Entree quality

Discussions about US MREs and other US rations
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Biobrew
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Entree quality

Post by Biobrew » Mon May 01, 2017 3:06 pm

I'd like some other opinions on this -

Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but it seems to me that the foreign entrees that I've had so far (Canadian, Polish, Lithuanian, and French) have been far superior to the American entrees. I haven't had a bad American entrée, but they don't seem to have the same quality of flavor texture, etc, as the foreign entrees. Is it just me? Perhaps the foreign rations are geared more towards flavor while the American entrees are focused on calories/shelf life.

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housil
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Re: Entree quality

Post by housil » Mon May 01, 2017 3:11 pm

I think, it´s you like what you don´t get this often and easy. I agree, US entrees have on purpose a lack of salt. They are either bland or hot/spicy.

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FREMONT
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Re: Entree quality

Post by FREMONT » Mon May 01, 2017 6:51 pm

Biobrew wrote:I'd like some other opinions on this -

Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but it seems to me that the foreign entrees that I've had so far (Canadian, Polish, Lithuanian, and French) have been far superior to the American entrees. I haven't had a bad American entrée, but they don't seem to have the same quality of flavor texture, etc, as the foreign entrees. Is it just me? Perhaps the foreign rations are geared more towards flavor while the American entrees are focused on calories/shelf life.
American entrees are basically made to taste a bit bland to appease to most peoples' palettes and to last a long time when stored. Compare the ingredients from a US ration and compare to that of on the other countries listed above, the US entree will have many more preservatives and artificial ingredients. This also comes into play on mass production, the US mass produces MREs on a wide scale compared many other countries, due to the vast size of it's military. Many rations are needed to feed large amounts of personnel, so it's easier and cheaper to mass produce these types of meals for rations.

There's probably more to it, but I that's all I can think of right now.
Good luck and may your rations stay unspoiled!

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wats6831
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Re: Entree quality

Post by wats6831 » Mon May 01, 2017 8:31 pm

From what I've seen the French, German and Dutch have by far the best entrees, probably the French overall is the best. It comes down to different food laws in the EU countries. They can't use nearly the preservatives, coloring and carcinogenic ingredients that the USA uses. They simply aren't allowed to, and their troops probably expect a different standard for their food as well.

Rule #1 is if the war fighter won't eat it, it's a failure.

So the reason they look, taste and feel better is because they don't have the chemicals that ours have, they are also fresher by necessity, because without all those preservatives, they have a short shelf life when compared to US MREs.

There are some other factors at play (I don't believe mass production is one of them), such as France has some very streamlined and forward thinking government programs that support cottage industries and smaller food producers. I think this is ONE of the ways in which they can get higher quality food at a per unit price that's comparable to huge food companies.

Another factor is just component selection....they seem to just have more options available.

Example being: Freaking Bridgeford sandwiches and jerky is the best we can do for a FSR? I know other rations use those but seriously why the hell do we feed our troops Walmart gas station food?

Then they go to a joint exercise and watch the French eat Ostrich, pate, wild boar, salmon, pork cheek, etc.

So in closing I think there are multiple factors at play with the two primaries being a) what is allowed to be put in the food) and b) what they will actually EAT.

I think an overlooked factor is that the US simply doesn't try to source better components, or they cannot source better components due to restrictions related to contracts, having to buy American, etc.

hell even NASA has better food for the astronauts, and it isn't Bridgeford sandwiches.

I see many other countries importing good quality US components for their rations, but the US doesn't do the same. They buy USA only and lowest bidder most likely.

I'm sure Bob knows WAY more about this than me that's just what it looks like to me. Personally, I'm ashamed that we feed our troops utter garbage. I know our military does things that most others don't so having a ration like Italy does just isn't feasible, but when you look at Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, it's obvious we could get MUCH better food into our troops MREs instead of gas station jerky beef sticks and Walmart sandwiches at likely the same weight and size.

