Today’s military MRE meals – the butt of jokes for American soldiers since the Revolutionary War – have so improved since then that today’s ration packs supply the forces with food that is not only nutritious and packed with energy, but quite tasty. The four companies which lead the field of shelf-stable foods with their innovative packaging technologies and stabilization processes are Ameriqual, Sopakco, Wornick and MREStar.

As Napoleon Bonaparte observed, “an army travels on its stomach,” an acknowledgement that soldiers need food that sustains them not only physically, but keeps their morale up as well. From 1775, when colonial soldiers had to forage for some of their own provisions, through World Wars I and II, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, a need to reduce the weight of field loads moved the military food from heavier cans to dehydrated meals with up to 24 entrees, even Kosher and vegetarian selections. Each of the MRE meals provides about 1,200 calories and is self-heating.

Ameriqual Group services not only the US Department of Defense, but major branded food companies as well, producing a full range of flexible and semi-rigid containers for these companies’ use.

In addition to aiding troops stationed overseas, Sopakco has long worked with the government to bring MRE meals to areas devastated by natural disasters, including the millions of Texas victims of Hurricane Ike.

The largest supplier of individual and group rations to the U.S. and international troops, the Wornick Company also supplies MRE to humanitarian and disaster relief agencies

MREstar services private organizations around the world, as well as supplying emergency rations for the DoD/DLA, Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia.

Meals Ready to Eat are also available for civilian use, in military surplus, camping and outdoor stores. The U.S. Government and the Red Cross both advise families to have the resources to survive 72 hours after an emergency situation or natural disaster which makes MRE meals, with their long shelf life, a great choice. Backpackers and campers purchase them because they are easy to carry and to prepare. Why pack a stove if you don’t have to?

Thanks to companies like Ameriqual, Sopakco, Wornick and MREstar, these convenient and portable MRE meals, which were once nicknamed “Mr. E” (mystery) “meals rejected by the enemy” and “meals rarely edible,” soldiers and civilians alike can choose from such entrees as pasta with marinara sauce, chicken and dumplings or beef stew, side dishes like applesauce, snacks, and beverages including lemonade and fruit punch.

As good as home cooking? Pretty darn close. Do you think you could tell the difference? Browse through this site to learn more about the innovative ways MRE meals may soon find their way to your dinner table! And click on the right to compare prices and get the best deal possible!

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