News story

New lightweight ration packs hit the front line

New lightweight ration packs which feature easy to carry new menus that can be eaten quickly whilst on patrol have arrived on the front line in Afghanistan.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Soldiers with ration packs

Private Ryan Salmon (left) and Private Shaun Stranack, both from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, with the new 12-hour ration packs [Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Designed for troops on patrols lasting 12 hours or less, the latest nutritionally-balanced ration packs weigh less than one kilogramme and include food that can be easily carried in webbing pouches and pockets.

Delivered under a £140m contract with Hampshire-based company Purple Food Services, the latest ration packs feature new selections of food in the multi-climate variant as well as the ten-man versions used by military chefs feeding troops in more remote tactical bases.

Private Ryan Salmon, from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

The new 12-hour ration packs are a great change from the normal rations. It contains beef jerky and a sandwich which are great for a quick meal.

The chemical water heater and main meal are good when you are on short ops, you can get a quick warm scoff and not worry about messing around with a cooker.

As well as giving front line troops more variety, the three-year contract - which has options to be extended for up to four more years - is expected to deliver savings of £1.6m a year to the MOD.

Every ration pack is nutritionally tailored to suit troops’ needs in different environments and developed to ensure they are provided with the 4,000 or more calories a day they need to keep their energy levels up whilst on active service.

Menus include Hindu, Sikh, halal and vegetarian menus - all of which have been updated.

Captain Jeremy Rigby, Head of Defence Equipment and Support’s Defence Food Services, said:

This new contract - which was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget - enables us to produce innovative new rations quickly, meaning we can swiftly adapt to the latest operational requirements.

It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to respond to feedback from our troops in Afghanistan, making sure we give them food they enjoy whilst maintaining the high nutritional content - as well as making the packs as light and convenient as possible.

All of the products contained in the new ration packs have been subjected to taste selection panels consisting of soldiers, sailors and Royal Marines recently returned from operations.

Published 14 February 2011