Here's an area of military research you may not be aware of: food science. At a research facility outside of Boston, scientists have been hard at work developing a better field ration for soldiers to eat when they're out in the field. The ration is generally referred to as a Meal, Ready to Eat (or MRE), and recent research has focused on keeping soldiers well-fed while improving performance. Their latest invention combines the flavor of beef jerky with the wakening effects of a cup of coffee. That's right: it's a caffeinated meat stick.
So why does the military want its soldiers to eat meat laced with a stimulant? The obvious answer is that it will help those soldiers stay alert when they're on duty. Less obvious, but probably part of the equation, is the difficulty of brewing a cup of coffee in a war zone - the army offers its servicemen and women Irish Cream-flavoured instant coffee, but it's not always possible to brew up a cup in the field.
Just in case soldiers get tired of the flavour of beef jerky, they'll be able to add a little sweetness - and even more stimulants - in the form of so-called "Zapplesauce". This is another new food product the army has developed. It's a mixture of standard applesauce and maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate that offers soldiers extra energy.
While Zapplesauce is already being served to soldiers, the caffeinated jerky won't be rolled out for a year or two. It has to be approved by selected troops before it goes into general use. Chances are it will remain a military delicacy, but who knows? Maybe in a few years Canadians will line up for their morning stick of meat instead of a double-double.