1 year food storage for family of 4

As a survivalist, we have to be prepared for any disasters. This may mean being without food, water, and electrical power for days, weeks, or even months. This is why its very important to have some emergency food and water stored.

Its all well and good to store food but what most people don’t realize are that most foods have a limited shelf life. This is due to the way the foods are packaged.

Modern day long shelf life foods have been specifically treated by a number of conditions such as, vacuum sealing, freeze dried, salting, and

Top 3 companies that do 25 year expiry food storage



Augason Farms

Wise Company

Mountain House

Food storage bucket.
Shelf Life Up to 25 Years  Up to 25 Years Up to 30 Years
Bucket Size

29 lb 4.37 oz 7 Gallon Pail

 7.5 lb 3.45 lb (1.56kg)

307 Servings

104 Servings 29 Servings
Calories Per Day


Approx 2000 Approx 2000
Total Calories 54,670    
1 Person supply 30 Days 16 Days supply for 1 person. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 12 total meals with enough food to feed a person for 3.5 days.
Selection of food contained.
  • Cheesy Broccoli Rice
  • Creamy Chicken Flavored Rice
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Vegetable Chicken Soup & Creamy Potato Soup.
  • Maple brown sugar oatmeal.
  • Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative

  • Instant potatoes
  • Creamy pasta and vegetable rotini (4 servings each)
  • A pouch of pasta alfredo (4 servings each)
  • Savory Stroganoff (4 servings each)
  • Creamy tomato basil soup (4 servings each)
  • Freeze-dried peas and corn (8 servings each)
  • Apple cinnamon cereal (4 servings each) and Pouch of brown sugar and maple multi-grain (4 servings each)
  • Butter sauce (8 servings each)
  • Vanilla pudding (8 servings each)
  • Creamy yogurt (8 servings each) 2 Pouches of whey milk (12 servings each)
  • Contains 12 total pouches, two each Beef Stroganoff with Noodles,
  • Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, Beef Stew
  • Lasagna with Meat Sauce.
  • Noodles & Chicken.
  • Granola cereal with Milk & Blueberries. 
Container Type Bucket stackable, watertight, airtight, pest-proof and heavy duty Stackable buckets to ensure quality and convenience. Stackable buckets with individually wrapped food pouches.
More Information

How they taste

Out of the 3 companies tested here, the best tasting was from Mountain House. They guarantee their taste for 30 years which is saying something. You will pay more for a 3.5 day supply but they really are a full meal replacement. The Beef Stroganoff with Noodles is my favorite.

As these are for food storage we don’t eat them a lot. Keeping a 1 year food supply for a family of 4 is very easy with these kits.

Augason Farms is the best value if you buy in bulk. I like that they do a 1-month food bucket for one person. I did find their food surprisingly tasty. Their calorie count is around 1822 which is close to the national recommended 2000 calorie daily intake.

If you are buying for family members take into account the age of the person. A 5-year-old child will eat less than a 30-year-old man. But if you just divide the ration pack by the number of people in your household you will work out the food supply in days.

Wise came in second for taste and value. Their large long life food storage buckets are handy to pack in pantries and cupboards.


MRE Free Sample packs

MRE is also known as Meals Ready to Eat, they take very little in preparation. Usually, its just add some water. Here’s a list of some of the food storage companies that offer free samples of their products. There may just be a small postage cost.

We like to have a selection of  MRE sachels ready for emergencies that we can just grab and throw into a backpack for a quick getaway. They make great camping meals. If you want more information on these emergency meals we have done a quick post on how survival MRE ration packs work and how they taste.

Storing your 1 year food supply for family of 4

Keeping your emergency food supply in tip-top condition is super important in keeping it fresh and lasting for the full 25 to 30 years. To start off it needs to be stored in a dark, dry, cool environment.
Your long term food storage will depend on how you set up your pantry or basement. Even though these buckets are vermin proof, I have seen rats and mice slowly eat their way into even the toughest of plastic and wooden containers.

It’s good to inspect your food supply at least monthly for signs of vermin in the way of droppings and set up traps if you find any. Replace your food containers if mice or rodents have eaten their way into them. Set up traps and check them regularly.

Direct sunlight can break down these plastic buckets and cause the internal temperature to rise. This will cause the internal food to not last as long. Keeping your emergency food cool at around 55F-70F or less is very important for longevity.

Basements are the perfect location as they are usually cool and dark. Under beds are another option if you can flat pack your foods. Try to store your emergency food supply inside your main place of residence. I find my car garage gets too hot in summer for my long life food.

