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Heater Meals adds self-heating drinks to the mix

Innotech Products Ltd., already known to scores of soldiers and survivalists as the Heater Meals company, has begun offering a self-heating beverage kit.

Cafe2Go enables people to make 18 servings of hot coffee, tea or cocoa without striking a match or turning on an appliance. Its target users are police and firefighters, Red Cross workers and the disaster victims they assist, and even, on a lesser but albeit happier note, campers and tailgaters. Now, at any hour and under any circumstances, you can get the comfort that only a steaming jolt of joe can bring, says Dave Blandford, marketing director for the privately owned Cincinnati-area company.

Heat for the drinks and meals is produced when the user mixes salted water with a patented packet of powdered iron and magnesium. The simple exothermic reaction raises the existing temperature of the products around it by 100 degrees within about 10 minutes. In the case of Heater Meals for consumer use, that's enough warmth to turn an envelope of preserved food (tasty offerings like green pepper steak with rice or vegetarian pasta fagioli) into a decent dish.

Meals for military personnel are formulated with different calorie and nutrient contents for their special needs. For those purposes, Innotech provides the heater packets but not the food, Blandford notes. The company estimates its packets have heated about 1.5 billion meals. The used packets are biodegradable.

HeaterMeals are intended for a long shelf life. The "EX" line for extended storage last up to five years.

Innotech/HeaterMeals was founded in 1990. Blandford says the largest group of customers are military/government agencies; the earliest and longest-running fans of Heater Meals are truckers. Other buyers: hospitals, and social service agencies that aid homeless and elderly people. (HeaterMeals are donated to a local foodbank, too.)

The company employs 50 in Hamilton County.

Source: Dave Blandford, Innotech Products/Heater Meals
Writer: Gabriella Jacobs

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