Thousands of unused military ration packs are being donated to FareShare which distributes food to over 11,000 charities across the UK, including community groups, homeless hostels and lunch groups for older people.
Despite meticulous long-range planning the Ministry of Defence has been left with a large surplus of 24-hour ration packs due to significant reduction in training and exercises as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
DE&S the procurement arm of the MOD, has taken the decision to donate 57,000 24-hour ration packs they had held in storage.
Each one contains three meals and snacks amounting to 4,000 calories per day. The total number of packs equate 171,000 individual meals plus a range of snacks.
DE&S Director Logistic Delivery Roger West said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has affected so much this year for everyone and for our Armed Forces this has included a reduction in training where these ration packs would have been eaten.
“I’m delighted that we are able to find a way, through our relationship with FareShare, to see these meals being consumed by those that need them the most before their best before date.”
The 24-hour ration packs include a nutritionally-balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner. They feature all-day breakfasts, spaghetti meatballs, beef goulash, Lamb Rogan Josh, Indonesian style pork, Moroccan bean stew as well as sweet treats like sticky toffee pudding and chocolate pudding. There is also a range of snacks including Mexican sweet chilli peanuts, caramel cereal bars and fruit flapjacks – all aimed at fuelling troops during energy-sapping activities.
It is the second time ration packs have been donated by MOD. In January DE&S, for the first time, donated unused ration packs to FareShare sending 210 10-troop Operational Ration Packs amounting to 14,000 meals.
FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell said:
“We’re delighted to continue to be partnered with MOD to help them get their surplus food to good causes.
“Because these packs don’t need refrigeration, they are ideal for winter night shelters where volunteers need to make food quickly, or to offer to families in temporary accommodation who might only have access to a kettle or a hob.”
DE&S started delivering the 24-hour ration packs to the FareShare in early December, where they were sorted and are being delivered to charities in need of food donations over the festive period and beyond.
Operational Ration Packs offer a high-quality flexible range of food to meet the needs of servicemen and women.
Usually, around two million ration packs are used by the UK military every year, with less than one per cent of the MOD’s stock requiring redistribution.
The scheme with FareShare means that there is an opportunity to support those in need and ensure that any good food does not go to waste. The donation is also part of the MOD’s ongoing commitment to reduce unnecessary waste in an environmentally sustainable way.