Meals ready to eat or in other word MREs are the operational food ration for the soldier’s in the United States Armed Forces. The MRE was developed first in 1980 and is still used as the primary ration for the US Army.
The package of MRE contains following components:
- The main course (entrée) like beef stew or spaghetti
- Side dish like rice, fruit, corn, mashed potatoes, etc
- Bread or cracker
- Dessert which includes cookies or pound cakes
- Spread which may be jellies, cheese spread or peanut butter
- Beverages like coffee, tea, dairy shakes, etc
- Some MREs includes hot sauce as well
- Flameless Ration Heater, that can be used to heat the main course/entrée
- Accessories like sugar, salt, spoon, matches, chewing gum, tissue papers, etc
On an average of 1200 to 1500 calories can be obtained from a single MRE. As mentioned by the name itself, MREs are meals ready to eat i.e. one can simply unwrap and eat it. But it tastes better when it is heated. That is why the heater and matches are also included in the MRE so that if it is possible, the MREs can be heated before having it.
The soldiers have the option to select from up to 24 entrees of the MREs. The MREs are packed in such a way that it can withstand parachute drops from a height of 1250 feet. The largest provider of MRE to the US Military is AmeriQual, an Evansville-headquartered company which was founded in 1987. However, military grade MREs are also available to civilian through private label manufacturers such as XMRE, Eversafe MREs or MRE Giant.