Did you know that an average person in the United States will consume about 28 kilograms of ready to eat foods over 12 months?
Also, 45% of the people buy ready to eat food is because they don’t have time to cook at home.
This shows that Meals Ready-to-Eat is a growing industry, especially with increasing demands. When Shit Hit the Fan (SHTF), you’ll be grateful
MREs, which are also known as ‘Meals Ready to Eat’, ‘Meal, ready to Excrete’, ‘Meal, Rarely Edible’ are really well-known in the survival industry because of their ability to be kept long-term and you’ll be able to consume them anytime, anywhere.
A MRE is a food package that should include everything you need to prepare and eat the contents inside the package. This means that you’ll be able to eat them with zero preparation. However, if you’re looking to pack your own MREs, you can check out our article: DIY MRE to Stockpile.
- 1 Best MREs Comparison Table
- 2 Best MREs
in the Market
- 2.1 1. Cheese Tortellini
- 2.2 Genuine Military MRE Meal (Cheese Tortellini) by USGI
- 2.3 Sopakco Sure-Pak MRE
- 2.4 2. Macaroni and Chili
- 2.5 MRE’s US Military Chili Macaroni MRE
- 2.6 Captain Dave’s 12 Military MRE Entrees
- 2.7 3. Western Frontier MRE 2020
- 2.8 MRE Menu (A-Case)
- 2.9 MRE Menu (B-Case)
- 2.10 4. Individual Ration Pack Military MRE
- 2.11 5. Survival Tabs Non-GMO Emergency Food Ration
- 3 How to choose the best MREs
- 4 Conclusion
Best MREs Comparison Table
|Image||Product||Price||Weight||Calories (Per Meal)||Benefits|
|Cheese Tortellini||Check BEST Price||20 pounds||1200 calories||This is one of the
best tasting MREs
that is jam-
|Macaroni and Chili||Check BEST Price||0.5 pounds||1250 calories||Another popular
MRE that is
accepted to be
tasty and suitable
to consume in an
|XMRE Blue||Check BEST Price||21 pounds||1250 calories||The MRE has 12
and it's a full-set
of MRE too.
|IRP MRE||Check BEST Price||3.75 pounds||3700 calories||A full-set of MRE
that is jam-
calories and it's
made with 100%
|Survival Tabs||Check BEST Price||1.8 pounds||2880 calories||Get this if you
want an MRE that
Best MREs in the Market
Cheese Tortellini is one of the most popular MRE because it’s just so good. In fact, it’s one of the most popular MRE hence why it’s number 1 on the list.
Note: Currently, all the products which individually sells Cheese Tortellini is unavailable. However, I’ve reviewed a pack of MREs with factory sealed packets that contain the Cheese Tortellini MRE pack as a ration.
I’ll be doing this review a bit differently where I’ll review these 2 products which contain Cheese tortellini separately (since they are in fact separate products).
Product Dimension – The box is pretty small, which means it’s pretty easy to keep. The product dimension is around 12 inches x 8 inches x 6 inches.
Fresh Inspection Dates – You can bet that the inspection dates on each package should be newer than September 2017. This means that the MRE has a longer shelf life.
Weight – The MRE weighs around 2 pounds.
Calories – For each USGI Cheese Tortellini MRE, they’ll have 1250 calories per meal.
Includes accessory pack – The Cheese Tortellini MRE also comes with an accessory pack that contains flavor enhancing seasonings, matches, toilet paper and important survival essentials.
Ideal for Outdoors/ Emergencies– If you’re going to the outdoors to hike or hunt, or you’re just preparing for emergencies, the Cheese Tortellini MRE Meal by USGI would be a great option.
Jam-Packed with Nutrients – Besides tasting good, the Cheese Tortellini MRE by USGI is jam-packed with nutrients and calories, which is needed in a survival situation.
Genuine Military MRE Rations – The USGI Cheese Tortellini MRE comes with genuine military MRE ration.
Comes with Warming Pouch – The Cheese Tortellini MRE comes with a warmer pouch which means you’ll be able to get warm food anywhere, anytime.
