Emergency Food Supply

The Best Emergency Food Types to Stockpile Our Expert Guide Reveals All


When an emergency arises, having the right food could save your life! Find food that's nutrient-dense, quick to cook, and that lasts a long time. This guide offers expert advice on the best emergency food types to store. Be ready to tackle any situation with ease!

Here are the best emergency food types to store:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds
  • Canned meats, such as tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey
  • Canned soups and stews
  • Whole grains, such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice
  • Powdered milk
  • Cereals
  • Protein bars
  • Dried beans, lentils, and peas
  • Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods

Definition of Emergency Food

Emergency food is food that can be kept or obtained without much trouble, to use in an emergency. These foods should last a long time and require little preparation. Canned goods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, freeze-dried products, beans and legumes, and dehydrated meals are all examples.

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are popular because they're tasty and easy to carry. But, their shelf life must be considered. Peanut butter is another great option because it's nutritious and lasts a long time.

Grain, lentils, and other dried ingredients should be stocked. Calorie-dense convenience items like protein bars should also be included. Candy and jerky snacks should be bought to help with emotional wellbeing.

Benefits of Stocking Emergency Food

Emergency food stockpiling can give you peace of mind and provide for you and your family in case of an emergency or disaster. Storing non-perishable food is the easiest way to prepare. Aim to store food with a long shelf life, that meets all nutritional requirements, and doesn't need cooking devices. Easy to store and transport is important too!

Benefits of stocking emergency food supplies include:

  • Cost Savings: Reduce meal costs by avoiding surprise purchases. Especially helpful when grocery stores are closed or hard to get to.
  • Nutrition: Pre-packaged and canned foods are convenient and offer essential vitamins and minerals. Stock up for good health – especially in times where fresh food isn't available.
  • Preservation: Durable packaging keeps food safe, even if power is lost. Even after expiration dates, food remains safe if stored properly.
  • Versatility: Versatile meals like soup mixes and ready-to-eat items like granola bars are easy to carry if you must evacuate or wait out an event at home.

Types of Emergency Foods

Emergency foods – what to stockpile? There are a few factors one needs to consider before deciding on the right choice. Space? Budget? How long do you need to be prepared for? This guide by our experts will discuss the types of emergency foods, their shelf life and which ones are best for you. Read on for more info!

Non-Perishable Foods

Non-perishable foods are essential for emergency preparedness. No need to refrigerate, and many last for years – the go-to for any type of emergency! Examples of non-perishables include:

  • peanut butter (up to 2 years)
  • grains (wheat, rice, oats, etc. with long shelf life)
  • canned food (soups, veggies, meat – 5 years in cool, dry place)
  • dried fruits (raisins, dates – room temp for months)
  • tuna and other canned fish (no refrigeration) with olive oil
  • dried meats (jerky with salt cure)
  • nuts (sunflower, almonds, macadamias – eat quickly once opened)
  • cereals (vitamins, minerals)
  • bouillon cubes (for flavor if spices not available).

These should form part of any emergency plans. Expiry dates should be checked when stocking, as wrong storage can lead to spoilage and reducing shelf life.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried foods are a must for any emergency pantry. Veggies and fruits can last for 25 years if stored in airtight, moisture-proof containers. Freeze-dried meals can last for 10-15 years.

  • No prep required – just add boiling water for instant rehydration. Meats need cooking. Fruits and veggies can be prepared using other methods.
  • Ideal for disaster preparedness kits or long road trips.

Benefits: no preservatives or sugar, no waste, nutrition retained, convenience, portion control, and low weight per calorie ratio.

Canned Foods

Canned foods are great for stockpiling in a preparedness kit. They have a long shelf life and can be stored anywhere. Plus, they are pre-cooked, so no extra cooking is needed during emergencies. If water isn't available, canned goods can provide sustenance. Beans, veggies, soups, and fruits are all great options for an emergency pantry.

Common canned items are:

  • Meats (such as tuna and salmon)
  • Soups (Vegetable, Chicken Noodle)
  • Pancake mix
  • Veggies (green beans, peas, carrots etc.)
  • Fruits (applesauce, peaches etc.)
  • Beans (garbanzo beans, black beans etc.)
  • Baby foods (fruit purees etc.)

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods are an ideal emergency food option. Water is taken out of the food to keep it from spoiling and it can be stored for long periods. It comes in boxes, pouches, or cans. But cooking with these foods takes time and knowledge.

Some popular dehydrated food items include:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Veggies
  • Seasoning mixes
  • Potato flakes/powder
  • Fruits (dried or freeze dried)
  • Soup mixes and bouillons

Store them in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight. Also, avoid extreme temperatures, as that can damage flavor and texture. Check your stockpile often and rotate the products before they expire.


