Why You Should Choose High Demand Food Storage Items

most important storage items collage

So after spending a lot of time and more money than I could really afford, trying to acquire the necessary items for my long-term food storage, I was finding it difficult to know what to buy and how to afford it. I came to the stark realization that it is virtually impossible to plan for every contingency. But if you’re like me you’re always feeling like you don’t have everything you need, or want, in your food storage. “Oh, we need that too”, or “we should get that”, or “we need those too”… it can feel overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you don’t have much money.

At about this time I discovered a talk given in 1982 by Elder F. Enzio Busche, wherein he presented an idea which totally changed my thinking about food storage. In this talk, he gave a list of the most sought-after items by the starving people in World War II Era Germany. Now, it wasn’t really what these items WERE, necessarily, that changed my thinking, rather it was that these items were VALUABLE, and that completely shifted my thinking.

Elder Busche said “the items of highest value were tobacco and alcohol” because in times of panic people tend to need some drug to escape reality. He said he actually saw people “give their last loaf of bread and their last meager supply of potatoes” for a bottle of brandy. Wow! He then said the food item they relied on most was vegetable oil because With a bottle of vegetable oil, one could acquire nearly every other desirable item. It had such value that with a quart of vegetable oil one could probably trade for three bushels of apples or three hundred pounds of potatoes.”

Talk about a paradigm shift – I realized that I didn’t need to stock everything we might need myself – I just needed to make sure to store items that will be In High Demand! In fact, Elder Busche later said that “there will be trading of valuable items, and items in greatest demand will set the price, bypassing the use of money.” I knew there had to be other inexpensive potentially in-demand items that I could acquire.

Then, to add to this shift in my thinking, I also read a story about a family that lived in the United States during the Great Depression. This family was not wealthy by any means, but they owned and raised chickens. Chickens were in great demand during the Depression, both for meat and for eggs. This family provided eggs and chickens to other people, and if these people didn’t have any money, this family traded the eggs and chickens for other items, such as food, or equipment. As I recall they even received an automobile in trade one time. Well, when the Depression ended this family was wealthy.

Now the purpose of this article isn’t to dwell on getting rich, but to show that you will be able to trade items you have for items other people have. And hopefully, it will benefit both parties. The more items you have that are in great demand, the better equipped you’ll be to trade for things that you need. I decided to make a list of some inexpensive food items that will in all probability be in high demand if the time ever comes that we need to use our long-term food storage.

Okay, let’s take a look at the EXAMPLES of Inexpensive High Demand Items that I came up with:

Vegetable Oil

Why would anyone be willing, let alone WANT to trade three bushels of apples or three-hundred pounds of potatoes for one quart of oil? Well, I can think of several reasons:

1) Vegetable oil makes things taste better.

Think of fried chicken. Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say one more thing, Elder Busche said that vegetable oil can give a tasty flavor to things that one wouldn’t normally even consider as food—such as “wildflowers, wild plants, and roots from shrubs and trees”. I guess if you’re starving, those things could keep you alive. And vegetable oil would definitely make them more palatable.

2) Vegetable oil makes it easier to cook food.

If you’ve ever tried frying food in a pan without oil I don’t have to explain this one. Yes, I know it is possible to not burn the food if you use a little water and keep stirring the food constantly, but it’s definitely a skill and in my experience it always burns a little, or the food sticks to the pan, making it harder to clean. Also, try popping popcorn without oil (electric air poppers don’t count).

3) Vegetable oil has a high-calorie content.

As most people are aware, food consists of three primary macro-nutrients: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Vegetable oil is made by extracting all of the fat from the plant, so it is 100% fat. Both protein and carbohydrate are 4 calories per gram each, whereas fat is 9 calories per gram – That’s more than twice as many calories! Most vegetable oils contain about 120 calories per tablespoon, or 1900 calories per cup. That’s a lot of potential energy from a small amount of oil.

4) Vegetable oil is inexpensive.

