30 Best Survival Foods to Buy Today | 2021 List

best survival foods

Did you know that more than HALF of todays 1st world will not survive more than a few weeks of no food…. let along have hardly enough water to last them just a week or two at most. This sad reality is true since everything around us is very accessible.

This creates a false sense of security, giving the impression that things will be the same FOREVER. But this could not be further from the truth. 

Everything may seem great now, but the world is in turmoil and things are destined to happen in the future, probably in your lifetime. 

Did you know that more than HALF of todays 1st world will not survive more than a few weeks of no food…. let along have hardly enough water to last them just a week or two at most. This sad reality is true since everything around us is very accessible.

This creates a false sense of security, giving the impression that things will be the same FOREVER. But this could not be further from the truth. Everything may seem great now, but the world is in turmoil and things are destined to happen in the future, probably in your lifetime. 

Whether you look at storing non perishable food items for the zombie apocalypse (you never know..), an insurance policy for when the SHTF (poop hits the fan), or just something to have in storage for your off-grid living making you less dependent on having to make frequent stops at the store.

canned foods for survival

This list of the best survival foods is for you!

What i’ll mention in this list of non perishable foods is meant to be just ONE PIECE of your food storing puzzle. 

Although my research concluded with these items listed below, everyone’s needs are different even if just slightly. 

Only about 30% of the list is has 100% non perishable food items, as in they will likely not spoil for decades (which is typically longer than you’ll need). The remaining will last anywhere between a year to a few years. 

Without further-a-do, let’s dive deep into this list of the best emergency foods to store:

Top 30 Survival Foods List

Dried Beans

1. Dried Beans

When it comes to a food which is high in fiber, calories, and even a little bit of protein… beans are one of the best ways to go. Different varieties will have slightly varying nutrition facts, but more-or-less you’ll see different . 

You can store your dried beans in a tight sealed food-safe storage container, ideally in a cool and dry place. Most say one whole year is about how long they will be perfectly good for until they start to dry out. 

When you’re finally going to use them and notice they are a bit on the dry side, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the pot for every pound of beans when you’re finally cooking them. This will help to soften the beans up, and make it easier to consume.

Canned Beans

2. Canned Beans

The beauty with canned beans is, they are already soaked in water, cooked, and air-tight ready for long-term storage and consumption. To stockpile a lot of these, will be one of the healthiest things you can have for long term survival.

Try your best to shoot for organic and non GMO beans. They should be good for 1-2 years on average (in proper, cool storage).

Dried Corn

3. Dried Corn

It is VERY important you avoid GMO corn, as most if todays store-bought corn is genetically modified. With that being said, the #2 spot is dried corn.

Without a doubt in my mind, this is a staple food for many people and when dried out and placed in storage which is around 70 degrees F, you’ll get more than 20 years of shelf-life (it can sometimes outlive the humans storing it).

Preservation of this has been done by our ancestors due to its short lived season. Stockpiling a lot of dry corn will allow you to use it when needed, without having to worry about the expiration date. 

Canned Corn

4. Canned Corn

Just like canned beans mentioned above, canned corn is just as good as it’s sealed the same way. You can expect to get 1-2 years before they begin to spoil. Heck, even after then you can often still eat it. 

An excellent benefit you’ll get with canned corn is, its already cooked and ready to eat. Your only objective then will be to keep in in a cool area.

White Rice​

5. White Rice

Rice has to be one of the greatest foods this earth has to offer, it is a TRUE staple food for a BIG portion of the world. Just know for a fact that it’s healthy (when grown organically), does not need refrigeration, is inexpensive and an excellent source of calories.

When it comes to shelf life, you can get 30 years or more when you properly store it in air-tight containers. 

Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, rice offers near-instant energy to get you going. 

Fun-Fact: Rice can be a great gluten-free source of carbs and starch, for when you are intolerant to consuming wheat of any kind.

Whole Wheat Grains​

6. Whole Wheat Grains

Since the beginning of civilization, wheat has been a BIG part of the human diet. Today more than 1/3 of the world uses it to some extent.

Just like rice, it provides a LOT of carbohydrates, some protein, minerals and vitamins. Before grinding the grains, by storing them in an air-tight and dry area, you can get 10+ years of shelf life. 

Consider using food-grade buckets, vacuum sealer or heat sealers, 5-gallon food storage bags, and oxygen absorbers to achieve the amazing shelf life. 

Did you know wheat has multiple uses, such as baking, brewing alcohol and livestock feed.

Raw Oats (Oatmeal)​

7. Raw Oats (Oatmeal)

If your parent told you “eat your oat meal, its good for you, even horses it it”… they had a good point. Oatmeal is a very satisfying to eat especially when adding a bit of sweeteners such as honey or raw cane sugar. It is rich in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and folate.

