What Food Storage To Buy | Build a Stash

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If you are a beginner into food storage, it can be extremely overwhelming looking in. But we can help you get on track and make it happen quickly on a budget.

We recommend starting your food storage journey with an emergency food supply of three days to protect you during a crisis. From there, you can start to build out your short-term storage pantry. Lastly, you can buy dry, low moisture foods in bulk and store them in sealed bags long-term.

This guide provides a detailed look at each food storage option available to you. You can begin buying your own food items in bulk and stockpiling your items every week if you are just starting. Other options include short-term storage in your pantry or buying emergency food kits that come with pre-packaged ingredients for your convenience.

Food storage comes down to a science that we have mastered through much trial and error. Helping homeowners build reliable food storage systems is something we understand and we can help you too. Continue reading to learn more about what food storage to buy.

Table of contents


What Food Storage To Buy

There are some things to consider when choosing canned or packaged food options. They include the quality of ingredients used in the product, the safety and shelf life of products, as well as environmental impact including weight and space.

The simplest option is airtight containers with a tight-fitting lid like Tupperware. This type of container is great for storing dry items such as pasta, rice, beans, and spices that have a long shelf life.

Another option is vacuum-sealed bags. These bags are great for storing liquids and other dry foods too. For meat, consider using freezer bags instead since they can be frozen and thawed multiple times without losing quality.

Lastly, you can consider cans if you want to store dry goods with a longer shelf life such as grains or dried vegetables.

Start out by thinking short-term. You can build up enough food supply initially to protect against a quick emergency like a storm while keeping your costs low. Once you build up three to seven days worth of food storage, you can start to develop a more long-term plan.

If you prefer, you can even buy emergency food kits that are either long or short-term to get you started. We will discuss the best emergency food kit companies later in this guide but this is an excellent option to consider.

For long-term storage, start by considering how many people are in your home and what the average person eats per day. The ultimate goal is to have enough food for everybody in your home without sacrificing diet and nutrition too much.

Short-Term Food Storage

The most important thing to do when it comes to short-term food storage is planning what you are going to put in your pantry and making sure that everything is safe for consumption.

There are numerous steps involved in food storage including finding the best containers and buying the right types of food. You should be aware of a few other things when doing this at home, such as storing the items properly and knowing how long they will last before spoiling.

Every home should prioritize short-term food storage by adding essential items to a pantry. These foods typically last between 3-12 months and are mostly stored as dry food options. By building out your pantry, you can eliminate small trips to the store and save money by getting food in bulk.

Short-term food options include:

  • Canned meats
  • Canned fruits
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly/Jam
  • Powdered mixes for drinks and sauces
  • Staples (salt, rice, pasta, etc.)  

Long-Term Food Storage

Food storage can be helpful during an emergency or natural disaster when seeking out a long-term solution for your family's nutrition needs. Long-term food storage is a system that allows people to stockpile food for some time. It usually consists of non-perishable items such as canned food and other dry foods with low moisture content.

Well-stocked long-term food storage might help your family survive natural disasters or economic downturns. It also provides a way to save money by providing many alternative meals that are not bought regularly.

Long-term food storage can also be viewed as an investment when buying items in bulk because you will save money in the long run. The most important thing to remember about long-term food storage is that it needs to be sustainable. Consistency makes it possible to build out storage that will last for decades.

Not everybody considers the importance of long-term food storage. The initial investment and time required to make it happen scares food storage beginners away. However, there are ways to get it done on a budget too.

By using vacuum-sealed bags and Mylar bags, you can ensure your dry food staples are stored correctly to last for up to 30 years. Remember that all foods for long-term storage should have a moisture content of 10% or less. Anything higher than 13% can lead to spoilage and mold growth.

The best foods for long-term storage include:

  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Legumes
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Powdered dairy and eggs
  • Dried fruits and vegetables  

Emergency Food Storage

Everybody defines emergency storage differently. But we view it as three days worth of food stored away in case of an emergency.

Emergency food storage is a way to have access to food and water in case of an emergency. It is important to have enough food stored for you and your family so that you don't go hungry during the crisis.

When you get started with emergency food storage, you have the option to start from scratch or you can purchase premade emergency kits. Both options are reliable but if you are on a budget it may be best to shop on your own and find some deals that work best for you and your family.

The three best emergency food storage companies include Survival Frog, Augason Farms, and Mountain House. All three of these vendors have a variety of different plans whether it is short-term, long-term, or bulk purchases.

Food To Buy For Storage

There are many different types of food to buy for storage. The shelflife will vary based on the food and the storage method, but when shopping for long-term options it is best to find foods with a low fat and moisture content. They tend to last longer and avoid spoilage.

