The South Korean military is seeking to diversify the menu for its meal-ready-to-eat packages to meet the tastes of young conscripts, Army officials said Wednesday.
Currently, there are 11 different MREs, but the military hopes to increase that number to 36.
The military will hold a public hearing Tuesday with food companies and nutritional experts before finalizing the plan to update the menu, the officials said.
The military is also considering reducing the number of types of MREs to two from the current four.
The types are based on how they are prepared ― eaten as is or warmed by immersion in hot water, adding hot water directly or using a self-heating object.
The military plans to remove the two types that involve hot water.
"The scheme is still in the making. The scheme, which is designed to better meet the tastes of our troops, will be finalized after due process of soliciting public opinion," an Army official said, declining to be identified.
The menu is expected to include Chinese noodles in black bean sauce, fried rice with vegetables and rice with curry sauce.
Along with the diversification of the menu, the military also seeks to make the MREs smaller and lighter to make them better suited for combat situations.
It will push to decrease the cost of the meals to 3,500 won (S$4.35) per unit. Currently, each unit costs between 5,000 won and 10,000 won.
The shelf life of the MREs is also expected to be reduced to 1 1/2 years from the current three years, officials said.
The military also plans to purchase civilian-made "outdoor" food for some peacetime operations.