • What's more, it lasts a long time.
  • Lastly, there's a range of flavors and styles to choose from.

So, stockpiling emergency food is a smart move to make in case of an unpredictable event.

Tips for Stocking Up

Stockpile emergency food for your family! Consider these vital tips:

  • Choose nonperishables with long shelf lives, like canned fruits and veggies, nuts, beans, grains, cereals, and snacks.
  • Choose foods your family likes.
  • Rotate and replenish supplies every few months.
  • Use containers with tight-fitting lids. Vacuum sealed bags are great for bulk goods.
  • Label items for easy identification in an emergency.

Follow these tips for stocking up on food and protect your family's nutrition in tough times!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the most important food types to stockpile in an emergency?

A: The most important food types to stockpile in an emergency are non-perishable items, such as canned foods, dry goods, and preserved meats. It's also important to stock up on water, as well as any special dietary items that you or your family may need.

Q: How much food should I stockpile for an emergency?

A: The amount of food you should stockpile for an emergency depends on the size of your family and the length of the emergency. Generally, it's recommended that you have at least 3 days' worth of food on hand. It's also a good idea to have a few months' worth of food stored in case of an extended emergency.

Q: What are some good non-perishable food items to stockpile in an emergency?

A: Some good non-perishable food items to stockpile in an emergency include canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, dry pasta, nuts and seeds, and granola bars. It's also a good idea to have a few boxes of shelf-stable milk and other beverages on hand.

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