Vegetable oil (generally made from a combination of corn, soybeans, and/or sunflower seeds) is very inexpensive. Olive oil, however, can be about five times more expensive than vegetable oil, and sesame oil is about twice as expensive as olive oil. So it depends on what you want and your needs.

5) Vegetable oil can have a fairly long shelf-life (without refrigeration).

Coconut oil is very stable and has a shelf-life of two or more years at room temperature because it doesn’t break down from light or heat, unlike most other cooking oils.

Elder Busche said that when their vegetable oil was well-packed and stored appropriately, it had a long storage life without refrigeration. He said “[he] found [theirs] to be in very good condition after twenty years of storage, but circumstances may vary.”

Berkeley Wellness, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health gave the following information about the shelf-life of vegetable oil (not coconut oil):

There are natural antioxidants in vegetable oils, “but all oils will eventually turn rancid”. You can tell if it’s bad because it will have “an off smell and taste… While some oils last one or more years under normal conditions, natural or unrefined oils only last about four to six months. Refrigerated oils last longer. To keep oil fresh longer, store it away from heat, light (keep it in a dark place or in an opaque container), and air (transfer oil to smaller containers as you use it), and seal it tightly. Flaxseedwalnut, and sesame oils have a short shelf life, so you’ll probably want to refrigerate them.” (1)


There are many different kinds of grain, including Wheat, Rye, Barley, Rice, Millet, Maize, Amaranth, Oats, Teff, and grain-like seeds such as Kaniwa, Buckwheat, and Quinoa. Grain is easy to store, very nutritious and will last almost indefinitely when stored correctly.

Brigham Young once said, “The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 250)  He was pointing out that you can’t eat gold, nor can you drink it, or wear it. He said, “Gold is good for nothing, only as men value it.”

How valuable is grain? Grain can keep you and others alive when there is little or nothing else to eat. How can you place a value on that? I believe people will trade almost anything for something to eat. Grain will be priceless.

Grains and seeds can also be planted to grow more grains and seeds. Just make sure it hasn’t been irradiated, or killed with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup®). Also, if a desiccant like Diquat (e.g. Reglone®) is applied in the field too early, these products can affect germination. You want grain that is alive, healthy and mature so it can germinate.

Think about Joseph in Egypt for a moment (story from the Bible). During the seven years of plenty, Joseph had them stock-pile grain in the granaries. Then during the seven years of famine, he opened the granaries and saved Egypt and other nations from starvation. What became of Pharaoh during and after the famine? He was wealthy because the people had readily given of their money, livestock, land, everything in trade for something to eat. Again, I’m not trying to focus on wealth, but this shows that people will be willing to trade for In Demand items, particularly edible items.


F. Enzio Busche said that during their days of starvation in postwar Germany, “honey could be traded for three times as much as sugar.” Why was honey three times more valuable than plain sugar? In my opinion, honey just plain tastes better, which is why I’m guessing people preferred honey to sugar. But there are several other positive facts about honey which makes it the better choice. Let’s go over some of these facts:

  • Honey is higher in calories (which is important during times of stress and scarcity). There are 22 calories in one teaspoon of honey versus 16 calories in one teaspoon of table sugar.
  • Honey contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals.
  • Honey contains many antioxidants.
  • Antioxidants in honey have been linked to beneficial effects on heart health, including increased blood flow to the heart and a reduced risk of blood clot formation.
  • Honey lowers triglycerides and inflammation. (23)
  • Eating honey may lead to a reduction in blood pressure.
  • When applied to the skin, honey can be helpful on burns and wounds. Many other skin conditions can be helped as well. (456, 7, 891011)
  • For children *over one year of age, honey can act as a natural and safe cough suppressant. Some studies showed that honey is even more effective than some cough medications. (121314)

*Honey should never be given to children under 1 year of age, due to the risk for botulism. Botulism spores can be found in honey and when swallowed, the spores release a toxin. Infants’ systems are too immature to prevent this toxin from developing. The most dangerous effect is paralysis of the diaphragm. If this happens the infants can’t breathe on their own without a respirator.

honey differences**It’s important to buy high-quality honey, because lower-quality honey may have syrup added. In fact, if research commissioned by Food Safety News is correct, the majority of honey sold in US grocery stores is either fake honey, or processed to the point that it could not be labeled as honey in most parts of the world.