Time Temperature Indicator – The box will come with a Time Temperature Indicator on top of the case.
Get what the Military is getting – By having this MRE you’re basically getting what the US Military troop is getting when they’re in combat. This means that you’re getting high-quality rations.
Awesome Taste – Great pasta, tasty First Strike Chocolate fruit bar, awesome lemon lime electrolyte drink and delicious instant coffee.
Satisfy your Nutritional Needs – These MREs are definitely capable of satisfying your much-needed nutrition for camping, hiking or any emergency situations.
Product Dimension – The box has a dimension of 16 inches x 11.5 inches x 10 inches.
Fresh Inspection Dates – For this package, you can expect to have an inspection date of 2015 or above.
Do note that only the manufacture date and inspection date will be stated. There won’t be any expiry dates stated on the box.
Weight – This box of MRE weighs around 20 pounds.
Calories – The MRE contains 1200 calories per meal.
Contains a Full Meal – For each meal, it will contain an entrée, a dessert, crackers, peanut butter, cheese spread, beverage powder and a spoon.
Assorted meals – You’ll be getting 14 assorted meals if you purchase this box. Here’s a list of the main entrees:
- Sloppy Joe
- Penne Pasta
- Chili Mac
- Meatballs in Marinara
- Veggie Lasagna
- Beef Patty
- Cheese Tortellini
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Asian Beef
- Chicken with Noodles
Ideal for Outdoors/ Emergencies– Similarly, since each packet is portable, lightweight and it’s made with durable packaging, you can bring it around easily – making it ideal for camping, hunting trips and even bugging out scenarios.
Flameless Ration heater – You will be able to eat a hot meal anywhere too – each packet comes with a flameless ration heater.
Get Filled – If you’re looking to get filled and eat sufficiently, this meal is definitely for you.
Also, you’ll be able to eat a warm meal since there’s a chemical heater that comes with this.
|Get this if you want awesome tasting food||You get limited nutrients|
|Most popular type of MRE|
This is extremely well-known favorite amongst militaries. Similarly, there isn’t any individual MREs. Hence, I’ll be doing a 2-part review, reviewing an individual product that only contains chili and macaroni and another package where one of the products contains chili and macaroni.
Product Dimension – Each packet of Chili Macaroni MRE has a product dimension of 12 inches x 8 inches x 6 inches.
Weight – The US Military Chili Macaroni MRE weighs 1.6 pounds.
Fresh Inspection Dates – You can expect the inspection dates to be at least from January 2018 or with a longer shelf life.
Calories – Each packet would contain 1250 calories per meal.
Shelf Life – If the MRE is well-kept, it should be able to last for at least 5.5 years.
Get the full set – Besides the main entrée, you will be getting:
- Chili and Macaroni
- Pound Cake, Trans Fat Free*
- Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread
- Vegetable Crackers
- Meat Snacks*
- Candy I*
- Beverage Powder, Carbohydrate Electrolyte*
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Accessory Packet A
If you want to know more about this, you can check out MREInfo.com.
Perfect for the outdoors – Since the package is lightweight and jam-packed with calories, it’s perfect for camping and emergencies.
Time Temperature Indicator – The MRE will come with a Time Temperature Indicator found on top of the case.
Get the entire kit – Besides the main entrée, you’ll be getting the side dish, drinks, the flameless ration heater and the accessory pouch.
Awesome taste – You will be surprised at how good this MRE tasted – besides having a long shelf life, you’ll get good tasting food during an emergency. Delicious briskets, tasty mash potatoes and an awesome tasting chili macaroni.
Entrees only – Take note that Captain Dave’s MRE only has entrees, you can’t get the complete meal set.
Product Dimension – The product dimension is 9.3 inches x 7.3 inches x 5.4 inches.
Weight – Each entrée weighs around 8 ounces.
Varying Menu Selection – The menu selection varies but it will include at least 6 different main dishes.
