MRE stands for Meal, Ready to Eat. In Canada, they’re known as an IMP or Individual Meal Pack. As the name suggests, it contains everything needed to eat a full meal, including a beverage.
Genuine MRE’s are issued to members of the military to provide sustenance in combat situations or other scenarios in which a hot meal isn’t readily available. They’re comprised a patented flames-less water heater, an entree, an appetizer, a desert, a beverage powder, and a hygiene/condiment bag.
MRE’s have retort aluminum packaging which can delaminate (divided into layers) under freezing conditions.
Pricing and nutritional quality of MRE’s are also a drawback. Cases of 12 meals are priced anywhere from $70-$90 online! That’s over $7 per meal which obviously isn’t going to make storing in bulk a very cost effective option.
The primary reason for MRE’s is to provide soldier’s with fuel for their bodies. MRE’s are very high in sodium and preservatives and because of these two additives, are considered a “dead food”. That is, there is very little to no nutritional value in a MRE. Sure, they’ll provide you with 1200-1300 calories per package, but that’s about it…
Bottom line – if you come across a steal of a deal ($20-$30) per case, buy a few cases. Unlike freeze dried food, MRE’s only require a tiny amount of water (<1oz), so they’re better than nothing, but certainly not the best type of food to store long term (shelf life of 3-5 years).
Posted in: Glossary