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Another huge increase in average daily meal cost for service members

Ministry plans to increase the meal cost to 13,000 won, an increase of about 20%, in the second half

Satisfying service members, the rise in meal cost will spur movement on the ‘selective meal system’

Ministry plans to improve menu by increasing the cost of side dishes based on autonomous management

Ministry also plans to make full preparations for safety management, including prevention of food poisoning in hot weather

Another huge increase in average daily meal cost f

The average daily meal cost for service members will be increased by about 20% starting in the second half of the year in order to provide them with good food. This is another huge increase, coming in the wake of an increase of about 25% in the first half compared to the previous year.


The Ministry of National Defense announced on June 30 that it will be raising the average daily meal cost for service members by 2,000 won, from 11,000 won to 13,000 won starting on July 1st.


This rise takes into account the introduction of the ‘selective meal system,’ which is one of the policies to create a barracks environment for future generations as the new government’s national political agenda, and other factors causing a rise in meal costs, such as the rising cost of ingredients.


“This is an action that follows an increase of 112.5 billion won in the budget for the meal cost for service members through the second supplementary budget amid a difficult financial situation in order to enhance the quality of meals for service members,” a ministry spokesperson explained.


The ministry is working to introduce the ‘selective meal system’ based on ‘menu arrangement first, competitive procurement of ingredients second,’ with the goal of expanding the right to select meals and the autonomy in menu arrangement in order to enhance soldiers’ satisfaction with meals. The increased average meal cost will be used to expand meal menus in view of soldiers’ preference, provide well-balanced nutrients such as vegetables and fruits, and procure easy-to-cook and quality-guaranteed ingredients to lessen the work burden on military cooks.


The ministry also plans to ensure the autonomy of subordinates in menu arrangement by expanding the scope of the ‘cost of side dishes based on autonomous operation,’ allowing individual units to autonomously purchase various food ingredients that have not been provided at the existing cost for side dishes. The ministry also plans to work on menu arrangement on weekends and holidays when meals may be unsatisfactory for service members, and call on the higher command to pay further attention to the management of the amount of meals so that the rise in meal cost can have an effect on service members in small units, units in remote areas, and units in island areas.


The ministry also issued the guideline, “The military should be committed to the prevention of illnesses, such as food poisoning, caused by mass orders for providing brunches and delivery food in hot weather,” to each armed service.


The ministry also asked each armed service to make full preparation for safety management in meals through vendor diversification, meal schedule adjustment, and the use of food trucks with quality and safety guaranteed.


Regarding agricultural, livestock and fishery products, the ministry plans to put its policies on the ‘use of home-grown products’ and ‘preferential purchase of local goods’ into action.


The ministry also plans to maintain the win-win cooperation with local farms in the process of introducing the selective meal system.


“The ministry will enhance soldiers’ satisfaction with meals by expanding the introduction of modernized cooking utensils, improving the environment of barracks cafeterias and the working conditions of military cooks, as well as increasing the meal cost for soldiers,” a ministry spokesperson commented.


Meanwhile, the military is striving to improve the quality of its meals. The ministry checks the actual status of military meals by managing a meal and garment monitoring group, and reflects the feedback in its policy. The ministry also is focusing its capability on providing meals to meet the needs of soldiers by managing a ‘better barracks cafeteria’ on a trial basis.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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