MRE MealsMeals Ready to Eat, or MREs were first developed for the United States Military in the late 1970’s, with the first pack being delivered in 1981.  The military was looking for a solution to the problem of keeping solders fed in virtually any situation.  Whether on the front lines of battle, or stationed in a remote area, having a food which could be stored for years, air-dropped in or just carried conveniently was extremely important for the survival of military personal.

The History of MRE Meals

The first version of the MRE’s were given to the 25th Infantry Division in 1981.  This division lived on this food for 34 days, consuming nothing but these MRE’s.  While the troops rated the food as acceptable, they rarely finished their meals.  Only about 60% of the total calories provided in the MREs were consumed, indicating the soldiers were less than thrilled with the product.

Further testing and development went into improving the taste, texture and nutrition of the food contained in MRE’s, until another test was performed with the same division in 1986.  There was a significant improvement on the consumption and acceptance of the food provided.

Ongoing improvements were made ever sense, with a major update coming in 1988 where 9 of the 12 entrees available at the time being replaced.  The portion size was also bumped up from 5oz to 8oz, candies were added to 4 menus and hot sauce to another 4.  The base for cold beverages was also added to all the menus.

Today’s MRE Meals

Today MRE’s are better than ever before.  Using the latest technologies including microwave-assisted thermo stabilization, pressure-assisted thermal stabilization, pasteurized sterilization and more.  Many of the MRE meals look much more appetizing, in addition to retaining more of the nutrients than ever before.  The MRE’s are made and developed as part of the Combat Feeding Program, which is funded by the military.

There are, however, also third party manufacturers which also provide high quality MRE’s for the general public.  Purchasing a MRE from these sources can offer additional variety and price options which wouldn’t otherwise be available.  Many survivalists love having these items on their shelf so they are available in the event of an emergency.  While they might not be as healthy as fresh food, they are certainly an excellent option when you need a fast meal on the run, or when other food sources have been contaminated.

MRE’s of the Future

The Combat Feeding Program, as well as third party manufactures, are working on improving the MRE’s in a variety of ways.  One interesting area of research is concerning nutraceuitcals, which would allow the military to increase muscle usability, which is important in combat situations.  The reduction of the waste created from MRE meals is also a focus for this program.  They are working on creating machines which would use the waste from the food itself, including the packaging and any materials used when air-dropping food in, to power the machinery.

Whether in the military, or simply looking for a convenient way to add some food to the emergency shelves, MRE meals are an excellent option.  They can taste surprisingly good, and last for many years in most any conditions.  MRE’s are also more affordable than ever, making them an excellent choice for anyone who needs a reliable supply of food for any situation.

  1. I’ve been subjected to the meals since 1985…they’ve long since lost what little appeal they originally and have changed quite a bit over the years…some good improvements, some not. The most interesting change though is the development of the vegetarian meals. Because of the growth in military herbivores we now have to allocate a certain portion of our field rations as meat free.

  2. Elise says:

    Awesome! MRE meals are genius.