How To Prepare For Food Shortage and Build Your Stockpile

2020 was the first year where I was truly thankful that I knew how to prepare for food shortage because it actually happened.

In suburban Britain!

I was never so grateful for my little pantry stockpile than when we were faced with a lockdown, something I’ve never experienced before.

The shock of the difficulties every country in the world faced has led to all us experiencing some very difficult times.

Times when we all need to be thinking about building a food stockpile very quickly.

It’s not just in the UK that people are looking for food shortage solutions.

With projected food shortages and panic buying happening in every country (or so it feels like) how can we stop the panic and focus on what we need to do to ensure we have enough food?

shelves in a supermarket aisle to signify food shortage 2021
What to buy in a food shortage? stock up on long life goods

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How to prepare for food shortage

When you prepare for a food shortage, what you are actually hoping for is that there will be no shortage.

You’re preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

But don’t let this thought pattern stop you from thinking about the best food for food shortage because this is an essential part of your planning.

Nor should you over-complicate your food stockpile preparations.

Building a stockpile for say, 30-60 days, is probably sensible right now for upcoming food shortages wherever you live.

But if you live more rural, with limited access to shops or are facing a downturn in your income in the coming months, then a bigger stockpile is likely required.

Emergency preppers will go as far as to stockpile enough food for a year. Although they do supplement their stockpile with home grown produce (which you can too).

But don’t choose any old available food, focus on buying foods and meals that you can prepare without any fresh ingredients because you just never know.

Your food stockpile is not just food of course.

Toilet paper seems to be something people panic more about than rice, bread or pasta!

what to buy in case of a food shortage? The Best food for food shortages

Some foods work so much better when you need to have a stockpile for something that may not happen and you could probably list some right away.

But when you are thinking about what you should buy for food shortages then it pays to spend some time working it all out.

The best way to work out how much food you are going to need to stockpile during a shortage is to plan out all your meals for an extended period.

Meal plan for say, 30 days, including snacks and food for the whole family.

The next step is list out all the ingredients you need for that meal plan, and the quantities required.

You need to factor in seasoning, herbs, spices, oil and other accompaniments that are very easy to overlook.

These ingredients are the best foods to stockpile because you know you’ll use them.

All these ingredients are about cooking from scratch, making your meals from the basic ingredients, much healthier and cheaper than food in a box.

large cupboard and racking system filled with pantry goods to signify how to prepare for food shortage
how to prepare for food shortage – get organized with a food shortage 2022 list

What to stockpile for food shortages

When you are looking at what to buy in case of a food shortage you need to think long life and easy storage.

Of course, what you store will depend very much on your location, weather, access to shops, your budget and what food you are prepared to eat.

Here’s a basic food list of the things you will want to consider buying to stockpile in case a survival food shortage really does happen:

  • Flour (white, wholemeal, self-raising)
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Beans (dried and canned different varieties)
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Pasta (different shapes, white & wholewheat)
  • Sugar (white, soft brown, dark brown)
  • Vegetable oil, olive oil
  • powdered milk
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • spices and herbs
  • Cans of soup
  • Cans of vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Cans of fruit
  • Cans of protein
  • Peanut butter (a great protein)
  • Nuts (variety of)

Although you are focused on food shortage solutions, it’s never just food that becomes in short supply.

So always remember to include the ever so important toilet paper along with other household items like:

  • Batteries
  • Washing powder
  • Soap
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toothpaste
  • Vitamins
  • Medicines
  • First aid supplies
  • Hand sanitizer

As we have seen this year, toilet paper was the first thing to fly out the doors, then bottled water, then flour.

Helpful storage products

Pantries and kitchens need effective storage. Creating a pantry stockpile requires organization. These are essential storage solutions you can use to store your stockpile and save money doing so.

How to prevent food shortages – Be sensible, be thoughtful

When you are looking at how to prep for food shortage, stockpiling food, mountains of it, is not sensible if you live in suburbia.

The stores can get more goods and there is only so much we can eat and use each day.

You might want to build your stockpile as quickly as possible but do keep in mind the message it could send other shoppers when they see your trolley load!

Food shortages can easily happen purely because people start to panic buy, having seen others seemingly do the same.

Earlier this year when toilet paper became rarer than hen’s teeth, it was very easy to fall into the mindset of buying much more than you needed if you ever saw toilet paper in the store.

I know I had to reassure myself that buying more than one 24 pack (for the 2 of us) was unnecessary because I already had a supply at home.

But the temptation was there just because I saw other people buying multiple packs. They probably had bigger families to buy for.

Add extra items to your regular shopping list and build up your supplies over a number of weeks.

Every family needs a stockpile but it makes sense to keep it to the right, sensible level for your circumstances.

No need to stockpile for a year if you have regular access to buy more and you have a regular income.

More importantly there are people who cannot afford to stockpile in case of a food shortage even though they would like to.

People who live paycheck to paycheck, people on welfare benefits. They need to be able to buy food very week, they cannot afford to buy in bulk.

But whatever your financial circumstances you must do the best for your family so learning how to prepare for a food shortage and building a stockpile is a very sensible thing.

Subscribe to the 7 day Grocery Budget Bootcamp and learn how to cut your spending on groceries in just a week.

white string bag filled with fresh vegetables and fruit with filled glass jars behind
Survival food shortage does not need to be a problem with a little planning

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Pinterest image for article on how to prepare for food shortages.
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How to prepare for food shortage – Original, Helpful 2019 Article

Being a Brit is quite hard at the moment as we cannot get away from Brexit. We should have left the EU last week but we haven’t and we still don’t have a deal to agree on or work towards.