Rice and Grains

Rice and similar grains are excellent dry staples to include in your long-term storage plan. They have a reliable shelf-life and offer excellent nutritional value to your diet. Brown rice has the shortest shelf-life because it contains more moisture, so it is recommended to focus on creating a variety with the types of rice and grains you include.

Expected Shelf Life

Brown rice will only last about five years, but other grains and rice will last up to thirty years when packaged correctly.

Best Storage Method

Rice can be stored in smaller quantities in airtight glass jars or plastic containers in a pantry. But if you are looking to get 30 years of shelf life, the best decision would be to invest in Mylar bags and fill them with your rice.


Oats are a versatile food storage item that can be used for long-term or short-term purposes. Their nutrient density makes them great options for individuals who want to add variety to their diet.

However, oats do contain fat and moisture so the length of time they can last on the shelf is limited. But they still make for a great choice for your food pantry.

Expected Shelf Life

Oats will last between one and three years depending on the method they are stored. If you plan to leave them in your pantry, you will be lucky to reach a full year. However, you can use an airtight container and get the full 3 years.

Best Storage Method

We recommend using airtight containers if you intend to store your oats for the long term. If they are simply short-term food in your pantry, they are fine left in the original cardboard package.

Canned Meats

Canned meats are an important part of food storage for a reason. They are a convenient and affordable protein source that can be easily stored in the pantry or on the shelf. They also take up less space than fresh meats, which is beneficial when storing these foods for long periods of time.

Canned meats are easier to store and come in a variety of flavors. They provide the convenience of making food without actually having to use ingredients.

Expected Shelf Life

Canned meat and tuna last between two to five years when stored in your pantry. It is best to go by the expiration dates on the containers to be safe and avoid potentially eating spoiled food.

Best Storage Method

Keep your canned meat in a pantry or cabinet that does not get exposed to a lot of sunlight or extreme temperature changes. Both of these factors will cause the food to spoil much quicker.

Corn Starch

While corn starch has many different uses, the most common use is as a thickener in sauces, salad dressings, and gravies. Corn starch is also used in some baked goods to help keep them soft and moist.

Corn starch is considered a kitchen essential in many households and it is one of the best items for long-term food storage too.

Expected Shelf Life

Corn starch does not have an expiration date. It can last over thirty years and reports estimate that it truly does last forever without ever spoiling.

Best Storage Method

Corn starch does not require a unique storage method. It can be left in the original cardboard packaging and left in your pantry in a cool area. The only thing that could ruin your corn starch is water exposure.

Spices and Condiments

Spices and condiments play an important role in food preparation. They add flavors to every meal that you prepare and can be used for a lot of other purposes like flavoring water or tea, mixing a salad dressing, or as a dip for vegetables.

Preserving your own spices or buying them from any store will help you cut down on costs while giving you the freedom to use these ingredients whenever you want.

Expected Shelf Life

Spices and condiments will last anywhere between one to five years depending on the item and the storage method.

Best Storage Method

If you are trying to preserve your items for the long term, consider putting them inside airtight containers. Dried spices will last indefinitely while others will last between two to five years when stored this way.

Powdered Dairy

The two most popular powdered dairy products are powdered milk and powdered eggs. Both can last for quite a while and are considered essential for long-term storage.

Powdered dairy became popular because it allows consumers to easily store large quantities of fresh and frozen dairy on hand for when they need it. They also make food preparation much simpler by being able to add powdered milk or cream into recipes without having to strain and prepare fresh milk or cream for each and every recipe they’re making.

Expected Shelf Life

These powdered dairy products can last between 10 to 20 years depending on the way they are stored. This is why they are considered such an essential item when prepping a long-term food storage plan.

Best Storage Method

Using airtight containers like vacuum-sealed bags or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is the best way to ensure you can get the full 20 years from your powdered dairy products.

Canned Fruit

Canned food is a convenient way to preserve food and keep it safe from the outside elements.

Canned fruit is a great way to store a variety of fruits at home for longer. They are easy to prepare, have a long shelf life, and can be stored without refrigeration.

Canned fruit is an excellent option for people who don’t have time or want to bother with cooking raw ingredients. These canned fruits can help provide you with tons of health benefits and add nutritional value to your food storage.

Expected Shelf Life

Canned fruit will last between two to five years. All canned foods traditionally follow a similar shelf life pattern and it is best to look at expiration dates on each individual can.

Best Storage Method

Always keep your canned items in a pantry away from sunlight and they should last as long as possible. When canned foods get exposed to extreme temperatures, it can cause them to spoil quicker too.

Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables have been a staple in food storage plans for years, whether they're stored for short-term emergency use or long-term use as ingredients. Canned vegetables have many advantages, such as being low cost and high nutritional content, which make them a go-to option for people who don't have time to prepare fresh foods.

