One of the main resources in Frostpunk is food. Getting, processing, and storing sufficient amounts to feed all those hungry people can be problematic at best, especially if you encounter the bug I mention later in this article. You will never, ever have any food reserves if this bug is active. Sometimes you will have plenty of food to go around but people will still be hungry for no apparent reason, even without the bug.
Gather raw food with Hunter’s Huts in the early game. One Cookhouse is enough to handle your city’s needs in the early game, and by building a Cookhouse your food will last twice as long, plus people won’t get sick from eating raw food.
The game starts with a reserve of 100 raw food and building a Cookhouse will make it last twice as long since a Cookhouse converts 1 raw food into 2 food rations. This gives you a starting balance of 200 Food Rations if you build one soon enough. With one citizen consuming one food ration a day your food reserves will soon run out unless you start gathering food within the first couple of days.
The fastest and easiest way to gather raw food at the start of the game is with Hunter’s Huts since they are available immediately without any research needed. Until upgraded a Hunter’s Hut takes 15 Workers to be fully staffed and it produces 15 raw food a day from a 12-hour hunt, and the hunts are only done at night. What this boils down to is collecting 15 raw food per day from each Hunter’s Hut.
The earliest upgrade for food gathering is Hunters’ Gear. This research is available immediately and when completed a fully staffed Hunter’s Hut provides 20 raw food from a hunt instead of 15.
The Hunter’s branch of the food tree has three more upgrades. Flying Tactics and Flying Hunters are tier 2 research items that are available for research after Drafting Machines have been unlocked. Hunting Tactics reduces the number of workers needed at Hunter’s Huts from 15 to 10 and Flying Hunters allows Hunters’ Hangers to be built. Hunting from the air makes Hunters much more efficient, they will bring in 30 raw food per day when the building is constructed and fully staffed.
The final upgrade in the Hunters’ branch is Flying Hunter’s Gear. This is a tier 4 research item that once completed will provide Hunters with better items, such as detection equipment, allowing them to bring in 45 raw food a day, which is enough to feed 9 people a day at a Cookhouse.
By doing some quick math you find that one Worker (Hunter) can bring in 4.5 raw food a day with the Hunter’s branch fully researched.
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With a Cookhouse working at 100% efficiency, it produces 40 standard meals per hour for a 10-hour shift which equals 400 food rations, for a 14-hour shift that is 560 food rations. With a basic Hunter’s Hut sending 15 raw food per day to a Cookhouse one Cookhouse can easily handle any raw food sent to it for processing in the early game. It would take 26 basic Hunter’s Huts to exceed its capacity for creating food rations in a day if left on a 10-hour shift.
I can’t find any limit to the number of people the Cookhouse can feed per day (that doesn’t mean there isn’t one) but it is a good strategy to place at least 2 or 3 more Cookhouses spread out across the city, making it easier and faster for citizens to get to a Cookhouse to eat, resulting in fewer hungry people.
Since eating is not a high priority item for your citizens, they will go hungry if there’s work to do, like constructing sidewalks. Having a Cookhouse nearby will result in less people going hungry due to their limited time to get to a Cookhouse to eat.
Hothouses are the other building for providing food for your city. No hunting required but they do require heating. A Hothouse is only available for research after Drawing Boards are unlocked. They only require 10 workers and produce 30 raw food per day. They have 4 upgrades available, one at each tier of research. They require one steam core so they can be difficult to build if there is a steam core shortage.
Hothouse Insulation does not increase food production, but it does enable a Hothouse to function a little longer in cold weather by increasing the heat level by 1. Hothouse Insulation II increases the heat level in the building by 1 more level. Less heat also means better coal conservation.
Industrial Hothouses need two steam cores to be built but you get credit for one if you upgrade a Hothouse already in place. They produce 60 raw food per day.
Hothouse Selection improves raw food production by increasing Hothouse efficiency by 15%.
By doing a little math a fully researched Hothouse branch allows 1 worker to produce 6.9 raw food per day, enabling a Cookhouse to feed 13 people per day, with a little excess.
Raw food is also gathered by Scout Teams. As they explore the wilderness, they will find stores of food and possible sites for setting up an Outpost, like the Fishing Village. Raw food that’s recovered by Scout Teams isn’t available until the Scouts return to the city. The Fishing Village will ship 100 raw food per day to your city once an Outpost is created there.
Frostpunk Field Kitchens
If you chose the Faith and Spiritual Growth laws Field Kitchens will be available although the name is misleading at best. These buildings do not feed people, but they do consume food. By consuming food rations, they convert it to heat, raising the heat level of buildings within their range by one. This makes them better than steam hubs, which only raise the heat level of building within their range to the heat level produced by the Generator. They are effectively heat generators run by food.
