The standard ration, known by its initials: MRE -- Meal, Ready-to-Eat -- has been under continual improvement since it was launched in 1981. However, the heating mechanism for the MRE has not changed significantly since 1993.
Austin-based packaging innovators, HeatGenie, have developed technology that could change that.
The US Army jumped to evaluate HeatGenie's innovative self-heating packaging technology by awarding HeatGenie a contract for evaluation units. HeatGenie engaged with California-based Silgan Containers, a division of Silgan Holdings and the largest manufacture of metal food containers in North America, to provide cans integrated with the HeatGenie heaters. "We are pleased to be working with HeatGenie and providing metal food containers for evaluation by the US Army," said Rick Brewer, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Silgan Containers.
"The current heaters used in MREs involve multiple steps and take ten minutes to heat the food," said Gary Forni, chief executive officer of HeatGenie. "Our heater reduces heating time by a factor of three, it lowers costs for the Army and it's simpler for the troops to operate. It's good for the soldier and it's good for the Army."
The waterless, low-profile heating device nestles into an indentation on the bottom of the can package and does not penetrate the can wall. The heater is activated with the push of a button and heats a 10.5 oz portion of soup to 145° Fahrenheit in two minutes.