Canned vegetables are a great addition to your food storage because they offer convenience in preparation. They also make it easy to add variety into your food storage without having to buy different types of foods.

Expected Shelf Life

Canned vegetables will last between two to five years as long as they are stored in a safe area. The expiration date should be considered and always analyze the can for bulging to determine if it has spoiled.

Best Storage Method

Keep canned vegetables in the original can and store them in your pantry in a dark area away from sunlight for the best results.


Dried pasta is a reliable food storage option because of its excellent shelf life. It is also an easy food item to prepare and does not take up too much space in storage.

There are plenty of different types of pasta and they all have very low moisture content making them perfect for long-term storage.

Expected Shelf Life

Dried pasta will last for one to three years depending on exactly how it is stored. Once you open the cardboard box, it is best to transfer it to a better storage method to ensure you can reach the maximum shelf life.

Best Storage Method

Dried pasta can be kept in the pantry in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. It may be easier to fit the pasta in larger bags than containers too.


Instant coffee is a reliable long-term food staple that does not require any special packaging techniques either. Always add coffee to your storage plan.

Instant coffee has many benefits for consumers. It can be used to make iced lattes or cappuccinos with ease without the need to use milk or ice cubes. Most importantly, it's easy to prepare because there is no need for grinding beans or other preparation techniques.

Expected Shelf Life

Instant coffee has a shelf life of 25 years or longer when kept inside your pantry. It can also be kept in the freezer for a bit longer if needed.

Best Storage Method

Instant coffee needs to always be kept dry or it will spoil. Airtight containers are the best way to ensure it does not get contaminated or go bad too early.

Dried Beans and Legumes

Dried beans are a great food that can be used in many different types of dishes. It has enough nutrients for an all-week diet and can be stored for a long time because it doesn't spoil easily.

One of the main benefits of dried beans is that they last a long time and don't need to be refrigerated. They also have a lower water content, which makes them ideal to store in any place where you don't have much humidity.

Dried beans are also very versatile and can be eaten in many different ways from the traditional black bean salad to soaked beans used in tacos, to lentil salads with cucumber, tomato, and mint.

Expected Shelf Life

Typically, most dried beans, lentils, and legumes will last infinitely. They do not have an expected expiration date and act as a staple to long-term food storage.

Best Storage Method

These items can be kept in sealed containers in your pantry or packed into larger sealed bags in your basement. They should be kept away from sunlight and heat.


Sugar is one of the most common ingredients found in kitchens. It is considered a staple item because it has so many different use cases. It also has an excellent shelf life making it a popular choice for long-term storage.

Keeping sugar on hand is helpful if you are a coffee drinker or a baker too because it is so commonly used during times like this. It can also be taken out of storage and used easily without a problem.

Expected Shelf Life

Sugar technically has an infinite shelf life but most people get around 30 years of storage from sugar when it is kept properly. Brown sugar has a shorter shelf life but still lasts for quite a while.

Best Storage Method

Keep sugar in your pantry or basement on the shelf in an airtight container to be safe. By using an airtight container, you ensure it will last longer and not attract any insects or rodents.

What Foods Can You Keep In Your Home Food Storage?

There are many different foods you can store at home. The way you package your food, the moisture content, and the type of food all determine exactly how long it will last in storage.

A lot of people have food storage and some don't know what to put in it. But, we should not think of food storage as a means to be able to prepare for the end of the world. For example, if you have canned goods and bottled water in your home food storage, you'll be all set for an emergency situation that may arise.

It is also important to note that the exact food storage location will play a factor in determining the best foods. For example, if you intend to put food in Mylar bags for the long term then the best foods are low in moisture like grains and coffee.

Below is a simple chart with some of the best foods for storage along with the expected shelf-life.  

Food Type Shelf Life
Dried Fruits Up to 1 year
Dark Chocolate 1-3 years
Dried Pasta 1-3 years
Oats 1-2 years
Tea 1-3 years
Jam/Jelly 1-3 years
Peanut Butter 1-3 years
Canned Meat 3-5 years
Canned Tuna 3-5 years
Salt 25+ years
Rice 10+ years
Coffee 10+ years
Spices 3-5 years
Sugar 25+ years
Dried Beans and Legumes 25+ years
Dried Beans and Legumes 25+ years

Best Emergency Food Kits

If you are looking for an easier way to buy your food storage in bulk, emergency food kits are the best option to consider. There are plenty of companies that will package your food for you and ship them directly to you for easy preparation and storage. They even offer bulk discounts on food to save you money.

While the upfront cost will be significant, it is a preferred option by many because they can save time and eliminate the need to go shopping on their own. Also, if you are looking to build long-term storage the process of packaging food can be extremely tedious and time-consuming.

By opting to go with an emergency food kit company, they will package your foods in buckets and Mylar bags for you. This means you get your food already packed and ready to stock on your shelves. Tough to beat that, right?

