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The HDR (Humanitarian Daily Ration) was first developed during the Balkan Wars as a way to feed large populations of refugees or other displaced persons. Thousands of these Rations could be air-dropped from low-flying military transport planes, without parachute, and picked up by waiting crowds. Due to the wide range of potential religious and dietary restrictions found worldwide, each Ration was designed to be completely vegetarian.
Each Ration is designed to supply the daily nutritional and caloric requirements for one adult for one day. Lentils and beans both feature heavily in the entrees, as a cost-effective way to provide the most nutrients possible to potentially malnourished populations. Like MREs, each HDR is fully-cooked and ready to eat out of the package. Unlike most military MRE's, these do not include a heating element and require the user to either have their own heating source or eat the food cold.