When it comes to emergencies or survival situations, few types of food are as practical and convenient as meals ready-to-eat (MREs). One common question that people have about these meals, however, is whether or not they are available to the general public. Because the meals were created for the military, it is hard to know whether or not civilians can purchase them.
Are MREs Available To The General Population Or Only To The Military?
Many MREs are issued specifically to the military for use by soldiers out in the field. These types of MREs cannot be purchased by the general public. In fact, the companies that make these specific meals have contracts that prohibit them from selling them directly to civilians.
As a result, the average person can’t just go out and buy MREs that are designed specifically for the military. Never fear, however – there are a lot of other options available. Many companies manufacture civilian MREs. Even though these meals are slightly different than the ones that are designed specifically for the military, they offer all of the same benefits. Although some of the companies that make civilian MREs also provide meals to the military, most are made by independent manufacturers who are not under contract with the government.
Comparing Civilian MREs And Military-Grade MREs
Quality is one of the most important considerations when purchasing MREs. A lot of times, people assume the meals that are designed for the military are superior in quality to those that are designed for civilians. In fact, however, that isn’t always the case.
Any military-grade meals that are on the market should be viewed with suspicion. Remember – the companies that make these meals are forbidden from selling them to the public. If you happen to find any military-grade meals available for sale to the general public, it usually means one of two things: they are either past their expiration date or they were taken illegally for resale. A good example of this can be seen with the military MREs that showed up for sale shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Many of these meals sustained damage as a result of being exposed to water from the flooding. Unscrupulous sellers, however, still tried to sell them to the general public.
This is one of the primary reasons why civilian MREs are a superior choice – particularly if you buy them from a trusted retailer. These meals are usually sold by well-established manufacturers, retailers, or distributors. You can easily trace their origins, ensuring that they are still good to eat. If something does go wrong and a particular meal makes you sick, you also have an opportunity to hold the seller liable, which is something that isn’t necessarily true with military MREs.
Purchasing Private-Label MREs
Most civilian MREs are labeled with the name of the manufacturer. There are also generic or private-label MREs available. As a general rule of thumb, name brand MREs are usually more expensive than private-label MREs. However, the quality is usually the same. The primary difference is that private-label meals tend to be made in smaller batches, meaning that it may be harder for you to get enough to meet your needs.
When shopping for private-label MREs, choose a company that provides information about how their meals are manufactured. Be wary of companies that try to pass their meals off as being the same as the meals that are made for the military. In most cases, this is just part of their marketing strategy. By making you think you are getting a meal that is comparable in quality to the ones served to the military, they can trick you into paying higher prices. Remember – any MREs that are available to the general public are not the same as the ones that are sold to the military, despite what the manufacturer or retailer claims.
From a cost standpoint, purchasing private-label MREs makes a lot of sense since they are usually cheaper than civilian MREs. When you are putting together a survival kit or supplies for an upcoming camping trip, going with private-label MREs is a great way to save money. The only thing to keep in mind is that you may not be able to select the specific meals that you get since they are often sold in bulk packages that contain a random assortment of meals.
For most people, this isn’t a big deal. However, if you have special dietary requirements or allergies, you may want to opt for standard civilian meals instead since you have more control over the meals that you receive. Another downside to buying in bulk is that you may wind up getting a bunch of the same type of meal. If you want more variety, you should consider purchasing the meals individually instead.
Purchasing Civilian MREs
If you decide to buy civilian MREs, the first thing you need to figure out is where to get them. Most manufacturers have websites where they sell the products directly to the public. The benefit of buying from a manufacturer is that you know exactly how and where each meal was made. You also have a point of contact in case anything goes wrong with the meals that you receive.
Similarly, private-label MREs can usually be purchased directly from the manufacturer. You also may be able to buy them through auctions or through third-party websites. As a general rule of thumb, you should always try to buy products directly from the manufacturer so that you know exactly where they came from and how they have been stored. Before going through with the purchase, contact the seller to get answers to any questions that you may have about the meals.