When planning your long-term food storage plan, it is important to not concentrate on any one type of supply and instead spread out. In other words, don’t rely strictly upon canned goods purchased at the grocery store or just have buckets of rice and beans socked away for a rainy day.
Let’s look at the different options available to you.
1) Commercial canned goods: These are the canned food products you can buy at the grocery store. Veggies, fruit, and meat for the most part. Relatively inexpensive, moderate shelf life. The good thing is you can find these pretty much anywhere and picking up just a couple cans every time you go shopping won’t be a huge expense. The bad thing is if you are used to eating fresh food, canned veggies in particular will sometimes taste…off. The food can also get a bit mushy over time. In a crisis, that may not matter a whole lot though.
2) MREs and other pouch foods: Many of these taste great and are full of nutrition. But they are expensive. Buying them online is often cheaper than in the sporting goods department of your local retailer. These are great to have on hand for a short-term emergency but are usually too expensive to stockpile for a long-term solution to food needs.
3) Buckets of beans and rice: Very inexpensive and when stored properly will last years. Mix in a bit of meat and/or vegetables and you have a meal that will keep a belly full for a while. But, for those not accustomed to such meals, rice and beans two or three times a day can get old quick. Sure, you’ll survive but appetite fatigue may set in quickly.
4) Freeze-dried foods: These last darn near forever when stored properly and will provide quite a bit of variety for meals. But, they can be sort of pricey and for those not used to eating them, there may be a bit of a learning curve until the system gets used to the new food.
If you are planning for an extreme long-term event, you also need to look toward producing your own food through gardening and such. While even as long as a year or two is doable when it comes to food storage, stocking enough to provide for a family of four beyond that length of time may be a bit tough. Not impossible, just not a piece of cake.
As with any other aspect of prepping, I shy away from putting all my eggs in one basket. For food storage, diversify your preps. Have some canned goods and pouch foods for short-term emergencies as well as buckets of beans, rice, and freeze-dried goods for long-term use. Add heirloom seeds and other necessities for providing your own food further down the road.