MRE or “Meals Ready to eat” are military style food rations.
There are two categories of MRE:
- Military MRE
- Commercial civilian MRE.
Military meals ready to eat are made for the US military and the armed forces of other countries.
They are sometimes sold on eBay but there is risk there as the military considers this illegal as they want to discourage theft of their property. There is also risk as the age and storage conditions the MRE experienced before you bought it will be unknown perhaps even to the seller.
Besides risk you should also consider shipping costs which online retailers may charge less than $15 where eBay sellers sometimes charge a lot more for shipping and “handling”.
The main difference between military and commercial MRE is calories and sodium levels.
Military MRE has high sodium content as they are intended for short term on the go use. Military MRE has 1250 to 1300 calories whereas until recently commercial MREs had less.
Some commercial MREs have has few as 700 calories. MRE Star’s civilian MREs now have average of 1,100-1,300 calories.
Some reasons why civilian MREs are a popular choice for survival food;
- MRE’s paks are a complete meal with main course, side dish, crackers with spread, dessert, and a powdered drink mix.
- MRE packs last 4-10 years depending on storage temperature, longer than most canned food.
- They are pre-cooked and in a pouch “ready to eat”, nothing needs to be added
- Usually you buy MRE with flameless heaters so you can eat your meal hot (cold is ok too)
You can best use MRE for emergency situations where you “are on the go” . That is when you do not want to waste time cooking or do not want the hassle of bring cooking equipment with you.
MRE’s are the most convenient survival food choice.
If you are interest in buying MRE by the pallet see our Bulk MRE page.
MRE typical contents:
- Entree: menu varies in quantity (up to 24) from year to year for most MRE brands
- Side dish: examples – Au Gratin potatoes, Applesauce, Cornbread stuffing, Re-fried beans.
- Dessert or snack – candy, pastry, or chocolate bar
- Crackers or bread
- Spread: examples – Jalapeno cheese, Chocolate peanut butter, or Blackberry jam
- Powdered beverage mix: such as fruit drink, cocoa, instant coffee or tea
- Utensils – plastic forkette
- Flame-less ration heater (FRH) – this is a pouch you put the entree in, it contains iron filings that provide a lot of heat when salt water is added.
- Accessory pack: chewing gum, water-resistant matchbook, napkin/toilet paper, towelette
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, and/or Tabasco sauce
As you can see it is – a full course meal, ready to eat.