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Science & Technology

How long could you live off a supermarket ?

February 22, 2016 | Comment icon 52 comments



How long would a supermarket's food last ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Maksym Kozlenko
In the event of an apocalypse, how long could one adult live off the contents of the average supermarket?
Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world is a scenario that has been explored in movies, books and television shows for years, but if you really were fighting to stay alive in a world where everything had gone to the dogs, how would you find enough food and water to survive ?

In a recent study, British scientist Dr Lewis Dartnell looked in to what would happen in the rather unlikely scenario that you, and you alone, ended up living inside a fully stocked supermarket.

With mountains of produce to choose from it might seem as though there would be no chance of ever running out of supplies, but with so many perishable foods being sold it is likely that a large percentage would end up going bad long before you could ever get around to eating them.
Nonetheless, according to Dr Dartnell's work, the average supermarket would contain enough non-perishable food and water to keep one adult alive for around 55 years.

The research was conducted as part of a larger study designed to see how people would cope with an apocalypse and how long the UK as a whole might take to recover.

"Clearly we shouldn't be worrying 24/7 about a potential apocalypse but it's interesting to take a snapshot of where we are now and how we'd fare - individually and as a society," he wrote.

Source: ITV.com | Comments (52)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #43 Posted by Myles 7 years ago
And just a general lol about the chicken eggs. A lot of places sell eggs that are unfertilized, pasteurized, refrigerated. But there are places in the world that sell eggs that are fertilized and never been chilled or heated. That is true, but pretty rare. I think the article was basing the grocery store off a larger "chain" type of grocery store. Not a local mom and pop grocery that buys their eggs from Fred down the lane. If a modern grocery sells eggs with partially developed embryos in them, they would face too many complaints. It is common practice to not have roosters if you are in the b... [More]
Comment icon #44 Posted by rashore 7 years ago
That is true, but pretty rare. I think the article was basing the grocery store off a larger "chain" type of grocery store. Not a local mom and pop grocery that buys their eggs from Fred down the lane. If a modern grocery sells eggs with partially developed embryos in them, they would face too many complaints. It is common practice to not have roosters if you are in the business of selling eggs. True that. But then I live in the U.S.. where commercial eggs and roadside stand eggs are different things. But sometimes one can find fertilized eggs at niche sellers like Trader Joes and Whole Foods,... [More]
Comment icon #45 Posted by LV-426 7 years ago
I think to some extent it would depend on the supermarket, and the skills of the person living off the contents of the building. I'm not sure what supermarkets are like in Britain- if they are smaller "just groceries" kinds of stores or more big box megamarts like Walmart and Meijer. For me, my local grocer is pretty much a flat out grocer. There's a nice meat department, the place butchers on site. A small hot deli counter. Several food and sundries aisles. Even an aisle of random stuff like canning jars, yarn, charcoal, seasonal items, that sort of thing. Same deal. They range from small loc... [More]
Comment icon #46 Posted by Emma_Acid 7 years ago
In the event of an apocalypse, how long could one adult live off the contents of the average supermarket? Well, the shopping mall is where all the zombies always end up, so probably not long.
Comment icon #47 Posted by rashore 7 years ago
Well, the shopping mall is where all the zombies always end up, so probably not long. Lol, if that's true, you might last for longer- if all the zombies are in the shopping mall, they are likely not bothering you at the grocery store.
Comment icon #48 Posted by Emma_Acid 7 years ago
Lol, if that's true, you might last for longer- if all the zombies are in the shopping mall, they are likely not bothering you at the grocery store. In uk shopping malls, they just bung all the shops together. If the zombies are going to get into Dixons, they'll get into Tescos as well.
Comment icon #49 Posted by rashore 7 years ago
In uk shopping malls, they just bung all the shops together. If the zombies are going to get into Dixons, they'll get into Tescos as well. Lol, that sucks. I didn't realize that grocers are normally part of malls over there. I thought from LV-426 response that they were stand alone buildings for the most part.
Comment icon #50 Posted by danielost 7 years ago
supermarkets in the usa have bottled water. the freezer and refrigeratyed items might last a week after the power goes out. canned goods can last two years.
Comment icon #51 Posted by WoIverine 7 years ago
BPA in some cans, so hit or miss really. Doubt you'd be thinking much about eating organic, or chemical-free in a zombie apocalypse though. Ironically, the zombies WOULD be eating organic.
Comment icon #52 Posted by Hawkin 7 years ago
Canned goods would last well beyond the expiration date if kept at a decent temp. I have a lot of ammo and I would shoot birds like starlings, sparrows and robins to survive. Or any critter like rabbits,squirrels, possum, raccoons. And if I have to, Dogs and cats. Probably been eaten them anyway in Chinese restaurants,


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