We used K Ration lemon powder dissolved in buckets of water for scrubbing the floor when we were living in buildings, and it worked out exceptionally well, cutting dirt spots and more or less bleaching the wooden floors.

(Although the package that held the beverage powder can also be called a sachet, I use the same name that is used in the official specifications: envelope.)

With the experimental K Ration two tablets of soluble coffee (aluminum foil packaged), a tube of bouillon paste, and an envelope of lemon powder drink was furnished as a beverage for each meal respectively. Soon the lemon powder was switched to the Dinner unit and the bouillon (now a powder packed in a cellophane envelope) was switched to the Supper unit.

experimental dinner

Early experimental K Ration Dinner unit showing the tube of bouillon paste.

From the beginning on the coffee powder was sealed in an aluminum envelope because, due to its hygroscopic qualities, it was not feasable to package it in just a cellophane envelope.
The fruit juice powder and bouillon powder were sealed in a clear cellophane envelope with instruction printed in black or white ink on the envelope. 
When the restrictions on the use of aluminum was lifted all beverage powders were to be sealed in a cellophane laminated to aluminum foil style envelope not exceeding 3" by 2 1/4", later changed to 3 1/8" by 2 3/8".
The cellophane was to be printed with a dull sand color (in practice an off-white) with the text printed in eihter dark blue or black.


Early coffee

An early soluble coffee envelope (left, without printing), included with the experimental K ration, compared next to a late soluble coffee product envelope with printed instructions.

With the official adoption of the K Ration the Breakfast unit contained one aluminum foil envelope of  5 grams soluble coffee product.

(17d) Breakfast, coffee

Early aluminum foil envelope of soluble coffee product manufactured by the American Dietaids Co. Later they branded their coffee product under the name of Kup Kafay.

Kup Kafay

The envelope of Kup Kafey soluble coffee product was only printed on the front, the back side of the envelope is left blank.
Note that the design is basicly the same as the one used by the Henry Heide Inc., perhaps this is an early design used by the Henry Heide inc.?

Early soluble coffee

Another aluminum foil packed soluble coffee product. (photo: 1944Supply)

The original pure soluble coffee was not popular with the soldiers testing the ration and was considered being replaced by a fruit powder or a chocolate drink. An alternative was found when Nestlé introduced its Nescafé soluble coffee. This was a soluble coffee with maltose, dextrine and dextrose added for a milder flavor. This coffee product was already included in the C Ration and well liked by the men during field tests.

coffee front & back

Front and back of a Nescafé envelope. This was the same type of envelope that was used with the C Ration. These came from an early 1945 Breakfast unit.

Nestlé coffee

Alternative packaging for the Nescafé soluble coffee product. (photo: 1944Supply)

One envelope of 5 grams was included in the Breakfast unit untill the fall of 1944, when an additional envelope (also containing 5 grams) was added to the Breakfast unit and another envelope with 5 grams of soluble coffee product was included in the Supper unit supplementing the bouillon powder. Although no extra sugar was provided in the Breakfast unit, a 23 grams package of sugar was included in the Supper unit for use with the coffee.

Sol Cafe

Sol Cafe soluble coffee product. (photo: 1944Supply)

Coffee (3a)

Note that the Nestlé, Great Star Co. and the General Food Corp. soluble coffee products are all packaged by Henry Heide, Inc. All have the same instructions on the back (shown below).

Coffee (3b)


Dinner came with a lemon juice powder in a cellophane envelope containing seven grams of synthetic crystals. Although praised during early tests, mainly because it could be made by just adding cold water, the lemonade turned out very unpopular with the troops in the field. It was usually referred to as batery acid. It found other uses as well:
"We used K Ration lemon powder dissolved in buckets of water for scrubbing the floor when we were living in buildings, and it worked out exceptionally well, cutting dirt spots and more or less bleaching the wooden floors." (Chow, a cook's tour of military food. p.54, Paul dickson, 1978)

lemonade early

An early cellophane envelope containing Lemonade powder. After 70 years the white synthetic lemon crystals caked to a dark brown solid mass and the cellophane has been attacked by weevils. Shown here is the back with its center seam, the front is devoid of any printed instructions which is typical for early production. These envelopes were also used in some B-units of the C Ration.

Although unpopular and substitution of a cacao drink was recommended, the fruit juice was deemed necessary because it was the only means of providing a daily need of vitamin C (60 milligrams of ascorbic acid) with the ration.

Lemon (1a)

A mid war envelope containing 1/4 ounce of a synthetic lemon juice powder.

Soon an alternative was developed. An orange flavoured fruit juice powder was introduced in late 1943. The contents list on the outer box of the K Ration now reads "Lemonade or Orange powder".

Type IV(a) Dinner

Although the aluminum foil envelopes were the preferred packaging, cellophane was used throughout the war due to inadequate production of the foil type. Here a cellophane envelope is shown with the new "morale" packaging. Although hard to make out in the photo, it apears to be "Orange Juice Powder Synthetic".

In 1945 the lemon powder was deleted and only orange or grape juice powder was included in the Dinner unit as a beverage. Grape juice powder was already introduced with the 10-in-1 Ration in August 1943.
The September 1945 specifications mentions either Orange juice, Grape juice, or soluble coffee product as the beverage component. (The specific beverage was specified in the contract awarded to the main contractor.)

Fruit powder, SunWay

Two different envelopes containing fruit juice powder, both made by SunWay Fruit Products, are shown here for comparison.
The clear cellophane envelope is from a 10-in-1 Ration and held 15 grams of Grape Juice Powder to make 3
1/3 canteen cups of grape juice. Two such envelopes were included with the #5 menu of the 10-in-1 Ration in 1943.

K ration, cellophane add

Although the early clear cellophane envelope was to be replaced by the cellophane/ aluminum foil laminate when aluminum became available, the clear cellophane envelopes still can be seen used as late as 1945.

The fruit juice powders were included in practically all rations. (Not only in the C, K and 10-in-1 field rations, but also in the "Aid Station Beverage Pack", bailout rations and others.) The enormous demand for the aluminum foil envelopes was more than the manufacturers could produce, so the use of the cellophane envelopes was continued as an alternative packaging.

Orange juise front

Two Orange Juice Powder Synthetic envelopes. It appears that the listing of the ingredients was not mandatory. Below is shown the backs of the envelopes carrying the instructions for preparation.

Orange juice back


Ten grams of bouillon powder was also packed in a cellophane envelope and was issued with the Supper unit. Companies producing the bouillon powder were encouraged to come up with a formula of their own, to add a little veriaty. The formula had to be submitted to the Army for approval. Again, later the bouillon powder was packed in the aluminum foil packaging, although an envelope made of grease-proof paper has been found in a "morale" box K Ration.

Bouillon powder K and C ration

An early Bouillon clear cellophane envelope produced by the Miles Laboratories Inc., but packaged by the McKay-Davis company.
The label reads "Component of U.S. Army Ration K and C". At the time of it's inclusion in the K Ration it was also considered as a component for the C Ration's Supper unit, but ultimately a cocoa beverage was included in the C Ration. (photo: 1944Supply)

Bouillon powder K ration

Bouillon powder made by the McKay-Davis Company for the K Ration. (photo: 1944Supply)

Boouillon powder paper envelope

Bouillon powder packaged in a grease-proof/glassine paper envelope from a late 1944 Supper unit. Note that this one is also packaged by the Henry Heide Inc. (photo: 1944Supply)


A clear cellophane envelope and an aluminum foil envelope with bouillon powder, both manufactured and packaged by the McKay-Davis Co.