This is a review of the latest New Zealand ration pack sent in by one of our readers who asked to remain anonymous due to operational considerations. Thank you for your service and your review!
This is the latest development as the ration has had several changes in the past few years. A number of the components are made by the same company as the Australian CR1M – retort meals are exported from NZ to Australia, although special meal flavours are made for the Aussies. NZ retort pouches tend to be spicy (curry, jumbalaya, etc), whereas the Aussie ones are plain (beans and sausages, spaghetti and sausages etc). The NZ ration has 4 menus (see attached info sheet) and is designed to feed 1 person for 24 hours. There are no vegetarian/kosher/halal versions. I am a serving soldier and I have to say the thing I like is that you can actually write to the people that make the ration and they write back and take the feedback on board! As an example previous versions had one menu with glucose sweets and raisins, whereas none of the other menus had an equivalent. Now this has been changed so all menus have them.
The recaldent gum (made in Japan) is a new addition to protect soldiers’ teeth if they can’t brush them. The fruit bar is also quite innovative – it is a dehydrated product made from pure fruit which is edible without rehydration, and the serving is equivalent to eating 5 apples. I really like them.
The towelettes are not like the ones in the MRE – the NZ ones are simply paper soaked in alcohol, meaning they get used for many purposes – including cleaning canteen cups and lighting hexamine tablets! The matches are waterproof/windproof.
As far as a review goes the meals are quite good – they’re made by a civilian company that puts their commercial product in a mil-spec retort pouch. Chilli beef is my favourite, chicken jumbalaya 2nd. The satay isn’t good if you don’t like satay – it’s very much like peanut butter. Usually I dump the sugar and drinks – the soup is ALWAYS vegetable and is quite awful, and the chocolate drink tastes metallic and isn’t good if you have it at the recommended concentration. A canteen cup needs about 6 packets! The sports drinks are very good. The cabin bread is quite hard, but at least it doesn’t break. Some people like the canned cheese but I don’t. The muesli is good with a fair amount of condensed milk, even though the packet has milk powder in it. The onion flakes aren’t that good. The muesli bars have recently changed and are now a bit gluey. The biscuits are good, especially choc chip.