Growing your own food and learning crucial preservation skills like pickling and canning are the best ways to ensure you’ll have quality long-term food storage. However, not everyone has the time or space to grow food and preserve it. This is why it’s crucial to know what foods you can buy at the grocery store for long-term survival. 

Naturally, the most important will be that the food is non-perishable. We build that list below, and you can build a perfectly passable long-term pantry with that list. However, there are some other important aspects of building your long-term prepper at the grocery store that you might not have thought about. These can help you customize according to your preferences and the individual needs of your family.

Important Things to Look For: 

  • Nutrition. Twinkies have a long shelf life, and comfort food can be attractive during a disaster scenario. However, you’re more likely to sustain yourself and your family long-term if you consume junk food sparingly. Be sure to look for foods high in protein, fiber, and minerals.
  • Simple preparation. When you’re faced with an emergency survival scenario, cooking methods that use electricity and other utilities might be unavailable. For this reason, the best long-term grocery store prepper pantry food can be consumed as is. Additionally, be sure to look for non-perishable food that only needs basic rehydration and items that mix simply with other ingredients. 
  • Durable packaging. Try to avoid adding bagged food like potato chips to your prepper pantry. The best long-term packaging tends to come in a can or a box. Try to select food that lasts at least a year
  • Caloric density. With space likely being at a premium, optimize your long-term food with items that are packaged in a way that you’ll get the most calories possible.
  • Add mostly non-perishables. Understand what foods are shelf-stable and which are truly non-perishable. Some canned goods require refrigeration after opening, so be sure to read the label.
  • Add a little each trip. Each time you go to the grocery store, save a section of your list to add food to your prep pantry you haven’t already. Pay attention to expiration dates.
  • Understand the enemies of shelf-life. Exposure to oxygen, pests, excessive heat, moisture, and light will degrade your prep pantry items faster than they should.

Prepper Shopping List

Here are some of the most common items that the best preppers add to their list. 

  • Beans and legumes. Beans are a preppers best friend. Versatile and nutritious, your prepper pantry needs some garbanzo, kidney, or black beans.
  • Grains. Flour, pasta, quinoa, instant mashed potatoes, and dried corn make great additions to any prepper dish.
  • Fats. Fat is where the flavor is, and fat doesn’t necessarily mean the food is bad for you. Look for coconut oil, peanut butter, and shortening that have 1-2 year shelf lives.
  • Dried fruit. Some companies make dried fruit that lasts longer than cans.
  • Canned meat. While some eaters might not love canned spam, chicken, tuna, or salmon in everyday life, they can be worth their weight in gold in an emergency.

It’s commonplace for the most experienced preppers to use a combination of both grocery store food and long-term survival food. More Prepared carries everything from MREs to food buckets that have a 25-year shelf life. Check these quality long-term emergency foods out here.