They say an Army marches on its stomach but which country gives it's Armed Forces the best food? We're on a mission to find out.
We have been sent a number of ration packs from all over the world, so we set our team of military veterans the task of trying each one.
The two million 24 hour ration packs issued by the Ministry of Defence to Britain's Armed Forces every year are designed to give deployed military personnel the 4,000 calories they need daily to ensure they are at peak physical and mental fitness during long patrols or operations.
Operational ration packs provide a two-course breakfast, lunch and a three-course dinner, as well as a number of drinks, both hot and cold.
Below Royal Navy veteran Matt Heal taste tests ration packs from Italy, Spain, Kazakhstan, Latvia, South Korea, USA and Russia
British Army veteran Georgina Coupe was offered an Italian ration pack to taste test. Here's what she thought...
The first thing that strikes me about the Italian 24 hour ration pack is the weight and size. This is not a compact option, which you can slip into the top of your day sack.
Approximately the size of a shoe box and similar to the weight of an average bag of shopping, it comes in an olive green, waterproof bag and is divided into three boxes for the breakfast, lunch and supper options.
The majority of the bulk comes from tin cans, provided for afternoon and evening meals and a disposable camp-stove, matches and fire-lighting tablets are provided.
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Italian coffee is renowned worldwide so there’s no surprise that a (single-dose) cappuccino coffee sachet is included to kick start the soldier’s day. There is one ‘soluble sugared tea’ option and a further two instant coffees’ available for the rest of the period.
The breakfast option is heavy on sugar content but short on substance. There are sweet biscuits, peach jam pots and a (very small) chocolate bar. As a nine and a half stone female with a healthy appetite, this wouldn’t be enough to sustain me out in the field, much less a larger infantry soldier.
Lunch is a pretty substantial event including a full-size tin of ravioli, and smaller cans of fruit salad and tuna served with peas. There’s no need for a can opener as they come complete with the opening ring on top, although I managed to snap it off when I tried to open the tuna. A couple of packets of cracker biscuits finish off the selection and overall, contains all the recommended food groups.
My least favourite part of the ration pack is definitely the evening meal. A can of minestrone soup is served alongside beef in jelly. The beef smells horrendous, much like a can of dog food and is similar to what I would imagine the rations of ‘bully beef’ which soldiers in the First World War were issued.
An inclusion of a couple of fruit and cereal bars alongside another packet of the cracker biscuits, do make it a little bit more appetising.
Some of the additions are quite interesting but I’m not sure they are completely necessary, such as the three disposable toothbrushes (with a small tube of toothpaste).
Also included are some toothpicks, plastic cutlery, paper napkins, and rubbish bags. Multivitamin tablets, bran tablets, salt and sugar portions are the condiment offerings.
Overall the Italian ration pack was really disappointing. As an ex British soldier, I have eaten large amount of rations that have seen a lot of improvements in the last few years. In comparison, the Italian version is decades behind, both in content and in packaging and I would certainly not be seeking out the ‘Module D’.