MRE stands for “Meals Ready to Eat“. Since the 1980s, they have been a go-to choice for campers, adventurers and emergency food providers. Packaged individually, these entrees are heated in either a microwave or boiling-water. They are fully cooked and shelf-stable, perfect for stocking up in emergencies.

MREs are nutrient-rich with complex carbs and proteins. Plus, they contain vitamin-fortified foods for improved health. Shelf life is up to 5 years, making MREs great to stockpile for any potential crisis.

Each MRE has several components:

  • an entrée (usually high in protein)
  • two sides or snacks
  • a dessert item
  • two tea bags
  • drink mixes
  • condiments
  • utensils
  • a heating pouch with fuel tab.

Many companies also offer vegetarian versions and full breakfast meals.

Tips for Stocking Emergency Foods

It's wise to always have emergency foods stocked. Deciding which to get can be difficult. Here, we'll discuss the top emergency food types and give advice on stocking them. So, you can stay well-nourished in a crisis.

  • Grains such as rice, oats, and wheat.
  • Canned foods such as vegetables, fruits, and meats.
  • Protein-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • Fats such as oils, butter, and nut butters.
  • Dried foods such as jerky, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Powdered milk and other dairy products.

Store in a Dark, Cool Place

As the weather gets cooler, it's smart to store emergency food. Canned goods, dry mixes, and dehydrated foods should be kept in a cool, dark place. Sunlight can damage food because of UV radiation and heat. Hot temps cause food dehydration and spoilage. Basements and lower floors are usually the best spot.

Keeping a steady temperature also helps food last longer. Stay away from high-activity areas like ovens, dishwashers, and showers. If possible, find a place that stays cooler even in summer. To help, you can insulate outside porch doors, or wrap plastic around items inside the container. Lastly, store food in airtight containers to keep pests away.

Rotate Stock Regularly

Freshness, safety, flavor, and nutrition are all important for your emergency food reserves. To ensure this, rotate your stock regularly, instead of hoarding it for years. Plan ahead for meals, and use a rotation system. Use, donate, or compost perishable items first. For items that last, replacing them with new stock lets you benefit from new products and enjoy variety in your meals during an emergency.

Here are some tips for stock rotation:

  • Use, donate, or compost perishable items first.
  • For items that last, replacing them with new stock lets you benefit from new products and enjoy variety in your meals during an emergency.

Consider Shelf Life

When creating an emergency food stockpile, shelf life is important. Look for products with a longer shelf-life, like canned goods. Create a rotating system – use some items while storing others. Some foods may have shorter shelf-life in extreme temperatures. Store and consume perishable foods at 45°F (7°C).

Keep track of your food stock. Track expiration dates and rotate them regularly. Choose sensible stores when stocking up – get the right amount your family needs. Don't accumulate too much and let it go bad!


Having emergency food is essential. To keep your family safe, choose shelf-stable food. Things to consider: shelf-life, nutrition, flavor and cost.

Now, let's review the conclusion:

Summary of Emergency Food Types

Canned and dried food is great for an emergency food supply. These include fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains and can last a while without freezing or refrigeration. Freeze-dried and dehydrated items are also useful. Freeze-dried food can be enjoyed with powered water and dehydrated food, like jerky and trail mix, can be stored in sealed containers without needing to be frozen. Nutrition bars and ready-to-eat meals provide a nutritious meal without needing to cook or use water.

Benefits of Stocking Emergency Food

Emergency food is crucial in any disaster plan. Keeping a large supply of non-perishable, ready-to-eat food is key to ensure energy and nutrition for you and your family in case of an emergency. Stocking emergency food comes with many advantages.

Benefits of Stocking Emergency Food:

  • Reduces Stress: Having food on hand during an emergency lessens stress when time is limited and resources are scarce. You don't have to rush out or scavenge for food.
  • Saves Money: Pre-purchased non-perishable food costs less than buying extra groceries or eating out.
  • Independent Sources for Support: Being ready with canned and boxed goods gives alternate sources when staples are unavailable in times of increased demand.
  • Avoid Health Hazards: Stocking food can bridge nutrition gaps before official aid arrives. Ensuring one full meal each day offers psychological and physiological benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the best emergency food types to stock up on?
A1: The best emergency food types to stockpile are non-perishable items such as canned goods, dry beans, rice, grains, and nuts. You should also look for items that are high in calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals such as peanut butter, trail mix, and granola bars.

Q2: How long can I store emergency food?
A2: Most non-perishable items can be stored for up to one year, but it's important to check the expiration dates and rotate your stock regularly.

Q3: What other items should I consider stockpiling?
A3: In addition to non-perishable food items, it's a good idea to stockpile items such as matches, candles, blankets, and first-aid supplies.

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