What is Survival Food? A Beginner’s Guide

What is Survival Food

Survival food is food that can be stored for a long time. Survival foods are foods intended to support people and families during a famine, catastrophe, or long-term and short-term crises. Anything from energy bars, cookies or crackers, canned products, fresh meat, grains, cereals, dehydrated and freeze-dried food can be survival food. Food-secured foods and survival foods also need to satisfy the individual or family’s daily nutritional requirements to keep them fit in crisis times. Survival food must be portable and light in the event of immediate travel and evacuation, so as not to include the bulk of things one needs to take with them.

A Survival food pack must be light, to bring with your other necessities such as clothing and water. They must also be high in calories to provide the energy needed to move along and, if possible, the nutrients needed to keep one’s body functions functioning well.

When Shopping, What To Look For?

Although there is a detailed food list below, and if you only buy from that list, you will be just fine, it is worth understanding the fundamental differences between what is good for your prepper pantry and what is not. The more you know, the easier it is to personalize or improvise.

Easy Storage

Durable packaging is much better than the kind of packaging you would find with potato chips, like a can or box. It is not automatically disqualified for food that needs to be cold/frozen but is too careful to rely on electricity.

Simple to Prepare

You might not have utilities or other things that make cooking easier in the sort of emergency where you rely on this food. Therefore, we favor foods that can be consumed as-is, need only basic reheating or rehydration, or are easy to mix and combine with other ingredients.

survival food
Survival food must be portable and light in the event of immediate travel and evacuation.

Survival Food Types:


Canned food is typically cooked and then added under heat and pressure to sterilized cans that are sealed. This process sterilizes the food. Before sealing, it also drives the oxygen out of the can, avoiding mold and bacterial contamination. Canning is relatively easy to do at home and can be carried out in batches. Many canned foods lose their nutritional value and experience texture shifts due to the heat used in canning.


Until 90 to 95 percent of the moisture is removed, dehydrated foods are dried using heated air. It’s an easy process that is even possible to do at home. The food shrinks during dehydration and becomes dry and tough. Dehydrated food tends to retain some of its weight because not all of the water is removed. It also reduces its shelf life to approximately 15 to 20 years.


Some people prefer to store bar-style foods rather than canned or dried foods. These foods are intended to be substitutes for meals. Instead of a meal, they typically pack a ton of calories and nutrients into a small bar that you eat.


In some countries, survival food is a foreign notion. Many countries in the tropical regions benefit from year-round harvests. The culture of “saving for rainy days” is not as important as for those in the middle latitudes where there is a greater need for survival stores. Those living in the latter already understand what survival food is and how important it is to stock food in their pantry.

In essence, emergency foods are useful in catastrophic situations until help arrives during an emergency or disaster. In contrast, survival foods are foods that can sustain your life as long as possible until conditions change so that they can produce food again.


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