Balti to replace stews in military ration packs

19 August 2004
Balti to replace stews in military ration packs
Ration pack in the field
Chicken balti with rice looks set to replace stews and casseroles in the ration packs of Britain's Armed Forces. The new generation of Operational Ration Packs, or ORPs as they are known, are being tested on more than 10,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and women across the UK and Germany. ORPs are used to feed the Armed Forces when they deploy on military operations or exercises, and when they are actually fighting. Armed Forces food specialists have spent four months designing the new menus, which are meant to be healthier as well as better reflect modern tastes. The Defence Catering Group, which is responsible for ration packs, said: "They were starting to reflect yesterday's tastes, rather than the contemporary food young men and women consume today." Brigadier Jeff Little, director of the Defence Catering Group, said: "We want ration packs to provide greater variety, flavour and taste. Food is not just fuel for the body, but a key element in keeping morale high." Also under consideration is the introduction of isotonic, high-energy drinks and snacks to provide additional energy and help troops to rehydrate in hot climates. "The aim is a 21st-century ration pack tuned to the needs of the 21st-century soldier," Little said. So far 60,000 trial rations, along with 20,000 surveys, have been sent to soldiers on exercise in the UK and Germany. A 24-hour ORP includes main meals in pouches, together with a range of snacks, soups, sweets and drinks. More than 20 types of packs are currently available, ranging from Halal to vegetarian meals. Some three million ration packs were sent to troops in Iraq. Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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