chapter  9
12 Pages

One hundred years of rations

Food in the British Army, 1914–2014
WithRachel Duffett

Over the past century, there have been both changes and continuities in the way in which the British Army feeds its soldiers. The ration scale of c. 4,000 kilocalories a day has remained a constant, although the modern constituent parts are a long way distant from the bully beef and hardtack biscuit that was the mainstay in the trenches of the First World War. The desire to offer wider eating choices has resulted in many soldiers opting for fast food from outside the official messes, which has in turn triggered nutritional issues in the military. The challenges may be different, but one hundred years on the army has yet to resolve fully the tensions between soldiers’ appetites and operational efficiency.