What Are MREs? Here's a little food for thought.

What Are MREs?

MRE stands for “Meals Ready to Eat”. All the contents of these shelf stable foods are fully cooked and can be eaten hot or cold. An MRE will provide good taste and proper nutrition while maintaining a safe, long shelf life. Each MRE replicates the calorie count of a complete meal. There is no need to add water to an MRE. Simply open the pouch and enjoy!  The big breakthrough was the POUCH. Its three special layers allow the food to be fully cooked, sealed and never exposed to the air again. The resulting taste and texture beats any dehydrated and freeze dried food rations. 


Some of the benefits of MRE are:  Fully cooked – No need to add water, Not Freeze Dried! Moisture, gravy and sauces are retained in their natural form inside our MREs, Ready-To-Eat. These meals are ready to eat right from the pouch at room temperature., Home-style taste, Balanced nutrition, Long Shelf life 5 years or more based on date of pack and storage conditions, No refrigeration needed, They can be heated in 5 minutes with boiling water or with our heater pouches, Battle tested, U.S. Military Grade Components, Weightless pack, portable and easy to carry- Easy storage, Water proof, Easy to open – As opposed to canned food you don’t need a special tool or special skills to open it . You just tear open the pouch and you are ready to eat! 


MREs were originally used only in the military, but the truth is that MREs are the perfect option for outdoor enthusiasts, preparedness, emergency situations, on the go meals or for anybody who is planning to be in a situation where regular food supply is not available . The special pouches they use provide a long shelf stable without refrigeration. Many private entities, law enforcement, hospitals, fire departments, FEMA, Red Cross and government agencies storage depend on MREs as a part of their emergency plan for food supplies.  We are also seeing more campers, hikers and other extreme outdoor sport and activity people use them. After all, they are a complete meal, ready to eat, portable, and relatively light weight. 


MRE promotes shelf stable, ready to eat meals and components that are appetizing in the field as they are when packaged in the factory.

Just like the U.S. Military MRE’s and following the USDA established standards for commercially sterile, moisture and oxygen controlled food products, MRE follows the same methods of preserving our packaged foods.

All MRE Entrees are heat processed to destroy microorganism and inactivate enzymes. This heat process prevents any bacteria from getting in and since the food pouch is sterile, it does not spoil.

As for the rest of our components such as bakery and other snack products, these are engineered and packaged in sealed, multilayered packaging material, to prevent the food products from excessive exposure to moisture and oxygen, thus ensuring an extended shelf life.

The above enables MRE to offer a guaranteed shelf life of 3 years at 80°F (27°C), or for 6 months at 100°F (38°C) for all of our previously produced entrees and food components, from date of MRE assembly/pack date printed or embossed in all our bags and cases. We keep all of our products under ideal storage conditions. This allows us to stand behind our guaranteed shelf life. Some of the components from time to time may have production dates prior to our pack or assembly dates.

Shelf life of our MRE product follows the same standards as set forth by the U.S Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center's study and evaluation of the military’s Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), which employs identical type of packaging and production technologies as our MRE Meals.


Freezing an MRE retort pouch will not destroy the food inside, but repeated freezing increases the chance that the pouch lamination will fail. MRE pouches are designed to withstand 1,000 flexes, but repetitive freezing does increase the failure rate by a small fraction of a percent. 


Each complete meal ready to eat MRE  kits provides a balanced nutrition with a generous amount of food components. Configurations ranges from 500 to 3000+ calories per meal. MRE components, i.e, entree and side dishes, bread items, snacks , desserts , beverages and other portion control packs. Most MREs come packed in 6 or 12 meals to a case. 


That’s a pretty subjective question and obviously depending on whom you speak with you will get a different answer. Just like canned goods, you either like them or you don’t. Many people feel that MREs are just as good if not better than canned food. MREs are very convenient and there are people who enjoy them enough to eat them regularly when they need a quick meal for lunch or dinner. MREs are designed to be as home-style cooked meals. They are designed to last. Home cooked meal won’t last more than a week, MREs will last 5 years or more and they are surprisingly good. 


No. MRE’s are totally different. Unlike dehydrated or freeze dried foods which both require water to reconstitute them, MRE’s are precooked “in the pouch” and retain their full moisture like canned food items, just with a much longer shelf-life. 


Yes. Each MRE entree can be eaten cold, directly from the pouch, they are perfectly safe to eat cold.


U. S. soldiers and thousands of Emergency Relief workers around the world have been forced to eat MREs cold. They weren’t intended to be eaten cold, but one of their great advantages is that they can be. MREs have served their purpose well with no reheating in personal emergencies, family emergencies, and city or state emergencies (earthquakes, toxic spills, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, etc.). 

MRE chemical heater pouches can be bought separately or they may come with each MRE kit. Placing the MRE in the chemical heater pouch provides a high tech way to heat an MRE pouch with no fire or flame. Adding water will cause a harmless chemical reaction which produces heat and warms the food pouch within 10 -15 minutes, safely and quietly. Simply follow the instructions on the pouch. 

If you don’t have a heater pouch, MRE pouches can be heated in a variety of different ways depending on the situation. Below you will find a few additional and common ways of heating them. 

1) Boiling for 3-5 minutes – take the pouch and place it in clean boiling water heated from available sources: fire, heating tabs, or stoves. 
2) Placing next to a non-liquid heat source: radiator, engine block, or even the human body. Be careful of burning or melting the pouch if the heat source is too hot. 
3) You can use the sun to warm the pouch by simply laying it in the sun. It’s simple and it works. 
4) Microwave 2-3 min. after removing from the pouch. The pouch contains an aluminum, non-microwaveable layer which gives the pouch such a long shelf life. 
No matter how you heat your MRE entree meal, although the foil pouch is very strong and durable, it can be damaged if too high a temperature is applied. NEVER apply direct flame to the pouch like from a BBQ or campfire. The outer and inner layers of plastic laminate will melt and contaminate the food. 


We have all seen the recent shows on TV that showcase families and individuals storing years and years worth of food in case there is some kind of global catastrophe. More and more families and individuals are becoming better prepared all the time and we believe you should as well. The world is an uncertain place and as we watch the news and see the instability around the globe, it’s easy to become concerned. For most people, however, this is not the reason why you should store food. 

Depending on what part of the country you live in, the reasons are simple. If you live along the Southeast coast of the United States, hurricanes are a real threat. As we have seen in the recent past, a strong hurricane can knock out power for weeks or more. A supply of food, and especially water, is extremely important. Food within the refrigerator will spoil long before the power comes on after a strong storm. In an area like the West Coast, earthquakes can be a problem. Not only could you be left without power, you might also be trapped by roads that have either caved in or are covered with debris. Having a store of food and water on hand at all times is really a necessity that most people don’t pay attention to. The U.S. government recommends that all individuals and families should have an emergency food reserve, 72 hour emergency kits, etc. Having a backup food reserve could end up being one of the most important purchases you make for you and your family. This purchase can bring you peace of mind that if ANYTHING were to happen, whether an act of God or an act of terrorism, your family will have the supplies it needs until help arrives. 

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post