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FR69 ~ Swedish 24-Hour Ration Pack

Swedish 24-Hour Ration Pack as issued to troops on COLD RESPONSE 22 in Norway [©BM]

When covering Ex COLD RESPONSE 2022 in Norway earlier this year Carl Schulze proffed / blagged a Swedish 24-Hour Ration Pack for us, writes Bob Morrison.


Like Carl, I have previously photographed Swedish troops on multinational exercises in Norway and Poland, but until this year Swedish ration packs eluded us both… though possibly the wait was worth it, as these days the freeze-dried main meal pouches are produced by Blå Band of Finland.

Swedish troops on COLD RESPONSE 2022 in Norway were issued with this type of 24-Hour Ration Pack ~ in this shot the soldier in the rear top cover hatch actually appears to be topping up from a Blå Band pouch
[© Carl Schulze]

The 24-hour ration Carl sent back from Sweden was supplied by 24 HOUR MEAL of Varberg, on Sweden’s west coast, and was marked as Menu 5 on the label on the front of the resealable clear outer pack which doubled as a refuse sack. Production date was 2021-02-09 and best before date was 2023-01-28, with label languages being French and English as well as Swedish. Pack weight was just 1197g but, assuming all items were consumed, 4936kcal of energy was produced. A fair amount of fresh water was needed to reconstitute but, unlike with ‘wet ration’ retort pouches, the soldier does not need to carry this extra weight with them throughout the day as in the Northern regions where ‘dry rations’ are mostly issued there is usually an abundance of H²O.

Loose contents ~ total energy equates to almost 5,000kcal if everything edible is consumed [©BM]
The three primary freeze-dried main meal pouches were from Blå Band of Finland [©BM]

The primary contents of Menu 5, all freeze-dried, were: Rice Pudding with Strawberries (650kcal) for breakfast; Oriental Chicken with Couscous (621kcal) for Main Meal 1; and Pasta with Tomato & Garlic (631kcal) plus 24 HOUR MEALS brand Mashed Potatoes with Vegetables (613kcal) for Main Meal 2. These four pouches alone would provide enough calories (2,515kcal) to keep the average soldier in a non-combat role working in a temperate theatre adequately fed for a day, but in the High North a combat soldier requires around double this. Additionally, unlike in other theatres, the midday meal (aka lunch) in the High North is often the largest meal of the day as once the sun goes down and the temperature plummets most needless activity stops to conserve heat.

Protein and Energy, Chocolate and Cereal Bars plus coffee sachets [©BM]
Clockwise, from top left: Tomato Soup, Strawberry Bits, Cashews, 3x Chewing Gum, Digestive Biscuits and Peanut Butter, with spoon in the centre [©BM]

Plenty of snacks were provided in this ration to double the overall calorie intake, and to give energy boosts between the three main meals. Swedish Menu 5 contents were: three 55g 24 HOUR MEALS brand Protein Bars (213-241kcal) in Caramel, Chocolate and Raspberry flavours; one 55g (206kcal) 24 HOUR MEALS brand Energy Bar in Salty Caramel flavour; one 50g (212kcal) OrifO brand Cereal Bar; one 50g (222kcal) pack of OrifO Digestive Biscuits; a 40g (236kcal) sachet of OrifO Peanut Butter; a 50g (157kcal) pack of Strawberry Bits; a commercial brand 35g (205kcal) pack of Cashews; and a 25g (127kcal) OrifO Chocolate Bar. There was also a 40g (140kcal) pouch of Salted Caramel flavour Egg White Powder to make a Protein Shake; not to my personal taste, but as this item is 79% protein a combat soldier should really consume it to derive maximum benefit from their ration pack contents.

Mashed Potatoes pouch was branded 24 HOUR MEALS and Protein Shake was a Swedish brand [©BM]
Two OrifO brand Isotonic Drink Powder sachets and four Disinfection Swabs [©BM]

On the hot drinks side, three 2g Coffee Powder sachets were included but no sugar or creamer were supplied. For cold drinks there were two 40g (75kcal) OrifO Isotonic Drink Powder sachets in Orange and Apple flavours. A 17g (56kcal) Tomato Soup Powder was also included. Accessories supplied were: four Disinfection Swabs; three twin packs of Chewing Gum in Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Spearmint flavours; and a single plastic spoon.

Danish OrifO Digestive Biscuits and Swedish commercial brand Coffee, without sugar or creamer~ I could cheerfully consume both for ‘elevenses’ most mornings [©BM]

Most British military readers will recognise the OrifO brand items, as this Danish supplier’s products often turn up in UK Operational Ration Packs and it is not unusual to find them in other NATO rations. As for the Finnish Blå Band freeze-dried meal pouches, both Mike Gormley and I rate them very highly and Carl rates them too. When off on assignments I usually carry a couple of these with me in case I get back to my accommodation too late at nights to find anywhere to eat; I also often take an electric coil heater (treat with extreme care as they can be lethal) with me on my travels so I can heat a mug of water to make a coffee, and this also allows me to boil water to reconstitute freeze-dried ration pouches.

The reconstituted Finnish Blå Band Pasta with Tomato & Garlic was really tasty with none of the ‘grittiness’ sometimes associated with other brands of freeze-dried meals ~ I have held back the Oriental Chicken with Couscous for my travels [©BM]
Reconstituted Mashed Potatoes with Vegetables ~ at 613kcal it is substantial enough to be eaten on its own but in the field I would possibly have teamed it up with the Tomato Pasta [©BM]
Blå Band Rice Pudding with Strawberries from a previous review ~ as I have tried this one before, and enjoyed it, the pouch from Swedish Menu 5 has gone into my travel pack so I can prepare breakfast on my next very early start overseas assignment [©BM]
OrifO Chocolate Bar and 24 HOUR MEALS Salty Caramel Energy Bar [©BM]
Commercial brand cashews and Strawberry Bits ~ the latter are chunks of chewy fruit jelly and great for providing a sugar hit on the move ~ a great alternative to bland boiled sweets [©BM]

[images © Bob Morrison unless noted]


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