They are rich in fiber, but also have a higher protein and fat content than other grains. 

When stored properly in sealed bucket containers, away from moisture, you can get 18 to 24 months. 

Dried Pasta

8. Dried Pasta

If there’s one food many people love, its pasta. While it may not be gluten-free, its inexpensive, satisfying to eat, and can easily be placed in storage where its air-tight.

A full bowl of pasta can be enough to feed a family of 4 with relative ease. 

I’d like to add that, this also applies to dried spaghetti noodles, as they are the same thing just in a different form. 

There’s a lot of different food recipes you can adopt, which will ensure there’s hardly ever a boring meal. 

Freeze-Dried Fruits & Vegetables​

9. Freeze-Dried Fruits & Vegetables

Did you know that freeze dried foods can be stored for up to 25 years?

Yep, but all depends on how you store it. As we all know, oxygen and water are the enemy of freeze dried foods. 

To get it done right, its recommended you use Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to ensure any oxygen which makes it in over time… is promptly absorbed and away with. 

There’s no limit as to which fruits and vegetables you can store away for future use. The only downside to doing this, is needing to get a freeze drying machine. It can cost upwards of $2,000 (sometimes more). But regardless, this is an investment to your future. 

This also applies for freeze-dried meats. Dry meat in general lasts a VERY long time (when sealed properly), and freeze-drying meats is no exception. It will prove to be an excellent source of protein and when seasoned properly, a tasty snack.

Pemmican (Homemade Meat Jerky)​

10. Pemmican (Homemade Meat Jerky)

To be quite honest, I had no idea what this was until I looked into it further. Pemmican is a paste of dried and pounded meat mixed with melted fat and a host of other ingredients. It was originally introduced to us by Native Americans. Ingredients range from different types of meats, such as bison, deer, elk and moose.

At times, fruits can be added such as cranberries and Saskatoon berries.

This is a homemade thing for the most part, doing so will also save you a lot of money if you plan to make a lot. 

However you can also buy Pemmican either online or in some speciality stores, just make sure you first are comfortable with the flavor, and see the air-tight packaging which will keep this food ready-to-eat for much longer.

Note: For our religious readers, most of the meats mentioned above for Pemmican, are kosher and halal.

Dried Seaweed

11. Dried Seaweed

This delicious snack has not been popular in the United States, until recently. Often marked as a healthier alternative to chips, dried seaweed can be found in most grocery stores and at a fairly reasonable price.

Each sheet of seaweed is very thing and weighs next to nothing, dehydrated and seasoned with salt, it’s an excellent source of iodine. 

While in raw form it would be one of the healthiest foods you consume, in dry form it takes it down a few notches… but still retains its benefits with its low calorie, sugar-free, and iodine rich character.

A whole box full of this stuff only weighs a few lbs (or a handful of kg). Being a dry food, it will 1+ years when properly sealed in air-tight jars or packaging.

Hormel Spam

12. Hormel Spam (Canned Meat)

Since it was first introduced in 1937, it has fed a LOT of people. It has been the best emergency food most people could think of when it came down to storing for prolonged periods of time.

Spam if you were not aware, is a precooked meat product which can be served in both hot and cold temperatures. 

It consists of pork/ham mixture, along with seasoning and preservatives for its impressive shelf life of 2-5 years past its “best by” date (many have stored it for much longer and eaten it, with no adverse side effects).

Believe it or not, it also has no msg, for those who care about its healthy aspects. 

Canned Tomatoes

13. Canned Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be down-right tasteless when bought from a poor source. However, if you’ve ever tried a fresh tomato… ideally fresh from the garden, you’ll know it is very juicy and flavorful. Canned tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and fiber.

In addition to those benefits, tomatoes are used in a WIDE variety of meals such as spaghetti, most salads, pizza’s and much more (a long list to be honest).

As with most canned foods, tomatoes will last you (sealed) 2+ years if stored in a fairly dry, cool space. While your results may vary once you start counting the years, by replenishing your reserved every year or two should be just fine.

Canned Tuna​

14. Canned Tuna

How would you like eat lean meat which is high in protein and highly portable?

This meat is tuna, and it rocks with its long shelf life. When SHTF, this protein power food will last you anywhere between 3 to 5 years when unopened. 

When you want to know where to buy, you can find it almost anywhere that sells food. We recommend you visit Walmart for the cheapest prices (if you’re from USA). 

Stock up on at least a few hundred cans of this stuff, it should run you a few hundred dollars. In the end, you’ll have more than enough for at least a year or two of eating it everyday. 

Canned Sardines

15. Canned Sardines

Personally I had to put sardines on this list because I eat them at least once per week. If there was ever a cheap source of protein, Omega-3, Selenium, Calcium, Phosphorus and Vitamin D… it’s sardines.

Let’s not forget its LOW in metals such as Mercury, which is a BIG bonus. 

