Founded in 1987, AmeriQual, headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, is the largest provider of Meals, Ready-to-Eat (“MREs”) to the U.S. Military as well as thermo-processed, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat food to large commercial branded food companies.
Building on 30+ years in the industry, the Company has established itself at the forefront of shelf-stable food production and continues to lead the market from a technological and cost perspective. The Company operates through two facilities – one for food processing and one for meal kit assembly – located within miles of each other in a central U.S. location ideal for distribution purposes.
In 1988, AmeriQual began producing thermal-processed pouch products for the DoD; during the 1990’s the Company began producing a variety of heat-sealed pouches, bowl and glass line products for commercial businesses. The commercial customers, who were at the forefront of the introduction of single-serve, shelf-stable bowl products, continue to define new opportunities; and, as the market for shelf-stable consumer products continues to grow, AmeriQual’s technological capabilities in the retort pouch and bowl market have ensured that it is their customer’s partner of choice.
From its inception, AmeriQual has continuously served the U.S. Government by providing military rations with unsurpassed quality and service. The company has been an instrumental player in the evolution of the MRE, thereby building a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with numerous agencies of the U.S. Government, including the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, which is responsible for ration procurement. The strength of these relationships and AmeriQual’s reputation are demonstrated by the Company’s continued expansion of market share.
During 1996, the Company began supplying the government with Humanitarian Daily Rations (“HDRs”). AmeriQual continued expanding it’s military product line with the additions of Unitized Group Rations-A (“UGR-As”) in 1999 and Meal Cold Weather/Long Range Patrol Rations (“MCW/LRP”) in 2004.
In 2003, AmeriQual achieved one of its greatest milestones, securing the number one position in the supply of MRE’s to the DoD. To date, the company continues to be the largest supplier of MREs to the U.S. Government having provided cases of MREs during the U.S. Military’s recent engagements in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. An MRE is a self-contained, flexible, packaged meal used by U.S. Armed Forces when operations or training prevent organized food service facilities. Included in each package are all the components of a full meal, including an entrée, side dishes, utensils and condiments. In addition to nutritional requirements, MREs meet stringent durability requirements including surviving helicopter drops and remaining stable in extreme weather conditions for three years.
Long confined to military and institutional markets, retort pouches are now being recognized by consumer food producers as offering a tremendous market opportunity. Convenience is one of the overriding trends in the packaged foods industry; consumers increasingly rely on packaged, ready-to-cook and eat products. Developments in retort packaging (such as long shelf life, non-foil, microwavable films) have generated enthusiasm in the consumer food market based on the freshness, taste and preparation efficiency they offer.
Simultaneous with its growth in the military market, AmeriQual leveraged its commercial co-packaging success to diversify its customer base. By 2002, the Company began manufacturing retort pouch products for many blue-chip names and continues to add such names to its customer base.