A Beginner’s Guide to Stocking Up Your Food Pantry in a Time of Shortages, Inflation

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Grocery shopping is a chore or a fun adventure, depending on your viewpoint, but rising prices and shortages have added a lot of stress to this unavoidable task. Due to inflation and shortages, millions of Americans are quietly building their own food storage pantries to sustain their families in a time of growing uncertainty. How to do this when households are paying a whopping $460 more per month over last year for basic goods and services is a challenge.

Costs are increasing across the board, but nothing hits home like seeing the price of basics going up by 10 to 30 percent. Eggs are up 33 percent over last year, bread by 10 percent, canned soup by 13 percent, and bacon by 11 percent. A 10-pound bag of white rice from the discount supermarket Aldi is up almost 19 percent since this same time last year.

Stocking up on food makes sense, but how can a family build a food storage pantry to cover a month’s worth of meals or more in times like these? The answer: returning to basic meals with frugal, shelf-stable ingredients and seeking alternative food sources.

The Game Plan

A good goal for beginners is one full month’s worth of meals. This time frame gives you a significant margin in case of loss of income or a snafu in the local supply chain due to a natural disaster.

Build your food storage pantry around the foods, quantities, and meals typical for your household. If breakfast isn’t part of your routine, then there’s no need to spend money on that extra meal.

Start with simple recipes and basic meals so that meal prep in a time of emergency is quick and uncomplicated, and focuses on foods that are shelf-stable and stored at room temperature.

Meal Foundations

Simple meals begin with budget-friendly foundations. Think of it this way: Many Italian meals depend on one type of pasta or another as a foundation. Spaghetti, lasagna, and baked rigatoni all include pasta as an essential ingredient. Nearly all Asian dishes include rice as a fundamental. Both pasta and rice can serve the same role as you build your pantry around these basics.

By Lisa Bedford

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