Candy Bars (and Other “Comfort” Foods)

An interesting study I found while researching honey was one published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The study suggests that the reason people tend to eat sweets in times of stress is because “sugar consumption may activate a glucocorticoid-metabolic-brain-negative feedback pathway, which may turn off the stress response.” In other words, sugar reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

The study consisted of using a protocol that induced moderate psychological stress on the participants, while also giving them sugar- or aspartame-sweetened beverages three times per day for 2 weeks.

At the end of 14 days, the group who had sugar-sweetened beverages showed higher activity in the left hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory and which is particularly sensitive to chronic stress) and they had significantly reduced levels of cortisol (the hormone released in response to stress) compared to those who had artificially-sweetened beverages.

The reason I bring this up is because if society collapses enough to render us having to use our stored resources, it will be a very stressful time indeed. Sugar may be just what we need to help reduce the stress. Children, in particular, will feel the effects of stress and might benefit from candy bars and other comfort foods. Other people will crave sugar as well, and candy bars (perhaps the little bite-size ones) would be a very desirable item. Candy bars will store for a long time too.

I should point out that I also learned that almost all carbohydrates, (even sugar) after being digested, trigger the production of serotonin in the body. (15, 16, 17, 18) —The only carbohydrate that doesn’t produce this effect is fructose. (1920, 21, 22)  Serotonin, the “feel good” chemical, contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. No food, no matter how good it tastes, will fix the problem that’s causing us stress, but it can help calm us down so that we can better cope to handle the situation.

Any way you look at it, candy bars and other sweet foods and snacks are valuable food storage items.

Powdered Milk

USDA nonfat dry milk fact sheet

According to the USDA Fact Sheet nonfat dry milk is a good source of protein and calcium and also contains added vitamins A and D. Powdered milk is great to have in your food storage because it can be used in recipes calling for milk.

I imagine powdered milk will be a popular “In Demand” Item. The big question is “How long is its shelf life?

Powdered milk stores best in a cool dry dark place away from light and free of oxygen. Some manufacturers recommend using powdered milk within 18 months. Yet the USDA says unopened containers of powdered milk can last from 2 to 10 years after their “best if used by” date. And some stores sell powdered milk with a 25-year shelf life.

Whoa, what’s going on here? With such a variation, how can we know what the shelf-life really is? Well first, we can use some common sense for part of the answer. Nonfat dry milk will last longer than powdered whole milk, because fat will oxidize, reducing the shelf-life of the whole milk. Second, keeping the powdered milk free of moisture in airtight containers will increase its shelf-life by protecting it from mold and bacteria – vacuum sealing it is a good idea. And third, cooler temperatures will increase the shelf-life.

Utah State University did a study and found that the flavor of powdered milk was preserved best at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). At 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) the powdered milk had an off-flavor after only six months and after two years it tasted bad. When powdered milk was stored at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) it tasted bad after four years.

Okay, what about nutrition? The study found that although the vitamin content diminished over time, the protein, carbohydrate and mineral content remained constant for years. How can you tell if the powdered milk has gone bad? – It will develop a yellowish tint and have a bad odor.

For long-term storage, you might want to consider freezing it, as this can keep your powdered milk fresh indefinitely. As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to vacuum seal it first.

How expensive is it? You can get 80 cups of reconstituted milk from one 64 oz. container of Great Value brand powdered milk. The 64-ounce container costs less than $16.00 US at Walmart. 80 cups equate to 5 US gallons, or about $3.20 US per gallon.

