Is It Illegal To Stockpile Food?

Is It Illegal To Stockpile Food?

When a crisis hits, we, understandably, tend to panic. Our first instinct is to rush to the stores and to buy everything we can. We opt to be prepared, and make sure our families do not get sick or starve.

Is it illegal to stockpile food? The short answer is that no, it is technically not illegal. No law states that individuals are prohibited from stockpiling resources such as food. Stockpiling food is not the same as hoarding food.

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In this article, I will explain the definition of stockpiling. I will also discuss about the differences between stockpiling and hoarding and why people stockpile food. Aside from these, the article will talk about responsible stockpiling as well.

What Is Stockpiling?

Stockpiling is defined as storing a large number of specific items with the intention of using them in the future. It is also the gradual accumulation of resources like food and water.

It is not illegal, but when there’s a crisis, there may be special regulations imposed by stores or the government.

Stockpiling vs. Hoarding

Hoarding is slightly different from stockpiling. Often, the former entails stocking up on items in bulk all at once. For example, if somebody goes to the grocery store and buys all of the canned meats, this would be hoarding.

When you are stockpiling, you do it gradually. It could take a couple of shopping trips before you get enough food to last you a few months.

Why Do People Stockpile Food?

The main reasons people stock up on food are fear and panic. When we hear troubling news, we get scared and worry about the future. Our survival instincts kick in. So, people do everything in their power to ensure their safety and protection.

They secure the perimeters of their home, withdraw money from their bank accounts, and stock up on everything.

Right now, people are panic buying all over the world. They are emptying grocery stores and supermarkets, leaving nothing for others. It resulted in mass shortages of not only food but also toilet paper and other products.

Another reason people stockpile food is to take advantage of the crisis. They buy items in bulk only to sell them to others at much higher prices.

The difference is these people are not worried about their survival and are just hoping to make a profit. This kind of hoarding is unethical, and authorities are cracking down on these individuals.

How To Stockpile Responsibly

Stockpiling, in itself, is not necessarily wrong or unethical. However, there are some things we can do to stockpile responsibly and think of other people at the same time.

First, you should make multiple grocery trips and only buy a few items at a time. Do not empty the shelves and take fewer items if the store is almost out of stock.

Another thing you can do is help others get the groceries they need by giving some of your stock away. We can secure our future while still offering a helping hand.


To conclude, it is not illegal to stockpile food. However, it is not entirely ethical either. If you know there is a food shortage, try to reduce that problem instead of becoming a part of it.