We might leave on April 12th, we might leave next month, or we might not leave at all!

Because of this, no one knows for sure what Brexit will mean in the immediate and foreseeable future and as we all know, uncertainty is scary.

That’s why many in the UK are preparing for any eventuality that may arise. Bristol Live reports that people in Bristol are even “stockpiling food, drink, medicine and other essentials, in the event of empty supermarket shelves on the day we leave the European Union.”

That seems drastic, but who can blame them, right?

Then again, anything can happen, especially in the event of a No-deal Brexit. The problem is that’s increasingly likely. The economic calendar on FXCM details how the upcoming parliamentary vote on Brexit will increase the chances of a no-deal exit if May’s plan isn’t voted through.

If this is the case, then an even more uncertain future is ahead for all of us. That being said, erring on the side of caution might not be such a bad idea after all.

Being a frugal soul I like to know where I am with my bills especially my food bill. Food being extremely important and all that. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to stockpile in case of a food shortage.

pantry full of jars of preserved foods

Don’t Panic, Plan

Andrew Rawson learned first hand the value of storing food years ago, when his village was hit by a snowstorm.

Now, he is sharing his knowledge of stockpiling through his self-published book Preparing for Brexit: How to Survive the Food Shortages. Rawson also shared some stockpiling advice with iNews, the first being, “Don’t panic.”

Keep calm and draw up a plan. Planning allows you to take note of everyone’s needs, including your pets.

Prioritize foods to stock up on

Hand-in-hand with the above advice is prioritization.

Before you go to the supermarket, think first about what’s best for you and your family, along with what each member will need both for the short and long term.

If possible, try and be specific. For instance, food is obviously a priority, but what food do you and your family need and want? Are there family members who have a specific diet?

Does anyone need particular medication or supplements? Ask these questions, as answering them can help you in prioritizing what to buy.

Be Wise With Food

While food is obviously a priority, be wary of storing perishables like fresh meat and poultry.

A supply of fresh proteins is all well and good, but only for three, four, maybe five days at the most, and only if they are stored properly.

In a Manchester Evening News ‘survival guide’ to Brexit, retired police officer James Patrick advises people to keep “extra non-perishable, shelf-stable food which can be prepared and cooked quickly and requires little water.”

Some of the food items include rice, instant noodles, grains, tinned fish, soup, and pre-cooked vegetables. Most importantly don’t forget to store plenty of water.

Be Money-Wise

Just because you’re stockpiling doesn’t mean you throw budgeting out the window. The opposite, in fact, is true. So, set a budget — and stick to it.

If you follow the tips in this post 30 of the Best Frugal Foods to Buy When You’re Broke then you will be able to focus on stockpiling healthy but cheap food to keep you on budget.

Included in the post are 12 meal ideas using your budget stockpile for you and your family.

Brexit is clearly pushing the UK to desperate times; and as the saying goes, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Even then, there ought to be a method to these measures. The above tips serve that purpose, so keep them in mind when you do decide to stockpile in uncertain times.

This 2019 post was written by Patricia S. Day

Top Tip – Subscribe to the 7 day Grocery Budget Bootcamp and learn how to take back control of your spending on groceries in just a week!

Last Updated on 10th May 2022 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

12 thoughts on “How To Prepare For Food Shortage and Build Your Stockpile”

  1. Hi Emma,
    Do you have a site with recipes for your list of shortage foods above, Beans etc. and the rest of the items, how to make meals with them that can be made over a fire or grill if there’s no electricity? I’m a 62 year old man with no clue but can follow a recipe.

    Thanks so much, Tommy

    Reply
    • I was wondering the same thing but I just remembered when we were kids and going camping with those small portable Coleman camping stoves, they have ones now that have a single or double that is similar to an electric oven stovetop and with these you can cook just like you would on your kitchen stove, oven. So far I have just bought the single burner one but now i wish I would have gotten the double. The good thing is is that we can use our pots and pans on them and we can cook what were used to cooking!

      Reply
  2. Thank you so very much for getting back to me on the recipes, God Bless you Emma, your helping people in a time where I believe it’s going to be needed sooner than some think, I went today with my list and stocked up, so all I need to know now is how to use what I have to actually make the meals, lol, I will find a way because I have the mentality that you never quit, never give up and never give in.

    Thanks again, Tommy

    Reply
  3. Buying cheap, processed foods is not a deal if there is barely any nutrition in it. Buy real food (e.g. oats, beans, lentils, rice, etc.) and cook all your food from scratch. You will save money and get good nutrition from them. We have to get away from all processed foods and cook our own. Then we can avoid chemicals and instead put nutrition into our bodies.

    Reply
    • Hi Janna. I completely agree, cooking from scratch is the best thing for everyone. I can’t can properly (or safely) so stockpiling some canned goods (vegetables, beans) helps my stockpile be as flexible as possible. Canned beans can be eaten cold when you have no access to power or heat. Dried beans can’t. We must all do the best we can for our families, stockpiling and scratch cooking. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
      • And dried beans will be a problem if power is out–I don’t intend to use my Coleman camp stove cooking beans….even if I do have 11 gallons of fuel.

        Reply
        • Hi JayJay. Dried beans are cheap, store for ages and are a great source of protein when you need it. But absolutely no good as you rightly say if you have a power outage. They’re great for food shortage times though. Thanks for stopping by!

          Reply
    • Hi Martin. I think you’re right, the next 12-24 months are going to be extremely hard for so many people. If prices don’t go up, farmers will go under. Their costs are increasing too. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

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