So depending on where you live, it could be a little bit more than regular milk at the store; but keep in mind, unless you have a milk cow, or a goat, or sheep, you won’t have milk. So powdered milk will be very valuable.

Ramen Noodles

I have long considered Ramen Noodles junk food. I’m not saying it doesn’t taste good, I know it tastes good, but it’s not healthy. That’s why I consider it junk food and I stay as far away from it as I can! But I’m not here to talk about the dangers of MSG (to be fair, Top Ramen® recently removed added MSG from their instant ramen), or the BPA in the packaging, or the fact that factory produced ramen noodles are flash fried, or that metabolic syndrome skyrockets in those who consume ramen noodles as little as two times per week. (23)  No, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the most valuable In Demand items you can include in your food storage. And I believe Ramen Noodles are just such an item.

Ramen noodles are cheap, they’re easy to store, they will keep you alive if you have nothing else to eat, and EVERYONE will want some when the need arrives! Ramen noodles are a comfort food. And did I mention they are cheap? You could buy a year supply of them for CHEAP! I believe that if you have a large stash of ramen noodles you could trade for pretty much anything else you needed. And they’re cheap!! I believe nobody has a valid excuse for not being able to afford at least a year supply of food. Buy ramen noodles! Yes, I know they’re not healthy. But we’re talking about keeping alive here. And like I said, you can trade what you have for things other people have. And if you think nobody is going to want to trade for ramen noodles, you’re crazy!

Did you know that ramen has replaced cigarettes as the black-market currency of choice in US prisons? (24, 25, 26)  This is according to Michael Gibson-Light, a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, who spent over a year interviewing 60 inmates and prison staff at a state prison. Gibson-Light said that “Because it is cheap, tasty and rich in calories, ramen has become so valuable that it is used to exchange for other goods.” The inmates call ramen “soups” and use them to barter for other items, like fresh fruits or vegetables (which aren’t sold in the commissary but are sometimes smuggled from the kitchens), clothing and hygiene products. They even hire services from other inmates, such as cleaning out their bunk, or doing their laundry. One inmate put it plainly: “Soup is money in here.”

Ramen became popular when budget cuts caused prisons to reduce the quality and quantity of food given to the prisoners. Gibson-Light said that prisoners used to receive three hot meals a day, but due to budget cuts, the second meal was changed to a cold sandwich and a small bag of chips. Lunches were eliminated on the weekend, and portion sizes for every meal were reduced. “It’s ’cause people are hungry. You can tell how good a man’s doing by how many soups he’s got in his locker. ‘Twenty soups? Oh, that guy’s doing good!'” one inmate told Gibson-Light, who explained, “A lot of [the inmates], they spend their days working and exercising and they don’t have enough energy to do these things.” Ramen gives them the calories they need to do what they want.

To conclude, I believe that what is going on in prisons is a microcosm of what will happen in society after a collapsed economy. Goods and services will replace, or become, the money in society. Ramen noodles could arguably be one of the most important items you could stock-pile.


salt in a handMost people probably think of salt as that white granular substance that makes things taste better. It is that, but salt is much more. Salt contains essential elements for humans, animals, and plants. What do we do for livestock in pastures? We put salt licks out for them. Why do we do that? To give them minerals. But salt is bad for you, right? I mean, many doctors restrict their patients’ salt intake? I’ve often thought it ironic that one of the first things they do when you check in at a hospital is give you an IV of saline (salt) solution. I like what Joel Wallach BS, DVM, ND said about salt licks, he said: “There’s nobody out in the pasture telling the cow she’s limited to one lick a day.”

As I recall, there are 90 known essential elements that the human body needs for optimal health. They are: 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids, and 2 fatty acids. These elements are considered essential because our bodies cannot make them, we need to get them from our diet. (There is another element that has been discovered that has been labeled as essential also, called Pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ for short. Google it, it’s pretty interesting.)

Notice that minerals make up two-thirds of the essential nutrients in our bodies! Now, remember, our bodies cannot make them, we have to get them from our diet. If they’re not in our food then we need to supplement.