Here’s a list of the entrée:
- Beef Stew
- Turkey Chilli w/Beans
- BBQ Chicken w/ Black Beans & Potatoes
- Chicken Noodle Stew
- Chicken with Rice and Vegetables
- Beef Taco
- Lentil Stew with Potatoes and Ham
- Chicken Fajitas
- Vegetable Stew with Beef
- Macaroni and Beef
- Chicken with Noodles & Vegetables
- Pinto Bean Stew
- Asian Style Beef
- Chicken /Tomatoes
- Pasta w/Marinara Sauce & Veggie crumbles (Vegetarian)
- Cheese Tortellini (Vegetarian)
Note: that the standard package contains random assortment and it will include 6 different entrees.
Get only the main meals – If you want only the main entrée, Captain Dave’s MRE Entrée should be the meal you purchase.
No heating pouches – Since they only provide the main entrée, you need to get the heating pouches separately.
Awesome if you don’t want the side dishes – If you don’t want any bulky pouches with a chemical heater or side dishes, this is the perfect find.
No plastic wrappers… no stale crackers… only the main entrée.
Great for Trips – Be it a hiking trip or a hunting trip, getting Captain dave’s main entrée would definitely be suitable.
|Awesome tasting main entrée||May not have a fresh inspection date|
|Great for hunting/ hiking trips|
If you are looking for authentic US War Fighter rations which has all the good stuffs including all the necessary vitamins and calorie density, the Western Frontier MRE 2020 will be for you.
Characteristics of the Western Frontier MRE 2020
Product Dimension – If you want to know the product dimension of the box in general, it’s 16 inches x 9 inches x 11 inches (for EACH box).
Weight – If you purchase the A-Case MRE, it will weigh roughly 21 pounds.
If you purchase both A-case and B-Case MREs, it’ll weigh 39.9 pounds.
Calories Per Meal – You’ll be able to get roughly 1250 calories per meal.
What is Included – The XMRE Blue include genuine US War Fighter Rations which is meticulously inspected and verified to be fresh and suitable for consumption.
If you’re getting the XMRE Blue case, you’ll be getting 12 different meals per case.
Take note that the Western Frontier MRE 2020 includes A CASE and B CASE.
I can only list down the menu one by one for each of the package because this is as clear as it gets.
Note: If you buy particularly the MRE 2020 boxes with A-Case, you’ll get 12 packs of meals (as illustrated below for A-Case from Menu #1 – #12).
B-Case meals are pretty unique where you’ll only be able to get it here.
A-CASE (Menu #1 – Menu #12)
MRE Menu (A-Case)
B-CASE (Menu #13 – Menu #24)
MRE Menu (B-Case)
Here’s a summarized version for each of the menu:
Case A: Menus 1-12
Case B: Menus 13-24
Menus (more details below):
1 – Chili with beans
2 – Beef shredded, in barbecue sauce
3 – Chicken with egg noodles and vegetables in sauce
4 – Spaghetti with beef and sauce
5 – Chicken chunks
6 – Beef taco
7 – Brisket entrée
8 – Meatballs in marinara sauce
9 – Beef stew
10 – Chili and macaroni
11 – Vegetable crumbles with pasta in taco sauce
12 – Elbow Macaroni
13 – Cheese tortellini and tomato sauce
14 – Creamy Spinach Fettuccini
15 – Mexican style chicken stew
16 – Chicken Burrito Bowl
17 – Pork sausage patty, maple flavor
18 – Beef ravioli in meat sauce
19 – Beef patty jalapeno pepper jack
20 – Hashbrown Potatoes w/ bacon, pepper & onions
21 – Tuna with lemon pepper
22 – Asian style beef strips w/ vegetables
23 – Chicken pesto pasta
24 – Southwest style beef and black beans
So, What’s the difference?
Case A has meatballs, garlic mashed potatoes, and Italian breadsticks menu included, unlike Case B.
Options Available – There are several bundles which you can choose from including:
Features of the Western Frontier MRE 2020
Packaging Date stamped on Individual Meal Bags – Each of the meal bags are stamped with a date code so that you’ll clearly know when they are manufactured.
Flameless Heaters – Each meal comes with the flameless heater – which is a water-activated exothermic chemical heater. You’ll be able to enjoy a healthy and warm meal.
Each of the meals contain standard heaters where they only require water and waiting a few minutes for your food to heat up.