In the Adaptation Book of Laws there is one of two laws you can pass that will stretch your food reserves a little further. Signing the Soup law into effect allows Cookhouses to prepare soup instead of full meals. Hope falls slightly and discontent rises slightly. With this law in effect your Cookhouse can choose to produce standard meals, which is 4 food rations from 2 raw food, or to serve soup which allows them to make 5 food rations of soup from 2 raw food. Anyone forced to eat soup instead of a full meal will also become more discontented. Choosing to produce standard meals or soup (or sawdust meals, depending on the passed law) can be set differently for each Cookhouse.
The alternative law to Soup is Food Additives. This allows Cookhouses to add sawdust to the food to make it more filling and to make it last longer. With sawdust meals being served a Cookhouse can turn 2 raw food into 6 food rations. The drawback is that it’s not very tasty and can cause health problems. Hope falls and discontent rises when this law is passed. I usually stay away from this law since my playstyle already results in a lot of sick people, no sense in adding to that number.
Frostpunk Food Tab
To get to the food tab you first need to click on the Economy icon at the bottom of the screen, the one that looks like a sliced pie. From there you will be taken to the Economy screen that breaks down everything in your economy. The food tab is the fourth icon down the list.
The Food Tab gives an easily viewed breakdown of your food consumption and food ration gain per day. The tab also shows how much raw food you gain per day and your current storage of raw food and food rations.
It also gives a list of all your buildings, how efficient they are, how many workers they employ plus their employee capacity. You can also click on the magnifying glass to go to the selected building.
The food tab, along with the other tabs, has a graphics option that can be used to give you a picture in graph form of your food status over the days. The graph shows you your food rations gain, food rations use, and raw food gain over time. The history can be toggled between the last 10 days or the full history of your food income and processing.
Frostpunk Food Bug
For a while I thought I just didn’t understand the food mechanic. It seemed like no matter how much food I gathered and processed all of a sudden I started running out of food after some survivors arrived, although all the stats looked good. Since I had an entire game recorded on a day-by-day basis I decided to go back and see what might have went wrong. I found this post about a food bug at Reddit so I went back and checked my files. I noticed that when a band of survivors returned from the Coal Mine Outpost I had dismantled that four of them remained permanently hungry, even after they had just eaten. That was also the time I noticed my food resources rapidly dwindling so, even though this post I’m referring to is 3 years old, the bug still seems to exist in the game.
I’m truly fascinated by problems like this, so I decided to do my best to figure it out. I figured I must have created this band of survivors who always had hungry members by somehow incorrectly dismantling and recalling the Outpost teams, even though that shouldn’t be possible, after reading the Reddit post.
No matter what I did I could not make the problem go away. I shut off the workplaces for these four people and even dismantled their tents, hoping the change would trigger a change in their status, but nothing worked. They ate but still remained hungry all the time. I couldn’t find any way to banish or execute them so there appears to be no resolution to the problem once it’s there. Someone smarter than me may have figured it out but I have to admit it stumped me.
I found that, just as the post I referred to said, the way to not create survivors with an appetite that can never be cured is to dismantle the outpost first at the site, not the Outpost in the city first. When I dismantled the outpost at Tesla City and at the Coal Mine, I created a team that was “Waiting” even though the transport teams were already on their way to the city.
When I dismantled the Outpost Depots in the city the teams that were waiting simply vanished, no survivors were on their way this time. When the Transport team arrived at the city they simply vanished as well. No citizens were hungry.
I recreated the same problem by dismantling the Outpost Depots in the city without dismantling the sites first at their location and had two bands of survivors this time, so I’m convinced this is a bug of some type that is repeatable. As I said before, once this bug creeps into the game there is no way that I know of to stop it, some of the citizens stay perpetually hungry and consume food at an alarming rate, too fast for any food gathering efforts to keep up with. Remembering to dismantle the Outposts the “right” way is the only way I know of to avert the problem.
When I dismantled the Outposts the “right” way my food stopped vanishing and I actually met the food goal set by the game with plenty of time to spare.
The best way to tell if this bug has crept in is to click on the Hunger icon, the red icon with a white knife and fork. Jot down the names if there are only a few and see if the same names appear as being hungry day after day. The other telltale clue is that the food tab might show as much as a 1,000-food rations gained per day but the actual reserves are at or close to zero for both raw food and food rations. You will never have any food rations in reserve as long as this bug is in play.