This UK 24-hour General Pack ORP (Operational Ration Pack ) was packed in October 2022 and issued this year to troops on exercise in Germany, writes Bob Morrison.
In late August my colleague Carl Schulze covered the 1 Royal Welsh Battlegroup in training at the German Army’s GÜZ-H (Gefechts Übungs Zentrum – Heer) urban complex during Exercise IRON STORM 1/2023, where he was gifted this late production example from the four-year Operational Ration Packs 2019 procurement contract. On 07 August of this year Leidos Supply Ltd, on behalf of the UK MoD, issued the 5+2-year Supply of Operational Ration Packs 2023 or ORP23 contract, worth £109 million plus VAT, to Vestey Foods UK Ltd of Coulsdon and initial production and packing of the next generation of UK individual rations is now underway.
It is not my intention to bore regular readers of this section by repeating previously covered information, but as there are minor content differences between April 2021 (see FR67 ~ UK 24-hour General Pack ORP of 2021) and October 2022 production batches I suspect some of the ration pack aficionados will be interested. Both the after-effects of COVID-19 and the B-word (i.e. UK withdrawal from the EU) impacted the international food supply chain and UK & European ration pack content suppliers quite markedly during 2021/22, which probably explains the minor tweaks.
The ORP seen here is a Menu 2 from the 24 Hour GP Ration Pack P70 batch and as its main components contains: 300g (480kcal) Chicken Sausage and Beans in Tomato Sauce; 300g (426kcal) Rajma Masala; 160g (269kcal) Cooked Rice; 300g (459kcal) Chilli Con Carne; and 85g (334kcal) Cinnamon Cake. The Chicken Sausage and Beans, which on the P70 menu sheet (see below for all ten menus) lists this as being Pork Sausage and Beans; the contents of this pouch were imported to the EU by Vestey Foods Nordic in Copenhagen and then packed in the UK by Vestey Foods. The Rajma Masala pouch, containing a traditional kidney beans and onion vegetarian meal popular in Nepal and Northern India, was packed in India. The Cooked Long Grain Rice pouch was also packed in India. The Chilli Con Carne was imported by Vestey Foods Nordic and then packed by Vestey Foods UK. The Cinnamon Cake is (not was as I’m holding onto this one for my next assignment because it’s my favourite) baked by Jomipsa in Spain.
Snacks included in my Menu 2 were: 50g (224kcal) Cheese Oat Biscuits; 30g (123kcal) Exotic Fruits Nougat Bar; 50g (317kcal) Salted Peanuts; and 48g (209kcal) Cheddar Cheese Flavour Spread. The five loose-packed Drinks Powders included were: Grapefruit Flavour; Pear Flavour; Hot Chocolate Flavour; Fortified Peach Iced Tea; and Lime Energy. Inside the zip-lock reusable rubbish bag were: 2x Alcohol Free Moist Wipes; 6pcs Dental Gum; 2x Instant Coffee; 10x Tissues; 2x Tea Bags; 4x Whitener; 4x Sugar; 5x Windproof / Waterproof Matches; and a Plastic Spork (with poorly formed tines). There was also a pack of 6x Water Purification Tablets and a 4.5g sachet of Spicy Red Chilli Sauce (packed in The Netherlands) loose-packed with the main contents. On checking the individual packs, the Tea Bags were from Sri Lanka and the Coffee, Sugar and Whitener were all packed in China.
The Vestey Team did not have a stand at DSEI 2023 (indeed it is many years since I last saw the company at a major UK defence expo) but they were in attendance at MSPO 2023 in Poland the previous week. The Operational Ration Packs on display at Kielce were just representational mock-ups so they asked me not to photograph them for this column, but they did promise to let us have a 2023 production batch sample for review once the packing line was up to full speed. I am looking forward to this, but not expecting any drastic changes as the latest MoD requirement is very similar to the ORP 2019 specification.
[images © Bob Morrison unless otherwise noted]
GP Ration Pack P70 Menus 1 – 10 Main Contents
- Menu 1: Pork Sausage & Beans in Tomato Sauce; Meatballs and Pasta (Beef); Pindi Chana Aloo; Chocolate Brownie.
- Menu 2: Pork Sausage & Beans in Tomato Sauce; Rajma Masala; Cooked Rice; Cinnamon Cake.
- Menu 3: Raspberry Toasted Muesli with Milk; Steak Vegetables and Dumplings; Beef Burrito Style Filling with Rice; Cinnamon Cake.
- Menu 4: All Day Breakfast (Pork); Chicken Curry with Potato and Rice; Pasta Bolognese (Pork); Vanilla Flavour Cake.
- Menu 5: Fruitful Muesli with Milk; Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice; Pasta Bolognese (Pork); Chocolate Pudding in Chocolate Sauce.
- Menu 6: All Day Breakfast (Pork); Pasta Bolognese (Pork); Indonesian Style Spicy Rice with Pork; Vanilla Flavour Cake.
- Menu 7: Vegetarian All Day Breakfast; Vegetable and Chick Pea Biryani; Rajma Masala; Chocolate Flavour Cake.
- Menu 8: All Day Breakfast (Pork); Spicy Sausage and Potato Wedges (Pork); Beef Burrito Style Filling with Rice; Orange Flavour Cake.
- Menu 9: Fruitful Muesli with Milk; Sausage Casserole (Pork); Pindi Chana Aloo; Chocolate Pudding in Chocolate Sauce.
- Menu 10: Instant Porridge; Beef Burrito Style Filling with Rice; Hunters Chicken; Chocolate Marble Cake.