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Half an hour wandering the vendor booths at this week's Business Continuity and Corporate Security show in New York turned up some unusual booty: emergency light-sticks; a "safety tube" courtesy of the American Red Cross (dust mask, whistle, and water pouch included); and the pice de résistance, a self-heating meal from Cincinnati-based Heater Meals.

Adapting military technology to the post-Katrina corporate world, the Midwest vendor aims this goody at companies that may need to feed staff -- at a disaster recovery site, for example, in the event of a major emergency.

The pre-cooked meals are placed into a small water-proof pouch, which contains a heating pad made from magnesium and iron. Pouring salt water into the pouch causes an exothermic reaction on the heating pad, which cooks the meal in about 10 minutes.

Sound disgusting? The end result was actually not that bad (arguably better than some of my own pathetic attempts in the kitchen).

The emergence of this type of technology underlines the challenges facing corporate America.

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