Food for Fighting

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

“An army marches on its stomach” goes an old saying. Today, many foods that were first designed for soldiers' stomachs have found their way into ours. Did you know that granola bars, instant noodle soup, and freeze-dried coffee are all military creations?


  • M&M's, a familiar candy-coated chocolate, were made for the military in 1940.
  • “Ration D” was a bar of concentrated chocolate soldiers carried in World War II.
  • The Desert Bar was made by Hershey for the soldiers in Desert Storm. It is a chocolate bar designed to withstand heat up to 140°F.


  • K Rations, named after A. B. Keyes, an American physiobiologist, were carried by Americans in World War II. These lightweight packages included biscuits, canned meat, instant coffee, fruit bars, chewing gum, and powdered lemon juice. Sugar tablets and cigarettes were also included.
  • M.R.E.'s (Meals Ready to Eat) are brown plastic pouches that contain prepared meals, such as barbecued meatballs or corned beef hash, and are meant to last 3 years before spoiling. They were served in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, where they were called “airwing Alpo.”
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