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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 4 11:14 PM

August 5th, 2018: Packaging makeover of “K-Rations

In the latter part of World War II they spiffied up the packages as a moral booster.
They added color as a claimed moral booster, but with the shit getting heavy at that point made it easier to grab the right meal for the enemy's circadian rhythm.

“Rations Type K” were developed by inventor and public health scientist, Ancel Keys, which may (or may not) explain the “K” in K-Ration. (There is debate about that.) The boxes were manufactured by the Cracker Jack company and were similar in size and material to Cracker Jack boxes.

Originally the packages were generically labeled: “Breakfast,” “Dinner” and “Supper.” Towards the end of the war they were redesigned (as part of a “morale” initiative) to make the three meals more easily distinguishable with 3 new color-coded / pattern-coded designs.

Who handled the graphic design? Some anonymous, government-employed graphic designer? An advertising agency of the time? K-Ration boxes were featured in the Brooklyn Museum’s 2001 exhibit, Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age, 1940-1960, as one of many examples illustrating the impact of organic form on graphic design.

captainhook455  Sunday Aug 5 08:34 AM

Canned chopped ham and eggs. Yuk. I bet the cardboard box tasted better than the meal.

sexobon  Sunday Aug 5 10:10 AM

While not esthetically pleasing, it wasn't too bad after it was spiced up. Have some fruit cake:

Attachment 64491

captainhook455  Sunday Aug 5 10:37 AM

I have eaten the fruitcake. It was decent, but I was younger on a 3 week bike camping trip. I refer to motorcycles as bikes. Freeze dried food leaves a lot to be desired.

sexobon  Sunday Aug 5 11:03 AM

Commercial freeze dried foods aren't that good; but, one of the makers produces them for the US Special Forces to SF specifications and those are a whole different ball game. They're called LRP or LRRP (pronounced lurp) and are the longest continually issued field ration in the US military. The Long Range Patrol/Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol rations weren't available through commercial channels until just a few years ago when the producer got permission from the FDA to apply civilian nutritional labeling to their military contract overruns and sell them to a commercial outlet. The supply is limited and they're expensive. Ten dollars for a single entrée (add shipping to that); but, they're far better than anything else in the category. They come only as entrées which give you three squares a day.

xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Aug 5 03:08 PM

I remember a discussion a couple years back about those high end LRPs, with a supplier link and pictures. It was likely here in the Cellar.

sexobon  Sunday Aug 5 03:34 PM

I've mentioned them in the Camping thread here and here; but, didn't therein address the labeling change which made them available commercially.

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