These Items Sell Out Quickly in a Crisis

Remember when we thought nothing could be as bad as 2020 was? Well, 2021 has certainly given last year a run for its money.

Extreme weather has been as bad or worse in some parts of the country. Including the Southern deep freeze in February. Plus record-breaking wildfires in the West this summer.

And deadly Hurricane Ida in late August and early September. Not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic refusing to shut down.

Many of us who had never seen empty store shelves – other than on TV – got a first-hand look at them. It’s not a pretty sight. In fact, it’s pretty scary.

Empty store shelves

No one knows what the rest of 2021 holds for us. Or what kind of problems 2022 will bring.

What we do know is that anything that can disrupt the food supply chain can lead to long lines and empty shelves at grocery stores.

I’m hoping you have a solid supply of non-perishable food ready and waiting. Because you know that people will push and shove to get that last bottle of water or gallon of milk. Or whatever else they need badly.

One thing that helps is knowing which items disappear the quickest in an emergency. That way you can stock up on those items and not have to worry when a crisis strikes.

Now, not everybody’s list is the same. The type of emergency can be a factor. As can the season of the year and the area of the country. But certain items are always grabbed first in these situations. Here are some of them:

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide an incredible amount of vital nutrients you need to survive in an emergency. That’s why most people tend to gravitate towards the fresh produce in a crisis before they spoil.

However, while fresh produce is the first to go, canned fruits and veggies are the second.

Canned foods have gotten a bad name in some circles. And while they are not as good during a crisis as dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, they serve their purpose.

It’s easy to see why they go quickly. Their shelf life is decent and you can eat right out of the can. Heck, you could even use a full can as a weapon if someone entered your home and tried to steal from you.

Grains and grain-based foods

This can include rice, oats, wheat, barley, cornmeal, pasta, etc. As well as cereals, oatmeal, grits and others. Some of these items have a pretty long shelf life. And there are many different meals you can prepare with them.

Ready-to-eat foods

These items are particularly popular if a power outage is expected because no cooking is required for them. They include peanut butter, granola bars and crackers. Plus trail mix, nuts and many more.

Meat and fish

Fresh meat and fish is a risk if your power goes out. Freeze-dried, dehydrated or canned meat and fish, on the other hand, should last a while. And they’ll provide you with much of the protein and nutrients you need to deal with during a crisis.


This may come as a shock to some people, but it’s an item that goes quickly. As a sweetener, honey is much healthier for you and your family than sugar.

Honey has an incredibly long shelf life. And because some people don’t think to grab it when they’re in a hurry, it makes for a great bartering tool.

Canola oil

Containing important omega-3 fatty acids, this oil is used for cooking a wide variety of foods. But there are healthier cooking oils out there. Including organic corn oil, coconut oil, butter or butter powder, olive oil and palm oil.

Tobacco and alcohol

If you tell me you don’t drink or smoke, I’ll say it doesn’t matter. People who do are going to run out of tobacco and alcohol if the crisis goes on long enough. And you’ll have something they are desperate to barter for.

Here are some of the top beverages that also sell out quickly in a disaster:

Bottled water

The fear here is that tap water could become contaminated in a disaster. It’s a legitimate concern, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have some bottled water in your home.

But not knowing where that water came from originally, and with the possibility that plastic will be found in your bottled water, you should also have a reliable water purifier.

Milk and bread

Unless you’re one of the first 25 people in the door of a store, these two items will probably be gone by the time you get to where they’re kept.

But that’s not where you want to head anyway. The milk won’t last long in a blackout, and bread has a pretty short shelf life as well. Powdered milk is a good choice here.

Coffee and tea

These beverages might not fly off the shelves quite as quickly as bottled water will, but they are both popular in a crisis.

Sleep patterns are bound to be disrupted during an emergency. And while caffeinated beverages may be somewhat dehydrating, staying awake at the right time may save your life.

Many items will fly off store shelves before and during an emergency. Focus on stockpiling those items, as well as others you’ll need to sustain you in a crisis.


  • Albert Mirochnick - May 02, 2022

    Don’t forget the toilet paper and paper towel shortage during the beginning of the pandemic. Buy a little extra when you shop and you’ll have a 6-12 month supply before you know it.

  • Gerald Kirby - October 22, 2021

    Great job

  • Margarita Landry - October 15, 2021

    I’m so impressed by all the work and y’all have put into this project. I had begun gathering a few articles, but the expiration date is not that long AND rates got into a large quantity of what I had gathered. So, I’m will be doing my gathering from you as I get more funds. Thank you.

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