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Re: Entree quality

Post by sourwes » Mon May 01, 2017 11:39 pm

I totally agree with what wats6831 says; Our troops are deployed in service to our country and instead of giving them a taste of home, which field rations should do, our government feeds them the cheapest crap they can get. Considering the government pays almost $100 for a case of MREs, the quality should be much better. It's pretty despicable that you can't give a soldier who's risking his life for his country a decent meal in a ration. I have been lucky enough to sample rations from most countries, and I rate ours at or near the bottom in terms of quality and value. They can't even put real sugar in the drinks, which makes no sense to me. Your body can at least use it for energy. You want every calorie you can squeeze into a ration in the field. Don't even get me started on the First Strike Ration, which is an embarrassment. Like they filled em at the 7 eleven. I still eat MREs as I acquired a taste for em during my time in the service, but would choose almost ANY other ration given the choice.
it is what it is....

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currahee
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Re: Entree quality

Post by currahee » Tue May 02, 2017 2:35 am

From my point of view... I have not tried all US and not all world rations, but I had about 15 different US MRE menus (2015-2016) and I often asked myself a question why are those US entrees so similar in taste and texture? 4-5 were pretty decent, but the rest tasted near the same to me. I dont know if it is just me or what, maybe I had many vegetarians menus :D ... As Housil pointed out, they were either spicy or bland. And the ingredient list is just crazy to me.

On the other hand, I like the cakes in MRES despite the crazy ingredients :)

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Re: Entree quality

Post by OtisRNeedleman » Tue May 02, 2017 5:47 pm

There are a number of things to consider, some of which have been already mentioned. Yes, the USA sends people all over, into all sorts of climates, and the packaged operational rations (POR) (MRE/MCW/LRRP/FSR/MORE) reflect that. And many of the foods are fairly bland so the largest number of people possible will eat them. Tabasco sauce is often provided, as well as salt and pepper.

Some decry the convenience-store nature of the snacks used in the FSR and probably also the MORE. But that's what the troops eat. Heck, when going on field exercises troops will buy such snacks to enhance their PORs/unitized group rations.

Having done some study of US rations, one major thing today's POR suppliers have been able to do is maintain a variety of menus per case of PORs. It was not uncommon during World War II, especially early in the conflict, to see case after case of C-rations with just beef stew and corned beef hash due to problems in procuring other meats. After a while the troops simply wouldn't eat any more beef stew or corned beef hash.

Let us not forget that the Surgeon General has approved MREs to be the only subsistence for up to 21 days, enhanced with bread, salad, and fruit whenever possible, plus the mandatory supplement of milk. Nobody expects or wants troops to eat any POR any longer than necessary.

I invite you to read the latest version of ATP 4-41, Army Field Feeding and Class I Operations, December 2015. Very informative.

http://www.apd.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/D ... tp4_41.pdf

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wats6831
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Re: Entree quality

Post by wats6831 » Tue May 02, 2017 8:39 pm

I think there is still plenty of room for improvement on the USA rations to say the least. Every other NATO nation has 20+ menus, with MUCH higher quality components, less chemicals, preservatives, etc.

The troops eat what they're given, and to a certain extent that's a function of what's available in the USA. It's not like we're considered haute cuisine! :D

To think we spend that much more on defense than the other NATO nations, but our rations are terrible. As much as we've advanced in our food technology (retort pouches, flameless ration heaters, etc), I think there is DEFINITELY a way to secure some quality components.

Especially when you see many of these foreign rations using high quality USA components.

yeah the IDEA is that we supplement rations with fresh fruit etc. Being in logistics in the government (non-military), I can tell you that on the ground that happens pretty much never, and not on a regular basis.

The point is moot anyway, comparing ration to ration, we can simply due much better no matter how long our rations are meant to be eaten or how they are meant to be supplemented.

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Re: Entree quality

Post by Drew78 » Thu May 04, 2017 8:09 am

I think the biggest point is being missed. And that is these huge contracts are done , just as any other politics, with kickbacks and payoffs...No wonder the same few companies have had the military contracts for years and years.. Sad to say...but that's our good ole USA!

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