Inspection Dates – Each of the case will have an inspection date disclosed on the case, which is really useful for helping you ensure that the MRE is safe to consume.
Really Fast Shipping – If you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll be able to get the cases you bought in time for you to carry out your emergency preparation plans.
Contains Accessory Pack – This MRE comes with an accessory pack where you’ll be able to get flavor enhancing seasonings, toilet papers and other survival essentials with this MRE.
Time Temperature Indicator – The boxes comes with a ‘Time Temperature Indicator’ which is a dark circle that indicates whether the package has been sitting under warm temperature.
If you notice that the Western Frontier Inspection Sticker is missing from the box, you can ask for a full refund for the product as it’s not original.
This was done in an effort to help prevent people from consuming stale or expired MREs. If it’s properly sealed, the contents are verified to be suitable for long-term storage and ready for immediate consumption.
Avoid storing in high temperature – It’s commonly known that MREs will only be able to last according to the advertised shelf life only if it’s kept at a cool temperature.
Here’s a general indication of the effects of surrounding temperature to the actual shelf life of the food:
– If you store the MRE at 70° Fahrenheit, it should be able to last for 5 years and 6 months.
– if you store it at 80° Fahrenheit, it should be able to last for 4 years.
– If you store it with surrounding temperature of 90° Fahrenheit, it’ll generally last for 2 years and 6 months.
– If you store the MRE with surrounding temperature of 100° Fahrenheit, it will likely have a shelf life of 1.5 years.
Therefore, I would recommend storing the MREs in cool and dry places. However, I wouldn’t recommend keeping it in freezing temperature because it may damage the seal on the pouches.
XMRE Blue have Case A and B selected at random – For the XMRE Blue Line, you’ll be getting Case A or B at random. As explained above, Case A would be meals from Menu #1 to #12 while Case B would be meals from Menu #13 to #24.
Great for getting the much-needed macronutrients – MREs are highly popular in-demand because they are really convenient to bring around, has sufficient calorie density and have a good balance of macronutrients.
Get Fresh and Awesome Tasting Food – The XMRE Blue Line does make an effort to provide fresh, really tasty and long shelf-life military MREs.
Quality Guaranteed – Western Frontier goes through the hassle of inspecting the MREs ensuring that every meal they prepared are ready for consumption.
This means that unlike most MREs you find in the market which are expired or have a pale taste, you’ll be getting MREs which have their quality guaranteed.
Get What the Military is Getting – These MREs are manufactured to sustain United States’ Military troops during combat.
Suitable Grab and Go Food – If you want a supply of grab and go food when you’re forced to bug out from your house, this MRE option would be ideal.
Since the MRE has the full ‘military style’ content such as coming with a side dish (a fruit or muffin top), peanut butter or crackers and even an accessory package (such as toilet paper, seasoning and spoon).
This means you’ll be able to eat the MREs anywhere, anytime.
Pre-Packaged Long-term survival meals – These meals are made to last for years and are meant to be edible anywhere, anytime. If you want some backup meal just in case if a flood hits your area or there is a blackout for a few days, this would be one of the best options.
You’ll Get the Full Set – Each meal bag contains the flameless ration heater and bag, cardboard heating sleeve, eating utensils, a hot beverage bag, moist towelettes, desert and water-based beverage.
|Quality of food is guaranteed||Cases are selected at random|
|Provides sufficient calories|
|Designed to give enough nutrients|
Characteristics of the Individual Ration Pack Military MRE
Product Dimension – This product has a product dimension of 11.8 inches x 7.7 inches x 2.6 inches.
Weight – The IRP Military MRE has a weight of 3.75 pounds.
Calories – Each IRP Military MRE would contain 3700 kcal for each pack.
