Military MREs are meals ready to eat provided to the armed forces for decades and also made available to civilians. Sopakco is one of the American companies contracted to provide the survival food. The emergency food was developed for combat soldiers when they were in the field. The MRE survival food is precooked and does not need water added.
Besides emergency meals with a long shelf life, the Wornick company provides great tasting military MREs that can be used for camping food or backpacking food. The packaging of meals ready to eat is described by users as flexible cans which are manufactured using multiple plastic film and aluminum foil. The packages are durable, rugged, easy to store, and have an extended shelf life.
Emergency food offered by such companies as Ameriqual is not freeze dried or dehydrated foods which usually requires water to be added prior to eating. MRE foods are meals ready to eat immediately without the addition of water needed.
No additional cooking is necessary before the main entrees the company MREStar offers such as chili with macaroni and beef stew can be eaten. Heating any of the MRE meals is optional and may be served unheated directly from the pouch. Typically, most survivalists prefer to heat their emergency meals when given that option.
MRE meals in unopened ration packs may be warmed up in several of the following ways:
- Heat the army rations in a pan of warm water for up to 10 minutes.
- Place the pouch in direct sunlight.
- Put military MRE inside your clothing so that body heat warms the food.
- Lay MRE foods on a warm surface to absorb the heat.
- Meals ready to eat may be heated using flameless heaters that are available with some MRE foods.
Most products are packaged in standard military colors of plain green and brown to provide low visibility to the troops which is an added bonus in the woods for hunters, campers, and hikers as well.
MRE meals are intended to be used as survival food for an average of 10 days or less. Many troops during Operation Desert Storm ate the food for survival 8 weeks straight and more! Changes resulting from this experience included shelf-stable bread, high-heat-stable chocolate bars, and flameless ration pack heaters being developed.
In 1994, after manufacturers deduced that commercial packaging increases acceptance and consumption, (wonder if they talked to Grandmas!) less generic looking packages were designed. Additionally, ration packs were made easier to open and biodegradable spoons were included to make MRE foods environmentally friendly.
In 1997, the entree selections were increased to 20. In 1998, the number of choices was raised to 24 of which that same amount stands today in 2009. In addition, four vegetarian MRE meals are now on the menu.
Be prepared for an extended engagement whether the events are planned family excursions or real life emergencies!