When it comes to storing sardines for later, when unopened, you’re likely to get 3-5 years out of them without a problem. When things go south and you need fast source of fat and protein… eat a few sardines to satisfy your taste buds, you won’t regret it.

Vienna Sausage

16. Vienna Sausages

These little suckers are actually quite tasty… while not healthy by any stretch, if you don’t eat them everyday… you’ll be totally fine. 

You see, Vienna sausages came into existence in 1903 after being influenced by the original Vienna, Austria sausage links. These little smoked sausages are different, as they are made primarily of finely ground pork and a host of spices. 

A full box of these will cost you just a few dollars, and each one can last more than 2 years sitting around in cool temperatures. 

This has to be one of the tastiest and best non perishable food items on this list (and my personal favorite). 

Canned Chili

17. Canned Chili

Canned Chili has to be one of those foods that you simply can’t get enough of… and for good reason. Most have ground beef which is not only filling, but also packed with protein.

Aside for the super high sodium content, in moderation should be totally fine.

 Assuming you place your stockpile of canned chili in a cool and dry place, expect to get 3-5 years of shelf life beyond the “best by date”.

 Keep in mind that this applies for 99% of all canned chili products on the market today.

Canned Beef Stew

18. Canned Beef Stew

Here’s another meat product which is going to have a 2+ year shelf life after its “good-by” date. Beef Stew in a can, is a very tasty treat all by itself, mix it with other food such as instant mash potatoes and you’ve got a great meal on-the-spot. 

A wide majority of beef-stew is made of chunks of beef, followed by a medium thick sauces and cut vegetables such as carrots and peas. 

Storing this food will be a great year-round item to have, especially in the winter when you’ll need something hot to warm yourself up.

Popular brands include: Dinty Moore, Puritan, Armour, Kirkland and Campbells. 

canned chicken breast

19. Canned Chicken Breast

When it comes to having one of leanest meats to eat that won’t break the bank, it’s chicken breast. Canned chicken breast is almost always skinless, boneless and fully cooked ready to eat.

There’s a TON of protein per can with a healthy daily dose which will not only keep you full, but also slim. Now being slim may not be the best option during a doomsday type of scenario, but seriously when SHTF (poop hits the fan)…

It’s tough to beat chicken with its digestibility and nutrition facts. 

Like with most canned foods, 2-5 years of storage is the most common thing. Again, cool and dry area will serve you best. 

Meal Ready to Eat

20. MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat)

If you have been or are an active duty person, involved with the military in some way, you’ve heard of MRE’s. MRE stands for “Meals Ready to Eat”. Essentially, its a self-contained complete meal, designed to withstand rough conditions and constant exposure to the elements. 

Being the main operational food ration of the United States Armed Forces, they have a lot of value for long term storage. 

While you can typically expect 2-3 years of shelf life when storing in 80 degree F, any lower temperature will make these meals last longer. It’s no unheard of to have MRE’s sitting around for 10, 15, 20+ years and aside from some discoloration of food… tasting completely fine.

Broth \ Stock

21. Broth/Stock

Whether it’s chicken, turkey, beef, or vegetable broth, enjoying a nice hot bowl will warm your insides and likely cheer you up. Canned broth is something that will first, retain its flavor for years down the road, and two, be an excellent source of sodium for when salty things become scarce. 

You can place almost any physical food into broth/stock, vegetables, pieces of meat, noodles, eggs… and so on. 

It is very important you get a few packs to get the best price (a set of 6 or 12 cans) with a clear label which says “No MSG”. Generally manufacturers add that chemical to ensure it tastes fine when in reality it tastes quite bad. 

They want to trick your brain (just saying). 

Canned broth/stock has a long lasting shelf life of at least a few years. Remember, cool and dry places are what to aim for.

Powdered Milk

22. Powdered Milk

You might be wondering, how is MILK going to have a shelf life…. Ahh, you see regular milk will not, but when dehydrated in a powder form, it has an impressive shelf life of 2-10 years. While having a big gap, it really makes a difference where you store your sealed packets. 

Some survivalist stores sell NONFAT dry powdered milk with a label boasting 25-year shelf life, now THAT is something to hoard at least a few dozen pounds or so. 

What it will still have is a lot of protein, calories, fat, and sugar. Just mix with warm water, and you have a drink that about as good as regular milk you’re used to.


23 Gee

Now this is something you may of not heard of before, however it has been a staple food product in India for a very long time. Essentially, its a variation of clarified butter… but taken a step further. Your result will be longer shelf life. It still derives from milk, so storing it in a chilled place will likely give you 12-24 mouths of use. 

A dark glass, air-tight container, placed in a sub 70 degree area, will result in shelf life that will reach the top-end and maybe even longer. 