What does it contain – There are different menus for different IRP Military MREs. I can show one example of it here to give you a rough idea. Here’s menu #6:
- Vegetable/ Meat tray
- Rice and Meat tray
- 1 tray of meat
- 2- Teas
- 1 powdered drink
- 3 packs of biscuits/crackers
- 1 cheese spread
- 1 protein bar
- Little can of tuna/fish
- Little Can of tomato spread
- 1 pack of jelly
- Salt, Sugar
- Hand Wipes
- Burner and Fuel
- 3 Spoons
Features of the Individual Ration Pack Military MRE
100% Natural Ingredients – The IRP MRE are made from 100% natural ingredients. This is one of the unique features of a Russian Military MRE is that all MREs will be made from high-quality natural ingredients. This means you’ll be getting the finest military food.
Despite it being 100% natural, the taste is still pretty good.
Waterproof Package – The package is pretty solid especially where it’s made to be waterproof.
Solid Packaging – It is usually the case where in military operations, the military has to face harsh weather conditions. Hence, this packaging of the military MRE is made to be durable, waterproof and resistant to UV rays.
This means that although you toss and turn the MRE when you’re camping, hunting or even hiking, you’ll still get to eat your MRE as its still intact.
Full Day Rations – Unlike most MREs that are one-ration meal, the IRP Military MRE is a 24-hour ration where you can be confident that you’ll get enough vitamins and calories for a whole 24 hours by having this packet of MRE.
Be careful with the dates – The fact that the date 2019 is printed on the packaging means that the MRE is manufactured in 2019, and it does not mean that it has expired.
Taste pretty stale – The main entre tastes okay, while the crackers that comes with the MRE has zero salt content, which makes it taste a bit stale. However, considering that this is an MRE which is supposed to be nutritious food when you’re starving, I don’t think this would be much of a problem.
Heat up your meat – Instead of eating cold chunks of fat, I would recommend heating up the meat so that they are tastier.
Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts – The IRP MRE is excellent for outdoor enthusiasts especially those planning to go camping or hiking.
Eat what the Russian Military is eating – If you eat the IRP Military MRE, you are basically eating food by the Russian military.
These Military MREs are stored in durable packages so that it can be kept for years. Furthermore, the food is meant to provide the soldier with the much-needed well-balanced ration at least for 1 full day.
Great if you want MRE that lasts for 24-hours – The IRP Military MRE contains sufficient food and drinks to feed one person for 24 hours.
Tastes like Actual Food – Unlike most US MREs, this Russian MRE tastes like actual food – which is food you cook without adding any flavors or preservatives.
|Full Day Ration||Taste Pretty Stale|
|100% Natural Ingredients|
Although this is not a genuine MRE, I would recommend the Survival Tabs as a ‘substituted’ version of MREs. If you’re looking for something lightweight and is pumped with nutrition, the survival tabs is definitely something to look out for.
Characteristics of the Survival Tabs Non-GMO Emergency Food Ration
Flavor – The Survival tab has a mixed flavor.
How much does it contain – For each purchase, you’ll be getting 4 contains where each container will have 180 tablets. This means you’ll be getting a total of 720 tablets for each purchaser!
Servings – You should take at least 12 chewable tablets per meal.
Calories – The tablets contain at least 20 calories per tab.
Weight – The weight of each bottle is 1.8 pounds.
Product Dimension – The product dimension for each bottle is 7.5 inches (L) x 5 inches (W) x 2.75 inches (D).
25-year shelf life – Even after more than 20 years being stored in room temperature, the Survival Tabs will still contain all the essential vitamins. There will be minimal deterioration.
Nutritional Value – Here’s a summary of nutrition 12 tablets would contain:
Iron 18 mg. (as Ferrous Fumarate) and Other minerals (from milk solids) 2%
Vitamins – Here’s a list of the vitamins available:
Vitamin A…….. ….. 5,000 I.U…….. …100%
Vitamin D…….. ….. 400 I.U. ………….100%
Vitamin E………. … 30 E.I.U. ………….100%
Thiamine (B1). ….. 1.5 mg. ………….100%
Riboflavin … ……….1.7 mg. ………….100%
Niacin … ……………20.0 mg. ………….100%
Pyridoxine (B6)….. 2.0 mg. …………..100%
Folic Acid … ………0.4 mg. …………….100%
Vitamin B12 … ……3.0 mg. ……………100%
Vitamin C … ……….60.0 mg. ………….100%
Features of the Survival Tabs Non-GMO Emergency Food Ration
Easy Storage – The Survival Tabs is made with a compact design, making it really easy for storage. This would mean that the survival tabs are ideal for individual emergency kits as well.
