8 February 2005

Variety the spice of life for Armed Forces


It’s a problem familiar to many of us, three days of eating porridge or cornflakes is one day too many, but whereas UK consumers can quickly fix this problem by a trip to the nearest supermarket, when you’re 3,000 miles from home, in a hostile landscape preparing for a military operation the prospect of eating the same meals, not just breakfast, for the next week is much more serious.

MoD has been aware of the problem for some time, but the nature of how ration packs are transported in bulk has made it a difficult issue to solve, until now. Taking inspiration from the breakfast table, logisticians at the Defence Catering Group believe they have hit upon the solution.

“We going to create the first operational ration pack ‘variety pack’” says Brigadier Jeff Little, head of MoD’s Defence Catering Group.

“Instead of sending out large boxes containing identical ration packs and relying on the hard pressed teams in theatre to sort them into different types, we are going to do this for them back in the UK.

“The new variety boxes will contain up to six different menus, which means that soldiers can expect to eat something different for every meal and swap meals among themselves if they receive anything they are not keen on.

”MoD has now begun trials of the new variety packs for exercises and a shipment has also been sent to British troops serving in Afghanistan. If the response is as positive as expected, MoD will start to package future ORPs using this new system.

Notes to Editors

1. Operational Ration Packs (ORPs) are used to initially feed the Armed Forces when they deploy on military operations or exercises, and during the combat phase. A single ORP is sufficient to feed one man for one day: each one contains a number of standard items, such as oatmeal blocks, hot pepper sauce and a chocolate drink mix, as well as one of six different main meals. Vegetarian, Sikh/Hindu and Halal ORP variants are also provided by MoD.


Issued by DLO Press Office.

 For further information, please contact Stuart Campbell or Brian Sheehan, DLO Press Office, on tel: 01225 467148 / 468819.

Last Updated: 8 Feb 05