From the era of the Roman Empire to the present day, combat rations have always travelled with soldiers on their various missions. It has taken many centuries for military rations to be developed into what we use nowadays. At the moment we’re experiencing a complete renovation in terms of everything connected with feeding soldiers in the various scenarios to which they’re deployed.
When developing combat rations it’s vital to know where and in what kind of climate they’re going to be used; it’s not the same being deployed to the heat of a Middle East desert as it is to be sent to the chilly forests of Latvia. However, all rations must have at least some common items to ensure members of the armed forces get the correct kinds of food in their ration contents.
When choosing field rations you need to know where they’re going to be used. If you’re in places where temperatures are low, you’re going to need rations with a high calorific content and including drinks to be consumed hot, like coffee or tea. On the other hand, if you’re in the desert you’ll need food with a high calorific value that is easy to digest, to avoid gastrointestinal issues. In both cases, the rations must be as lightweight as possible. To ensure this, the perfect solution is not tins, which are fairly heavy, or dehydrated food, which weighs less but needs a large quantity of water to cook it, meaning that you would have to carry extra water for heating food. The ideal solution is self-heating ready-made meals.
Just as it’s important to make good choices in terms of the content of military rations, it’s also important to pay attention to the way in which those rations are packaged. The best form of packaging for combat rations is a kind of heavy-duty plastic bag, rather than cardboard packaging. Rations are better in plastic bags because the bags can then be reused, for example for waste, so it doesn’t get mixed up with the rest of the food. Plus, ration bags must have some kind of zip closure, so soldiers can close the bag if they don’t want to consume the entire ration.
Remember, feeding the armed forces correctly enables them to carry out their missions in any situation anywhere in the world.