Field kitchens or other group feeding solutions are preferred if available, but often the individual soldier has to prepare his own meal. The use of Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) rations has improved the meal quality and simplified preparation, but there is still a basic need to heat the food when possible. Heating not only helps control disease, but also makes the meal more paletable.
Several fuels have been provided since World War II to give soldiers in the field a reliable way to generate heat, even under very poor conditions. These fuels are described on this page about Canteen Cup Stove Fuels.