Other long life food options

You don’t have to stick with the 20-year food storage containers. You can also make your own vacuum sealed food like Beef Jerky. They should last a while if made and stored correctly. Consider rotating your food as well once they get close to their use by dates.

Foods that are long lasting that are eazly stored are:

  • Rice
  • Spaghetti
  • Canned foods such as bake beans, tomatoes, tuna etc
  • Pasta
  • Nuts
  • Honey and Sugar
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Powdered and condensed milk

If you vacuum seal most of these items they will last a very long time. The key is to remove the oxygen which will overtime degrade your foods.

Growing your own fruit and Vegetables.

apple tree for long term food storage

Having a few fruit trees and a vegetable garden will give your family all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Having a few apple trees, orange trees and hard stone fruit like apricots will greatly enhance your survivability.

Apples are great as they have around 52 calories for every 100g. As they are seasonal you can slice the apples up and either freeze them or vacuum seal them for long term storage. They are full of energy and contain sugar, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Protecting them from birds and vermin will be the next task but usually, a small net over the whole tree during the fruiting season will keep most of them away.

A vegetable patch can be used to grow carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins, corn and much more. Having access to fresh water will be of great importance as the vegetable garden will use a lot of water. mulch on the top like seaweed or grass clippings will help keep the water from evaporating away. Be sure to store vegetable seeds for many seasons.

Freshwater supply

Having access to a supply of fresh water is something most people overlook. These are a few options to get water for your family as well as your plants.

A rainwater tank can be a great source of fresh water if the main town tap water stops or gets contaminated. Be sure to have it filtered out from leaves and other debris. A first flush device is great as it will usually dump the first 10L of rainwater onto the ground before it enters the tank.

Keeping bottled water is also a great survival technique. We make our own by reusing 2L juice and soda bottles. Wash them out well with soapy water and rinse well. Be sure to fully dry the bottles. Boil up some tap water to kill any bacteria. Pour the hot water into the bottles carefully and screw on the caps tightly. As the water cools it will cause a vacuum.
Store these water bottles in a cool, dark room. If you don’t have a darkroom, place a towel over the bottles to keep the sunlight out.

Water purifiers are another great way to clean up your dirty water. We use a product called Lifestraw Mission it can quickly purify even the dirtiest of water to make it drinkable. It’s well worth it for peace of mind. Life straw also makes personal water filters that are great for bug out bags.

How much water intake do you need?

how to get fresh water from life straw

The Food and Nutrition Board released have set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water per day. This is from all beverages and foods. For men, this increases to approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water.

How Many calories do I need to survive 1 year?

The number of calories one person needs per day will depend on how active they are and their overall size and weight. A quick calculation researched by Harvard medical school states that you can work out your required calorie intake by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 15.

For a person like myself who is 5-Foot 9 inches (180cm) tall and weighing in at 180 pounds (82kg) I would require 180×15= 2700 calories per day.

This is the number of calories I would require to keep my body weight being fairly active. Any less and I would slowly lose weight. Now, this is probably a good thing to eat less.

Now to work out how many calories I would need for 1 year we multiply my daily calorie intake by 365 days. So 2700 x 365= 985,500 calories. Wow. We could easily cut this down to 2000 calories a day which brings my total down to 730,000 calories for a whole year.

Now do these calculations for each person in your household to work out their daily and yearly calorie intake.

To maintain your body weights, Food intake patterns up to 1,400 calories are designed to meet the nutritional needs of 2- to 8-year-old children. Older children will require around 1000 to 2000 calories. Adult active men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, while women require 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily, according to the publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015.”


Having a 1 year supply of food for a family of 4 can be a really big task. But if you build up your emergency food supply slowly it won’t seem like a huge job. Put some thought and dedication into it, and don’t forget to include your whole family into the preparation. Its a fun project for everyone.

Offset your food storage with a variety of home grown fruit and vegetables. Maybe have some chickens for meat and eggs. Consider catching fish if you live near the ocean or a river. Options for fresh food are endless.

My kids often show me some specials at the supermarket that would make great storage food. Buy in bulk and when on special to save money. Make sure to include vitamins and mineral supplements when you won’t have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

Let us know in the comments below what are your favorite emergency food storage ideas. Happy prepping.

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4 years ago

Lotta good basics here, but still can’t believe another site that tells people to use 2-liter soda bottles to store water long term. These will not work longer than nine months, maybe a year. After that the plastic taste will be so strong you can’t drink the water, and you won’t want to anyway. Look for #2 HDPE plastic containers for water, those will do the trick.