Food by VICE

Here’s How Long You Could Survive If You Got Trapped in a Supermarket

A British astrobiology scientist claims to have figured out how long the average British supermarket could keep an adult fed and watered for.

by Phoebe Hurst
Feb 22 2016, 11:16am

Foto von Dennis Skley via Flickr.

As a kid, did you ever fantasise about a series of unusual events—possibly the result of negligent parenting—that culminated with you finding yourself unsupervised in a fully stocked supermarket?

Of course you did. Rows and rows of Haribo with no mum to nag about rotting teeth or security guards to see you sneak a fun size bag in your pocket. Aisles clear of basket-wielding pensioners for endless trolley races. It's any nine-year-old's (or, if we're honest, sugar-addled twenty-something's) dream come true.

But after the initial gummy sweet rush wore off and you realised that there are only so many baked bean pyramids to crash a trolley into, if you actually were confined to one supermarket, how long could you survive? A British scientist may have figured it out.

READ MORE: The Supermarket of the Future Knows Exactly What You're Eating

According to Dr. Lewis Dartnell, astrobiology scientist and author of The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World From Scratch, the average British supermarket contains enough supplies to keep an adult fed and watered for 55 years. That's over half a century of human existence fueled by two-for-one kettle chips and reduced aisle trifle.

Conducting the research ahead of a science and engineering fair next month, Dartnell said that the results could reveal how prepared Britain is for an apocalypse or major disaster.

He explained: "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."

READ MORE: This British Supermarket Is Going to Stop Selling White Bread

Dartnell's research also found that 36 percent of Brits keep a "grab bag" of essential items on hand in case of disaster, and over half of people named food and medical supplies as essential items if having to leave home following an emergency. Less than a quarter, however named other useful items like matches as a necessity. Seems like Britain could learn a thing or two from its sundried tomato-hoarding preppers.

Dartnell continued: "People's survival instincts are strong but without a greater focus on Stem (science, technology, engineering, and maths) skills, the speed at which we'd return to 'society as we know it' would be seriously impeded. Rather than duck and cover, the country needs to know how to stand and recover from any disaster."

It may also be worth carrying a tin opener. When the world ends and you find yourself inexplicably trapped in the local Tesco, those cans of tomato soup aren't going to open themselves.