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[Ministry of National Defense] “The year 2022 will be the first year of a soldier-centered meal service”

Ministry plans to give soldiers an expanded choice of meals and menus


Compulsory meal with less-favored, high-cost menus will be discontinued

‘Rice with four different side dishes’ rule will be ended so that soldiers can choose menus

Ministry plans to spend 184.6 billion won to improve the cafeteria environment

To push for contracting-out meal service for 18 cafeterias of 10 units on a trial basis

[Ministry of National Defense] “The year 2022 will


The Ministry of National Defense declared that 2022 will be the first year of a ‘soldier-centered meal service and management system,’ unveiling the related plan, and the site of a ‘better military camp cafeteria’ being managed by the Army on a trial basis.



“In terms of improving the barracks culture, we plan to provide an expanded choice of meals and menus to service members, based on the rule that ‘menu planning comes first, competitive procurement of food ingredients comes second,’ which was introduced last year after discussion with the private-public-military joint committee, and to dramatically improve the meal service management system,” the ministry said in a statement on February 3. The ministry has expressed its willingness to provide what service members want to eat, and is commited to expanding the budget and improving facilities and equipment.


Under the plan, the ‘rice with four different side dishes (rice, soup, kimchi and two side dishes)’ rule will be deleted from the ministry’s meal service policy this year, with the aim of giving service members more choices, such as ‘one-dish meal’ and ‘menu without soup,’ to suit the tastes of the new generation.


The ministry also decided to reduce the share of private contracts for agricultural, livestock, and fisheries products to 70%, in order to give service members more choices of meals. The compulsory meals with high-priced menus, which are less favored by service members, will be discontinued. The budget saved by replacing non-preferred and high-priced menus with optional menus will be used to serve preferred dishes, such as pork bulgogi. The meal supply system will also be improved in consideration of the preferences of service members; providing the army’s milipay coupon or cash, instead of serving rice cake as a special meal on birthdays, and reducing the frequency of serving plain milk, while increasing the frequency of serving processed milk (chocolate-flavored milk, strawberry-flavored milk) and soybean milk.


The ministry also plans to spend 184.6 billion won and 33.5 billion won on the project to enhance the military camp cafeteria environment and the introduction of modernized cooking implements, respectively, in order to provide a clean environment to all service members and cooks.


It is expected that the new cooking implements will play a great role in upgrading the quality of meals. The cooking implements include a ‘small-sized frying machine,’ which helps safely cook fried dishes in the small kitchens of units on the front line or in remote areas, a ‘warmer cabinet,’ which helps keep meals warm and aids in serving warm meals during meal time, and an ‘ice making machine,’ which helps provide ice cubes to squads and platoons during field training in the heat.


Another eye-catching plan is to provide a conveyer belt toaster, of the type commonly seen in hotel buffets, for a brunch and an upgraded version of bread-based meals that are popular in the military.


It is expected that the overall improvement of the meal service management system will bring about a wide change in managing the military camp cafeteria. The Army plans to upgrade the 1500 squadron-level military camp cafeterias to the ‘better military camp cafeteria’ on a trial basis by 2025. The contracting-out meal service will also be promoted, focusing on education and training institutions in rear areas where large-scale cooking is conducted. This year, the ministry plans to push for the contracting-out meal service for 18 cafeterias of 10 units on a trial basis.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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