The folks that create the Preparedness Pantry blog have created a food calculator to help determine food needs. I tried out their food analyzer and found it to be a great tool, so thought I would write a review.
To begin, you simply type in how many family members you have, their gender and ages. This will create a number of calories your family needs to survive daily. You can change this number if you are on a restricted diet, or require more calories than the 2,000 that are allowed as a default.
Food types are broken down into sections separated by tabs. You simply type in how much you already have in storage and click the “Calculate” button to get a calorie count of your food on hand as well as an estimate of how long that food will last.
After determining how large you want your stores to be (e.g., one month, three months, one year) you can get to work on putting together combinations of food types and volumes that will help you achieve your goal. You can target certain types of food by fiber or vitamin content.
Overall the tool is very easy to use and the instructions are easy to understand. Using the food storage analyzer will definitely help any family determine their food storage needs. While there is an option to purchase food from the Emergency Essentials, you do not have to in order to use the calculator. This is a big plus in my book!
Most of the food on the calculator is either dried or freeze dried. They do have a tab for canned grocery items, which is useful. However, the choices on this tab are limited as they are not available for purchase from the company.
A drawback I see of this food calculator is that there are no volumes provided on the main page of the calculator. For instance, the first entry under Cereals, Grains and Pastas is pearled barley. You are to type in your current food storage, but nowhere is listed the units (e.g., Ounces? Pounds? Cans?) which makes it difficult to determine whether the amount you are adding is accurate. Occasionally, you can click on the more info button next to the food item and it will tell you the size of container you are ordering, but this is not always the case (as in the above example). By simply putting a volume (e.g., 16 oz. ) would increase the usefulness of this tool immensely.