You may wonder why you must stockpile food when some grocery stores will remain open during a pandemic anyway. The simple answer: So you don't have to keep going out. Because of all the crowds coming in and out of grocery stores, going on a shopping run puts you at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. If you stockpile food that can last you a week or more, you won't have to leave your home for days at a time.
A food plan, laid out clearly on a spreadsheet can prevent you from buying, for example, 30 packs of the same food. Sure, it can last you for days or even weeks, but eventually you'll get bored of it. And if the 30 packs of food you bought don't give you all the essential nutrients you need, your health will begin to deteriorate. Don't miss out on all the health benefits different healthy foods can provide.
Food isn't the only thing you will need for the duration of your quarantine or lockdown periods. Consider other things you must buy for yourself or your household. If you have family members still going to school, they might need new books or school supplies. They might also need new toys or video games to keep them occupied. Whatever it is, make sure to buy it now. You might not be able to buy them later if the pandemic gets worse.
Online stores are beginning to experience a backlog of orders now that people are unable or unwilling to go out to the few stores that are still open. Even with this backlog, you should still consider buying at least some of your emergency foods and other supplies online. Just don't forget to disinfect your packages once they arrive. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 from your groceries is low, you should still take the time to disinfect them before bringing these parcels into your home.
If you have enough food at home, don't go grocery shopping just yet. People may still be panicking. If you head out now, you will likely find empty shelves, long lines and possibly asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus. Hold off on going to the store as long as you can.
Everybody knows that the "best way" to beat the crowds is to line up early at grocery stores. Because everybody else does this, you should think of other ways to avoid the long lines. Instead, consider going at night, right before the store closes, or befriend someone who works at the supermarket and ask them when the least crowded times are for the store.
Many shoppers will no doubt head to large warehouse-style supermarkets to get as much food and supplies as they will need. There's a chance that a lot of the smaller groceries in your area are better stocked. Try and visit those first. If you can get everything you need, then you won't have to expose yourself to the many shoppers at the larger supermarkets.
The pandemic has disrupted many supply chains around the world. While it's not very drastic yet, it has reduced the market's supply of some foods, such as eggs. If you still want to make your baked goods or pancakes, consider vegan egg replacer mixes, chia seeds or flax meal. There are a ton of vegan baking websites that can provide you with nutritious and healthy recipes that don't include eggs.
Because of the emergency, people will be rushing to get all the canned, dried and vacuum-sealed foods. However, a lot of the fresh produce could still be available. To make these healthy fruits and vegetables last longer, learn how to preserve fresh produce. There are tons of guides and videos online that can help you learn how to dehydrate, can and ferment your fruits and veggies. (Related: 4 Crucial factors that affect the shelf life of food in your survival stockpile.)
Emergency preparedness is about making sure that you aren't lacking any of your essential needs. This means food shouldn't be the only thing on your shopping list. Don't forget to buy emergency water, batteries, a non-electric heater, some flashlights, hygiene supplies and some items for your first aid kit. If you feel like you need it, invest in some more ammunition for your personal defense weapon as well.
Emergency preparedness means when you head out of your home to the store, you know what you need and you know how to get it without exposing yourself to potential infection.