We have listed our three favorite emergency food kit companies below.

Survival Frog

Survival Frog is one of the most popular and most reliable emergency food kits available on the market. They provide plenty of food options along with other critical supplies like knives, bags, buckets, and water.

They sell food in decent size servings and they come in pre-packed buckets that are properly sealed. The pricing is extremely affordable for the amount of food you are getting and this is a perfect place to get started with food storage if you are intimated to do your own shopping.

The Survival Frog emergency food kits are designed with the needs of an outdoor enthusiast and preparedness-minded citizen in mind. The kit includes canned meals, water, camping gear, and much more.

Survival Frog has a range of different meals for different occasions, so there is something for everyone. For example, they offer bulk meals that can be used in the case of an emergency situation. The meal options are also customizable by adding or removing certain ingredients to more closely match your personal tastes.  

Mountain House

Mountain House is an American food kit company with a wide range of food kits available for both short-term and long-term food storage.

Every Mountain House food kit comes with freeze-dried meat, vegetables, or fruits for your convenience. They also allow you to customize your nutritional needs by choosing different types of foods to perfectly fit your dietary needs.

Mountain House’s food kits were designed to provide a wide range of meals in the event of a disaster or emergency situation when conventional food sources are compromised. They also have a range of options in terms of how much you need to prepare in order to feed your family or group.

The prices decrease as you begin to order larger quantities. They offer bulk discounts to incentive homeowners looking to build large storage amounts with their bulk offerings.

Mountain House offers exceptional durability and affordability with most kits. They provide the option to create customized nutrition plans with minimal preparation needed. And each kit comes with plenty of variety for multiple people to enjoy.

Augason Farms

Augason Farms has a food kit designed for those with little time to prepare their own emergency food. The kits are high in nutritional value, easy to make, and taste great.

Augason Farms has created a high-quality food kit that beginners can make without having to spend hours prepping it themselves before disaster strikes. If you find it difficult to build up your own food storage, relying on an emergency kit like Augason Farms is a reliable alternative to save you time.

The company's emergency food kits are stocked with plenty of the staples that make a meal complete. They can be useful to people who are preparing for natural disasters or other emergencies. And they can also help reduce food waste.

The kits are sold online and come in well-prepared buckets with sealed bags as they are intended to be placed into long-term storage. Augason Farms provides some of the best value in the emergency food kit industry by providing plenty of food at affordable prices.

How Much Food Do I Need To Get Started?

It is difficult to know how much food you should stockpile in the event of a disaster. Many factors need to be taken into consideration, such as your family size and how much money you have available for food.

The amount of food you need to store will depend on several factors, including your family size and the amount of money you have available for food. If you are new at this, it is best to start with a one-week supply and continue to build it up from there.

Food storage is important to provide food for emergencies. It also helps keep track of how much food you have on hand and make sure that your family has enough.

When a person is first starting out with food storage, they may find themselves wondering how much food they should purchase. They have no idea what to expect and there are so many options to choose from.

To get started with food storage, a person will need approximately three pounds of food for each day that they are storing. This is a very general estimate and it is up to the individual to determine how much food they need for them to be able to get started on their own personal journey towards becoming more self-reliant.

How To Buy Food Storage On A Budget

Buying food on a budget can be a struggle and this is why many people dismiss the idea. However, it doesn't have to be that difficult.

There are a few ways you can buy food on a budget. The first step is knowing how much you should spend on food each week. For example, if you are spending $20 per day, then you should plan for about $140 worth of groceries every week. The second step is finding the best deals at your local stores and the third, seeing how much you get from coupons and discount codes.

Buying food in bulk can save a lot of money. For those who want to save, the best way is to make sure that they buy the items that are on sale and are marked down.

When it comes to buying food in bulk, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. For example, if you want some items that have a long shelf life then you will need to buy them when they are on sale and mark them down as well so they stay fresh for longer.

Another thing to consider is how much space will your new food take up and how many meals do you think that you can cook with it? If you calculate this, then it should give you a good idea of what size of containers or bags to purchase so your budget doesn't break.

Best Food Storage To Buy

There are many different food storage methods to choose from, and each has its own pros and cons. Some options are designed for the best taste while others are designed for ease of use and longevity.

We recommend getting started by building out short-term storage and focusing on your food storage pantry. This can ensure you and your family are always well-prepared with foods to make if an emergency does occur.

After you can buy some important short-term foods, we recommend focusing on dry staples and buying big Mylar bags to start prepping your basement storage area. This is how you will properly put food away for 25+ years.

The most important thing to remember with food storage is consistency. There is no need to buy a ton of food at the start and go over budget. By adding small items every week, it doesn’t take long for it all to add up.