Contains all 15 essential vitamins – This SHTF Bugout food is made to contain all 15 essential vitamins and minerals. The Survival Tabs is made with high-quality protein while being gluten free and it does not contain any genetically modified organism.
Sustain for 60-Days – The Survival Tabs will be able to help one person to sustain for at least 60 days. Of course, this calculation by the Survival tab is made for the average person and there may be unique cases especially when consumption requirements may vary for different persons.
Note: This means that each container will have enough nutrients for your body for 15 days.
Allows your body to absorb 99% of Calorie Content – For most food that we consume, 30% to 60% of the calorie content leaves the body unused.
As for the survival tabs, it is made with a concentrated formula where 99% of the calorie content will be absorbed into the body with 97% of the protein content being available for repairing muscles in your body.
Don’t worry about freezing temperature – Freezing temperatures will have little to no effect on these tablets.
Prefect for Bugging out scenarios – Since the Survival Tabs are lightweight and are jam packed with nutrients, they are ideal for bugging out scenarios.
It’s considered to be the ‘Just in Case’ food supply, made to be a SHTF Bugout food backpack.
When there’s a natural disaster such as a flood or an earthquake, the survival tabs can help supply your body with all the necessary nutrients despite having only a small volume.
Helps you assimilate in any situation – The Survival Tabs is filled with enough vitamins to help your body assimilate in tough survival situations.
Great Back-Up for Emergencies – If your area is hit by natural disasters or you’re stranded outdoors, the Survival Tabs is a great back-up food.
When you’re in a SHTF situation, you’ll appreciate that you got these with you especially when it’s better than nothing.
Since you’ll only have limited food choices, rationing with the Survival Tabs would be useful.
You’ll definitely feel more reassured if you have the Survival Tabs kept somewhere.
Great Bang for the Buck – Unlike most MREs or freeze dried food, you’ll be getting food for value – which is sufficient calories for minimal cost. They’re great for keeping you alive in any survival situations.
|Small, compact and easy to carry||Not genuine MRE|
|Great to act as back-up for emergencies|
|Contains all essential vitamins|
How to choose the best MREs
1. Check out how long the MRE can last
Remember to check the date of manufacture and inspection date. Also, take note of whether the MRE is kept in warm or cool conditions too.
Only if the MRE has a long shelf life, it will be suitable for survival situations.
2. Make sure that the MRE comes in solid packaging
Make sure that the packaging isn’t damaged in any way. Only if the MRE is stored properly in a solid container, it’ll be able to last. If the box is damaged in any way and you found out that oxygen managed to get in, try to contact the seller and inform him about this.
3. Knowing what you want
You have to know clearly what you are looking out for when you’re buying MREs.
Are you looking out for vegan MREs or those filled with meat?
Do you want your MRE to come with other goodies such as a brisket as a side dish, drink powders and heaters?
Or, would you prefer only buying the main entrée because you like to prepare the set of MRE by yourself?
Only after you’ve got all these questions answered, only then you’ll be able to get the set of MRE that you want.
4. Check out the nutrition
Whenever you get an MRE, always check out what vitamins the MRE can give you and how much calories the MRE can supply. During a SHTF situation you’ll want to make sure you get all the good stuff into your body and make sure your body don’t get sick or weak during such a critical situation.
5. Make sure they’re delicious
Although taste is a factor, I wouldn’t give too much weight to this criterion. During a SHTF situation, you won’t be too concerned about the taste of your food. When you’re hungry, every food will taste pretty good!
Also, since whether a food is considered tasty is a subjective question, I can’t really substantiate this criterion. As long as it’s tasty to you, that MRE should be a good fit.
I hope that the in-depth review helped make it really clear which is the best MRE for you. I’ve covered all the important aspects including taste, what each MRE include and what nutrients they contain. Depending on your personal preference, I’m sure you will make the best choice for your current situation.
With the best MREs kept safely at home, I’m sure we can face any emergency situations!