Use this in all types of cooking, unlike butter, ghee has a higher smoke point of 375 degrees. This makes it ideal for sautéing and searing. Making it is quite easy, do read this article to find out more.

Maple Syrup

24 Maple Syrup

With this one you gotta be careful, since a big portion of “Maple Syrup” is actually FAKE. Yes, you’ll see on the back either “High Fructose Corn Syrup, Fructose Corn Syrup, or Rice Syrup”, heck you’ll even find sugar-free syrup. 

Enough with the healthy stuff… the REAL stuff costs a bit more than the cheap stuff, so you’re better off spending a bit more. Your body will thank you later. 

Using maple syrup will be an excellent alternative to cane sugar, since its unrefined. Native Americans have been using this syrup way before the first settlers came along. It is rooted deep in their traditions then and now. 

It’s an imperishable food item when sealed air-tight inside a glass jar. Stored inside a cool place will make it “good-as-new” for years to come.

peanut butter

25 Peanut Butter

If you have an allergy to peanuts, clearly mark this OFF your list. If you don’t, listen up. Aside from being a highly filling food, peanut butter has an impressive shelf life of more than 1 year. Typically supermarkets have a “sell-by” date of about 18 months. After which, if its not opened… you’ll still be good. 

Do keep it inside a dry and cool area to ensure longevity.

Instant Coffee

26 Instant Coffee (Bonus)

Alright, this may not be a food but what you get out of it is quite amazing.

Instant coffee is quite amazing for a few key reasons, first of all it has a high amount of caffeine, it’s ready to brew within seconds, and most importantly… 

it’s so cheap to buy. 

You can literally buy a few BIG jars and it will last you for at least a year or two (unless you are one of those crazy 5 cups per day drinkers). Joking of course!

Instant coffee will almost never expire, especially when you freeze it. Lets say you store it sealed inside a pantry… expect 2-20 years. While that may be a BIG gap, you know its possible to have this stuff for at least a decade (to be safe). 


Spices, Sugars & Salts With Indefinite Shelf Life

Now in this section, I’ll discuss a few spices which are used most commonly that will last you a few years at least, if not decades. 

Did you know at one point spices were used as a form of currency, they were so valuable…. you were considered super rich when you had a lot. Today its a different story, however they hold their value in our everyday food… they make our favorite tastes, a realty!


1. Honey

This is one of the purest definitions of indefinite shelf life. Honey will likely change color and become crystalized, but year and years down the road (when sealed tight), it will stand the test of time and be easy to eat. 

In the event your honey becomes too hard or thick to eat, simply pour a little bit of hot water and it will loosen-up. 

Key Note: Make sure you buy local, farm-raised bee honey. This will ensure you buy a “raw” and uncooked product. 


2. Salt

If it can be stored underground for centuries, it can definitely be stored in your pantry for longer than you can be alive.

At one point, this stuff will become scarce… store few gallons of kosher salt, sea salt, or pink Himalayan salt salt for the highest density of nutrients. 


3. Sugar

Sugar simply will not go bad, as it does not support bacteria growth. The thing is, you must find a way to keep it from turning rock-solid. What often causes this to happen is moisture build-up over time that makes clumps of sugar.

To ensure this does not happen or at least, isn’t as likely to happen, store sugar in an air-tight jar and place into a dark space. 

Baking Soda

4. Baking Soda

Typically baking soda does not come with an expiration date. It won’t rot, need refrigeration, and be an excellent multi-use tool. 

Preparedness is very important in this day and age, as for the few reasons I stated from the very beginning. Having all your emergency supplies, in the event of a hurricane, winter storm, famine, or anything else you may deem to be an emergency will prove to be a wise forward thinking investment. 

Baking soda is used for cooking, cleaning things, cleaning your teeth, as a preservative, and MUCH more. 

Whole Black Pepper

5 Whole Black Pepper

Black pepper adds a spicy kick to food that you may not have otherwise. You can have either ground or whole black pepper stored inside a glass container (air-tight) and be good for 3-4 years, but sometimes longer.

I recommend you buy this in bulk so you’ll not only receive a discount, but also not have to be re-stocking your reserves. 

BONUS: What other survival tool goes hand-in-hand with non-perishable food?

A darn good water filter, specifically, one that you can take with you on the go. I bring this up because I wrote an article on which countertop water filter to buy. This is especially good when you pair a good filter to water you harvest from the rain. Be sure to check those articles out if you haven’t. 

So What Do You Think?

This list to me a few days to compile because I truly had to dig deep into seeing which items people have stored before, and are now starting to store. The internet is a wonderful thing, whether you’re trying to prepare for the doomsday type of scenario… or simply want to live off-grid in the wilderness, everything I’ve mentioned above can be a great addition to your list. 

If you enjoyed reading this, please comment below and tell me your thoughts.

Any feedback is appreciated! : )

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