Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

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kman
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Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby kman » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:40 pm

The original review is posted on the website here:

http://www.mreinfo.com/reviews/mre/hdr-review.html

Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

By: kman
Date: 19 January 2010


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The Humanitarian Daily Ration (HDR) is a ready-to-eat meal similar to the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) used by the US military. HDRs were developed as a means of feeding large populations of displaced persons or refugees under emergency conditions. A single HDR is designed to provide a full day's sustenance to a moderately malnourished individual (as opposed to MREs, where three are intended to feed a soldier for one day in the field). HDRs also differ from MREs in that they contain no animal products or by-products so as to be acceptable to a wide range of consumers with religious and dietary restrictions. Each HDR contains approximately 2200 calories.

The HDR I'm reviewing here is from early 2003. Most HDRs distributed as aid are less than a year old but in this case, the only HDR I had on hand was 7 years old. But that's ok - HDRs, like MREs, seem to hold up very well over time as long as they are stored properly and in this case, all the parts of the HDR were still fresh-tasting and as delicious as they could be.
The menu being reviewed is Menu 5 from The Wornick Company. As you can see HERE on the HDR menus page, Menu 5 could be one of three different variations. In my case, I received Menu 5C:

MENU 5C
    Lentil Stew
    Red Beans & Rice
    Biscuit (2 pack MRE crackers)
    Vegetable Crackers (2 pack)
    Fruit Bar (2 oz. Fig)
    Peanut Butter
    Strawberry Jam
    Fruit Pastry (2 pack)
    Shortbread (1 bar)
    Accessory Pack
Total Calories: 2160

Here's the HDR bag along with some pictures of the contents. You wouldn't believe how much fun it is trying to take flash pictures of shiny, silver, reflective packages!
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This is a better picture of the HDR bag along with the included "Instruction Sheet".
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The two entrees - Red Beans & Rice and Lentil Stew. These are the shots of the front and back of the boxes.
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Lentil Stew. This entree probably tastes "ok" when it's cold, but heated up (and I heated up both entrees for 15 minutes in boiling water), it's incredibly delicious! The second picture is of the Lentil Stew in the pouch it comes in.
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Red Beans & Rice. Beans and rice aren't the most palatable when they're cold. Even though the HDR entrees are fully cooked, they taste much better when they're warmed up. In this case, the warmed-up Read Beans & Rice had terrific flavor!
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Here are both entrees side by side.
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Vegetable crackers and plain MRE crackers. These are your standard MRE vegetable and plain crackers - the vegetable version has a little more flavor than the plain but are a little more crumbly. In the third picture, the veggie crackers are on the left, plain crackers on the right.
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Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam. The peanut butter and jam goes great on both crackers! I opened the packages this way to display the contents. Usually, you just tear off a corner and squeeze the contents out.
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Fig Bar. This is your basic "Fig Newton". It has a special taste that you'll always associate with an MRE Fig Bar (it's not a bad taste - just "unique"). The fig bar makes for a nice dessert.
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Fruit Pastry. I was curious as to what an MRE pastry would look like but as soon as I saw the inside packaging, I knew I was in for a treat - Pop Tarts! Yes, "fruit pastry" is slang for "toaster pastry" which is code for "Pop Tarts". In this case, they were unfrosted Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts. Very delicious and a great breakfast item.
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Shortbread. This was a lone, but very tasty, shortbread cookie.
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Accessory pack containing a spoon, napkin, wet nap, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and matches.
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Here is everything in the HDR together in a few different pictures.
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After taking all the pictures (and eating all the food), I realized it would have been even better if I had grouped the items into meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast could be the Pop Tarts. Lunch could be an entree, crackers, and jam. Then dinner could be the remaining entree, crackers and peanut butter, and then the fig bar or shortbread cookie for dessert.

Overall Review
In an emergency situation, HDRs are a fine food alternative. One HDR bag should be enough food to get you through the day. They definitely don't contain as much food as you'd get in three MREs but the menu selection is probably more acceptable to non-US consumers. You could do a lot worse than an HDR. I've tried a couple of HDR entrees in the past but those were eaten cold (at room temperature) and I didn't much like them. But I warmed up these entrees and the difference was amazing - they had incredible flavor and could hold their own against any of my favorite MRE entrees.

Jpak
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby Jpak » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:42 pm

Great review kman and outstanding photos. Do you know of any outlets in the US to get some HDRs? They seem like they're pretty hard to come by.

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kman
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby kman » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:07 pm

Sorry, Jpak, I haven't seen HDRs around in a long time. One or two might pop up on eBay occasionally but that's about it. A few years ago, I think Cheaper Than Dirt had some cases but those are long gone. They just haven't been using HDRs too much for disaster aid lately so there aren't too many "extras" that make it onto the civilian market.

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Bypah
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby Bypah » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:17 am

Nice review kman...I have several HDR's myself and beleive me I wouldn't change them for an MRE... :D
When it comes to the food I have heard 1 HDR could last you for more than 24hrs. Remember we are used to eat plenty here in the US and lucky to do so but in other parts of the world they eat "sensibly" less than us. :wink: For somebody jelly,pb and crackers is a breakfast... :D

Jpak, always check on ebay they come from time to time.Most of them will be from Katrina, vintage 2005 or earlier.... :lol:
Peace!
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"Live long and prosper..."

Jpak
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby Jpak » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:11 am

Thanks Kman...that's kinda what I figured. Worst part about it was that I actually saw the HDRs on cheaperthandirts site a long while ago and figured they'd be around for a while. Opportunity knocked...swing and a miss, on my part. No worries though...

Bypah...thanks for the heads up. I'll have to keep an eye out for 'em. And you're right, that's more food than most people in the world are used to...plus, I like the HDR combo of 2 entrees, 2 crackers, 2 spreads and dessert stuff. And Kman's review makes me want one more now than before...

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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby Jpak » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:28 am

600,000 HDRs are going to Haiti...part of an article from the Associated Press:


Basic food rations, filtered water should be in earthquake-ravaged Haiti late Saturday
Associated Press

Last update: January 16, 2010 - 3:00 PM

WASHINGTON - More food, water and relief supplies are on the way to Haiti from the U.S.

About 600,000 humanitarian daily rations — basic nutrition packages that provide 2,300 calories — were expected to be at Haiti's airport by Saturday evening, said Tim Callaghan, the White House adviser helping to oversee relief efforts in Haiti. The World Food Program plans to distribute the rations.

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saladp
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby saladp » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:42 am

fantastic review! thanks for being so full, kman.

I also think that a ration is enough to 24h, especially in cases of emergency (for what has been created). Europe must create or copy this ration

I see not flameless ration heater

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housil
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby housil » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:42 am

saladp wrote:
I see not flameless ration heater


There is no FRH with a HDR.
I guess, for the purpose they are made for you can´t "waste" water just for heating up food. Also the peoples that get HDRs, are not familiar with such a "complicate" thing like a FRH, also most unable to read. They can heat up food as they do it allways, in a pot on a fire.
The thing is, keep it easy as possible and a FRH isn´t easy to them.

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Bypah
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby Bypah » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:33 am

Olli is right.When they created the HDR the made it simple with pictures for anybody around the world could use it and eat it. that's why there is no alcohol based wipes or any pork or meat based product.... :wink:
"Live long and prosper..."

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saladp
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Re: Humanitarian Daily Ration Review

Postby saladp » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:11 am

you have explained it perfectly. thanks :D


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