MREs and the Bliss Point

mre_by_vazcnn-d4kkdxuDo you like sugar in your coffee? You probably like the same amount all the time. Less than that and it doesn’t taste as good, more than that and it seems undrinkably sweet. That exact point at which there’s enough sugar but not too much is called The Bliss Point.

What does this have to do with MREs?

In his book Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss writes about Howard Moskowitz, the man who discovered The Bliss Point. Moskowitz was a marketing genius, but he also worked for the army.

Soldiers need to eat plenty of wholesome food to keep up their strength, but army life may not be good for the appetite. Often, they threw away their MREs unfinished. Moskowitz was given the task of finding out how to get soldiers to eat all of their MREs.

Moskowitz found that people like strong, special flavors —  spices and sauces that make us enjoy a dish in a restaurant or servre it proudly in our homes.

But that kind of food also makes people feel satisfied. They stop eating fairly soon.

Blander foods like white bread aren’t as exciting, and people say they don’t like them as well. But if people find this kind of food fairly tasty, they’ll keep eating it much longer than they’ll eat more exciting food. Potato chips are a great example. People don’t get excited about the flavor, but it tastes pretty good — and most people can’t eat just one.

In fact, one of the top chip makers in the country hired Moskowitz to identify just the right flavors for their chips, flavors tasty enough to keep people eating but not tasty enough to make people feel satisfied.

So the army stopped making the tastiest possible MREs and instead made blander ones that were less delicious but more “more-ish.” Soldiers ate more of them.

Uncle Sam’s is the best source of army surplus goods in Northwest Arkansas, so we’re always interested to learn surprising facts like these. Come visit us in Evelyn Hills and see our ever changing selection.

One Comment

  1. Kirby Blair says:

    Were can I find MREs that I can purchase?

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