Salt is a source of minerals, however, salt is mostly sodium chloride. That’s 58 minerals short. Some brands, however, do contain trace amounts of dozens of other minerals because they are not refined like table salt is. A few of these brands include Celtic Sea Salt®, Pink Himalayan Salt, and Real Salt®. Regular table salt has been refined and has had anti-caking agents added to it, but you can also get table salt with added iodine.

I would like to submit that even though salt is mostly sodium chloride, it is still very beneficial to us. Our bodies need sodium and chloride. Dr. Wallach said, “You cannot have nerve impulses without sodium chloride. They’re an integral part of the biochemical system of nerve transmission. You cannot move water around in your body and retain it in the right compartments, inside your blood vessels, inside your tissues, inside the cells . . . without sodium chloride. The cells of our stomach cannot make stomach acid without salt. Sodium Chloride is the raw material to make hydrochloric acid.”

The bottom line is that we need salt. Salt is necessary for our health and it does make food taste better. Salt can also be used to preserve meat. I believe salt is important to add to your food storage, both to use and to trade if needed. The demand for salt should be high, and it is very inexpensive.

*Note* There are people who retain water and swell up when they ingest salt. According to Dr. Joel Wallach this can be caused by too little blood protein and can be corrected by eating eggs (which are a good source of albumin). This seems to be corroborated by Harvard Medical School, which said, “Low protein levels in the blood caused by malnutrition, kidney and liver disease can cause edema. The proteins help to hold salt and water inside the blood vessels so fluid does not leak out into the tissues. If a blood protein, called albumin, gets too low, fluid is retained and edema occurs, especially in the feet, ankles and lower legs.” (Published: December 2012 and again in December 2018)

Incidentally, egg white consists primarily of about 90% water into which is dissolved about 10% proteins (including albumins, mucoproteins and globulins). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_white.


You cannot live without water. They say we can live for three weeks without food, but we can only live for about three days without water. Most experts suggest that you should store one gallon of water per person per day for a two week period of time (14 gallons) for drinking and sanitation. But that is a bare minimum. You should increase that amount for people who are sick, or pregnant, for children, or older people. Also, increase the amount of water during extreme conditions. Becky Goodrich has done a lot of research on water storage. She is knowledgeable about how to store it and which containers should be used, etc. I highly recommend that you follow these links to learn more.

I would like to point out that you will need water to cook the food in your food storage, especially if you are storing freeze-dried, or dehydrated food. If you cannot store additional water, make sure to stock up on water filters. The last thing you want to do is drink unsanitary water, as getting sick will complicate things tremendously. It is interesting to note that many of the pioneers that died in the 1800s died of dysentery, caused by unsanitary water and conditions. Add to that starvation and they just didn’t have enough strength to survive. My own 3rd Great Grandfather died from what was described as ague and starvation in the bitterly cold winter of 1856 in Wyoming as a member of the Willie Handcart Company.


In conclusion, my list of Inexpensive High Demand food storage items is not meant to be all-inclusive. The purpose of this article is to offer ideas to help others think of items that will be in demand if the economy collapses. I hope you will realize, as I did, that you don’t need to acquire everything yourself, nor does it need to cost a lot of money. Let me close this article with a quote from Elder F. Enzio Busche:

“These four basic items—oil, wheat, honey, and milk (or their equivalents in other cultures)—together with water, salt, and renewable basic foods such as potatoes and other vegetables, can satisfy nutritional requirements in times of emergency and also are valuable and usable in normal daily life.

“When we think in terms of our own year’s supply of those foods and materials we use on a regular basis, we may feel that every family will have to store everything. This, of course, is not easy and seems to make storage difficult. However, let me offer this comforting idea based on past experience. We need to take into consideration that in difficult times, so long as there survives more than one family, there will be trading of valuable itemsand items in greatest demand will set the price, bypassing the use of money.”

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