MRE story-the Canadian IMP

By: Joe Lam, Journalist

A soldier on a battlefield needs a lot of equipment in order to survive. His body armor protect him in case somebody try to kill him, his rifle protect him by killing those who want to harm it’s user by killing them first, the first-aid kit protect him by healing the soldier up when he is wounded and also fight off infections. And what’s left? Food. Sometimes people won’t considered food as a important piece of equipment in a soldier’s inventory when compared to others (and I’m not saying they are). But, food is very important. Studies shown that soldier’s moral (how willing he is to fight) would increase when they have a nice, hot meal in their stomach. Even the great French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte said (as a quote) that “An army marches on its stomach.”. And so, each countries (After WW2) begins to work on how would their soldier eat. And so the Meal, Ready-to Eat (or MRE for short) was created. These things are kits containing not just (freeze-dried) food, but it also contains stuff like toilet paper, matches and other things for comfort. Each of the countries have their own different style of MRE, and the Canadians have the Individual Meal Pack (or IMP) to feed their soldiers.


The IMP was introduced in the 1980s. It replaced the older Individual Ration Pack (IRP, and it was a ration in a can) and the Canadian Army Mess Tin Ration. The older models required more time to make than the IMP and it also have more of a impact on the food’s taste. overall, it’s a great improvement than the older models.


For a MRE, the IMP have a lot stuff. For this part I’m going to use the Canadian IMP Menu #18 Shephard’s Pie from 2018 for the content.

Date Square

Hamburger buns


Shephard Pie

2 packs of Ice sports drink/blue Gatorade

Strawberry jam

Peanut butter

Espresso roast coffee

coffee whitener

2 packs of ketchup


Vanilla drink mix

beverage bag


paper towel

tic tac gum

compressed napkins


For the main meal, you simply pulled out the content out from it’s cardboard box (the food itself is in a large plastic bag within the box), and throw it in to a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes (or more). You pull it out and open the plastic bag and you eat directly in the bag. For the drinks and the beverages, you simply pour out the (powdered) drink contents in to (in the case of a drink) a beverage bag or (in the case of coffee) a separate cup. The beverage bag have a line drawn on it to show how much water to add.

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