Your Essential Guide to Emergency Food Supply

Your Essential Guide to Emergency Food Supply

Disasters can strike anywhere, anytime. Whether it's a natural calamity like a hurricane or flood, or a man-made event like a power outage, being prepared with an emergency food supply is crucial. Having enough non-perishable food on hand can help you and your family weather the storm until help arrives.

Why You Need an Emergency Food Supply

The United States has seen a dramatic increase in the number, severity, and financial burden of climate disasters. Between January 2020 and December 2023, there were 60 climate disasters that resulted in 1,460 deaths and 2,939 injuries. Each of these disasters caused at least $1 billion in damages, highlighting a significant rise in billion-dollar disasters compared to previous decades. In 2022 alone, there were 18 climate disasters that each exceeded $1 billion in damages.

According to a 2023 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) survey, only 38% of households have a three-day food supply. This lack of preparedness can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even health risks during an emergency. Here's why having an emergency food supply is essential:

Power Outages: Department of Energy (DOE) report estimates that the average American household experiences a power outage lasting eight hours per year. Without power, refrigeration becomes unusable, spoiling perishable food items.

Natural Disasters: Natural disasters can disrupt food supply chains and grocery stores. In 2021, Hurricane Ida caused widespread power outages and food shortages in Louisiana, impacting residents for weeks.

Unexpected Events: Even minor emergencies like a broken pipe or a car accident can leave you stranded at home for longer than anticipated. Having an emergency food supply ensures you have sustenance until help arrives.

National Climate Resilience Framework

The US released its first National Climate Resilience Framework in 2023. It defines resilience as the ability to bounce back from climate challenges, including extreme weather and long-term changes.

The Framework outlines six goals to make the country more resilient:

  1. Integrate climate risks into planning across all levels of government.

  1. Strengthen buildings and infrastructure to withstand climate shocks and stresses.

  2. Invest in innovative solutions to build large-scale resilience.

  3. Empower communities to assess their risks and develop tailored solutions.

  4. Manage lands and water resources sustainably to enhance resilience.

  5. Build stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities prepared for climate change.

Your Emergency Food Kit: Essential Considerations

Plan for your entire household, including infants, children, and elderly individuals who may have special dietary needs. The American Red Cross recommends a three-day supply for each person.

Accommodate food allergies, intolerances, and preferences. Include gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan options if necessary.

Choose non-perishable foods with a long shelf life (ideally two years or more). Regularly rotate your stock to ensure freshness.

Remember, water is essential. Aim for one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.

If power outages are a concern, consider including foods that require no cooking or minimal preparation with a camp stove or grill.

Essential Non-Perishable Food Items:

Freeze Dried Food (Protein & Vegetables): Canned beef, chicken, salmon, beans, lentils, and vegetables are excellent sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Look for low-sodium options if you have dietary concerns.

Dried Fruits & Nuts: These provide quick energy, fiber, and essential nutrients. Choose unsweetened dried fruits and nuts for a healthier option.

Quantity Considerations:

The recommended amount of food per person per day varies based on age, activity level, and individual needs.

  • adult females: 2,000 – 2,200 calories per day

  • adult males:  2,400 – 2,800 calories per day

  • Children: 1000 – 1,400 calories per day

  • Infants: Breast milk or formula as needed

Emergency Food Supply Calculator

Emergency Food Supply Calculator

Sample Emergency Food Supply (3-Day) for a Family of Four

Buy Mountain House Just in Case


Oatmeal packets (4 servings)
Canned fruit (4 cans)
Granola bars (16 bars)


Canned chicken or beef (4 cans)
Canned vegetables (8 cans)
Crackers (2 boxes)
Peanut butter (2 jars)


Canned stew (4 cans)
Canned beans (4 cans)
Rice (4 pounds)
Canned pasta sauce (2 jars)


Dried fruit (2 packages)
Nuts and seeds (2 packages)
Trail mix (1 package)
Protein bars (8 bars)

Rotation and Storage

  1. Regularly rotate your food supply to avoid expiration. Consume older items and replace them with fresh ones.

  2. Organize your pantry by category and label containers with expiration dates for easy access.

  3. Choose a cool, dry, and dark location away from heat, sunlight, and moisture.


Building a well-stocked emergency food supply is a simple yet crucial step towards preparedness. By planning ahead and considering your family's specific needs, you can feel confident knowing you have the resources to weather any storm. Remember, a little planning today can ensure your well-being tomorrow.

Back to blog

Leave a comment