Keeping soldiers well fed for less cost is
a goal for researcher Hong-Jue Sue, a professor at mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University.
Improvements in meal ready to eat technology, or MRE, an element of the government’s combat
rations network, will save millions in product, shipping, and storage cost. We’re trying to help them to kind of change
the packaging both from the material and packing efficiency point of view from this kind of
traditional packing, to something that we can change the shape and size and basically
reduce the volume involved in the packaging, and therefore making it more concise and easier
for the soldiers to carry with them during the combat mission. While also in the meantime
to make sure all the safety is maintained and nutrition is also maintained. Researchers did away with the bulky packaging
the military had been using for more than three decades and replaced it with more compact
materials. And so to accomplish that mission, one of
the ways to change the old fashion carton boxes used to protect the entrée, and we
use a sleeve where they can easily see that this is much smaller in size and the volume
that it would occupy in an MRE menu bag. So if you take all those into account, the cost
saving now become medians as a result of this improvement. Sue says the new packaging should be in use
next year, at the latest.