The 12-hour Operational Ration Pack (ORP), issued to British soldiers in Afghanistan (Picture: MOD).
Thousands of unused military ration packs are to be donated to charities over the next few years.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will provide operational ration packs to FareShare, a charity who distributes food to nearly 10,000 UK charities, including community groups, homeless hostels and lunch groups for the elderly.
The ration packs are enough to sustain ten soldiers for a 24 hour period and include items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as porridge, sausages, baked beans, pasta and rice.
Each pack contains nutritionally balanced meals, providing 4,000 calories to sustain an active person over a 24-hour period.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said: "Ration packs help provide nutritionally balanced meals to our Armed Forces on operations around the world.
"But charity begins at home, and I’m pleased our partnership with FareShare will make sure no food goes to waste.
"FareShare does a fantastic job redistributing food across the country and I’m proud the military can support communities in this way."
Around two million large ration packs are used by the military every year, with less than 1% of the MOD's stock requiring disposal.
Mr Ellwood also said that the the donation of ration packs would not be a one off, but something the MOD would do every year going forward, and that the Department was looking at how to make them as environmentally friendly as possible.
"Well we've been discussing how best that we can firstly be more efficient in what we're doing, we're actually looking at the ration packs themselves on a different basis, to be more greener.
"Because of course there's an awful lot of packaging involved and we're now trying to obviously look after our planet. And that doesn't stop here at the MOD either, but in looking at those ration packs we did realise they were surplus to requirements, or the fact that we must keep them on the shelves.
"Of course if things get trickier, if our Armed Forces are deployed more, then we need to be able to lean on these. But on a daily basis then I'm pleased to say that we are able to strike this relationship."
This scheme means that when it becomes clear a batch of ration packs cannot be used, there is an opportunity to gift to those in need and ensure that any good food does not go to waste.