We’ve all seen the grocery stores and how food and other items are flying off the shelves. It’s clear that people are panicking and grabbing everything they can, sparking runs on things like toilet paper.
This is apparently not going to stop anytime soon, as it appears that many of the same people are returning to the store over and over again, hoarding things, rather than just buying what they need for the foreseeable future.
I think it’s important to note that these people are considerably different than preppers in that they are panic buying, rather than building a well-reasoned stockpile.
There’s also a lot of them doing it at the same time, rather than doing it over a long period of time, gradually building their stockpile.
It is this rush to buy, which is causing the current shortages.
Things quickly reached a point where the panic was fueling itself. People who went to the store for a few basic necessities saw what was happening and started buying, motivated by the empty shelves they were seeing.
We must keep in mind that there is no shortage of food or even toilet paper. The apparent shortage has come about because of this panic buying.
The supply chain is being stretched beyond the breaking point, as truckers are working overtime to rush the product to the store’s shelves and make up for the buying frenzy that’s going on.
If there’s anything you need, that you don’t already have, the early morning, when the stores first open, is the time to get it.
Many stores have shortened their hours so that they can use the night shift to clean and restock. So the shelves are the most full they’re going to be first thing in the morning, before the rush hits. Of course, that rush starts hitting as soon as they open the doors.
While the president has called for a two-week lockdown, on the advice of the CDC, chances are that that time frame will be extended.
Some self-proclaimed “experts” are claiming that the lockdown will extend as far as June. But these are all guesses, as the president and his closest advisors don’t know what they’re going to do yet.
They’re waiting to see what results in the current lockdown has and then from there try to project what will happen if they continue the lockdown and what will happen if they don’t.
With that in mind, it only makes sense to increase your stockpile, if you don’t already have enough.
That raises the question of “What should you be stockpiling?” There’s no question that this crisis is different than those we have all prepared for.
So does it make sense to follow those rules? Or are there new rules which apply to this situation?
The answer to that is actually rather simple. While the current pandemic is very similar to a number of other disaster scenarios we’ve all talked about, there is one overriding difference that affects everything… we have electric power. So our refrigerated and frozen food isn’t going to go bad.
What Will You Need?
With that out of the way, what foods should you be stockpiling? I’m going to limit myself to just food items here, as I think we all know we need hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol.
Many of the grocery chains and big box stores are limiting the purchase of a long list of items that they are currently running shortages on.
This means that part of our buying strategy is going to have to be to make sure we buy those items when we can; banking them for the day when we can’t get them but need them. We don’t need to go overboard with that, but we want to make sure that we have what we need.
Personally, my wife and I have decided that we are not going to add to the problem by buying more than what we need.
While I could buy six months’ worth of food, I’m not. I’m limiting myself to what I need to get through the next month or two. But we are constantly reevaluating the situation and may make adjustments to that, as we see necessary.
- Meat, Poultry & Fish – Protein is an essential macronutrient, which we get primarily from animals. Buy what you can and freeze it. I prefer buying the large “family packs” when I can and then repackaging them for freezing
- Fresh Fruits & Vegetables – Stick with hardy ones, which won’t go bad in the refrigerator. Apples last longer than bananas; cabbage and celery last longer than lettuce
- Rice Cakes – Bread is flying off the shelves, but I’ve seen rice cakes every time I went to the store. They’re a good substitute for that bread, once you get used to them
- Soup Base & Bouillon – You can make anything into a soup, which is especially useful when you have picky eaters who don’t like leftovers
- Oatmeal – makes for a heartier breakfast and doesn’t go stale as breakfast cereal does
- Dried Fruit – That hasn’t flown off the shelves, although canned has. The dried is just as good for snacking, cooking or desert
- Frozen Vegetables – Probably a staple in your family’s diet
- Pasta & Rice – Good staples which are getting hard to find
- Dried Beans – Depending on how much a part they play in your normal diet. If you don’t normally eat them, you really don’t need to start for this crisis
- Canned Vegetables & Fruit – If you already have these in your stockpile, there’s no need; but if you don’t have them, they’re a great backup to your fresher food choices.
- Milk & Eggs – Get them while you can. Milk won’t keep long, but eggs will. With everyone at home, you’ll probably go through more.
- Powdered Milk – Most people don’t like powdered milk, but it can be used for cooking, especially baking. It can also be used to extend your milk supply, mixing it half and half with whole milk to improve the flavor.
What Not to Stockpile
There are a few items I wouldn’t bother stockpiling, more than your normal usage:
- Water – If you have a water filtration system, you don’t need to be stockpiling water
- Junk Food – This might be an ideal opportunity to get your family to eat a little healthier. Just make sure you have something available for snacks
- Frozen Breakfast Items – It’s not hard to cook these yourself, so why bother?
- Frozen Bread Items – They’re awfully expensive for what you get
- Frozen Pizza – I’d rather support my local small businesses and buy pizza from a pizzeria
- Food Already in Your Stockpile – If you already have things in your food stockpile, there’s no reason to buy more now. This is what you’ve been stockpiling them for. Leave what’s there for the people who didn’t think ahead.
Whatever you do, take the time to think it through. You and have had the luxury of time to mentally prepare for a crisis, unlike the rest of the people out there.
We don’t need to panic and we don’t need to follow the herd instinct. Rather, we’re the ones marching to the beat of a different drum; that of the prepared.