Where To Buy MRE Meals? Here’s the Scoop!

Where To Buy MRE Meals

MREs are always useful to have around. You never know when you might need them. You might have forgotten to purchase anything for dinner.

Pull out an MRE and you will have a delicious, quick, and easy meal on hand.

Or maybe the zombie apocalypse strikes and you require meals that do not perish easily and are also easy to carry.

Regardless of why you might need an MRE, it is always a good thing to have in case of emergencies. 

In this article, we will be giving you an in-depth guide on where you can buy MREs.

On top of that, we are going to answer some of your most burning questions about them and of course, we are going to talk about them in general. We will do our best to cover all the basics.

So, without further ado let us delve into the world of MREs.

MRE: What Exactly Is A Meal Ready To Eat?

An MRE, or Meal Ready to Eat, is a military ration of food that has been packaged in airtight packaging and sealed for long-term storage. It requires no cooking or preparation before serving.

This allows an opportunity to eat meals when there is little access to other forms of food, during emergency situations such as natural disasters, or during combat operations in remote areas without the support of local infrastructure.

Because of this, they are commonly referred to as “emergency rations” and are one of the most sought-after items by preppers, backpackers, and hikers looking to survive extreme conditions.

However, since MREs are designed for use during times where food may not always be available (such as on extended backpacking trips or during emergencies), they can also serve as a supplemental food source during periods of scarcity.

Because of their portability and easy-to-prepare nature, MREs have become common staples among both civilians and first responders, particularly those working in more rural areas or who work shifts or overtime that make regular food sources difficult to find or obtain.

Although some MRE flavors vary between different branches of the U.S. military, these meals are often interchangeable.

There are various ways to get the most value out of purchasing a box of MREs, including using them to create a complete camping kit, making them part of a survival kit, or even just keeping a few packs in the car so they’re ready to grab if needed.

While each type of MRE contains a variety of meals and options depending on their purpose, some are more versatile than others. 

There are two types of MRE packs currently available. These include ‘standard’ packaging and ‘flashlight’ packaging.

Standard MRE packs contain four meals per box while flashlight MREs contain three meals.

Both types are made with similar materials but standard MREs tend to be slightly heavier.

Standard MRE packages consist of 4×4 inch rectangular boxes containing six 8 oz. servings of food separated by layers of plastic wrap.

Each box will typically hold about 1,200 calories, 100 grams of protein, 75 milligrams of sodium, and 25 grams of fiber.

They are usually stored in temperatures ranging from 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each 6×8 ounce package should include a main dish entrée, bread or baked item, a side dish, and sometimes a dessert, candy, or other smaller items like seasoning or peanut butter. 

A flashlight MRE packages contain a smaller amount of food compared to standard MRE packs and are made with a thinner plastic wrapper to allow for better heat retention.

Instead of having two separate containers, they instead have one large container divided into thirds.

Each section holds roughly 500 calories and provides 3 ounces of food per section. Each 6×8 ounce package should contain one main dish entrée, bread or baked item, a side dish, and a dessert. 

The MRE can be used as a general emergency food source, especially for people living in remote locations without access to markets or other amenities.

For this reason, they are very useful during times like natural disasters when normal food sources become scarce. It’s also important to note that they are not intended to be long-term food solutions. 

What Is The Point Of An MRE?

MRE packs are often used by civilians, you would be surprised how useful they can be.

Whether you are hiking, hunting, or camping, an MRE pack would be a fantastic supply to bring with you.

But, did you know that MRE packs contain more than just food? They actually come with things like matches, drink packets, and tissues.

For example, if there is a natural disaster like a flood, hurricane, or blizzard, a supply of MRE packs might be your best chance of survival.

They can make a great addition to your food preps.

They are a great choice as an emergency food option because they are compact, and have a very long shelf life if they are stored properly. O

One bulk purchase of MRE packs will last you a long time and might even save your life. 

Do MREs Expire?

Many companies do not display expiration dates on their MRE packs. Because of this, you may have to make your own decision in deciding whether an MRE pack has actually gone bad and is safe to consume.

The best way to make sure your MRE stays fresh for its shelf life is to store it in a place that is 70 degrees or below. If you do this, they should stay usable for up to 5 years after their expiration date. 

Are you unsure how to read an MRE pack’s expiration date? Well, let us explain that to you below. 

Reading An MREs Expiration Date

You can easily read an MREs expiration date by reading them in 2 different ways.

First, look on the side of the box where it says “EXPIRATION DATE”. Underneath that word is another symbol. It looks like a red slash through an octagon.

That means the expiry date is shown inside of an octagonal circle. However, under the same label, you will see 3 arrows pointing to either left, right, or down.

These arrows mean that the MRE will become unusable once it reaches certain temperature levels. To find out what those temperatures are we need to look at the bottom of the box.

There is a small chart showing the expiry dates written next to the temperature symbol.

When the arrow points down beside the temperature mark it means the MRE should remain shelf-stable until the temperature drops below that level.

Conversely, when the arrows point to the right it means the MRE expires sooner at that specific temp.

And finally, when the arrows are pointed straight up it indicates that the MRE should still expire earlier.

So, you now know which direction the arrows are pointing and know what’s good and bad about a particular MRE pack. 

The second way you can tell whether or not an MRE pack has expired is by looking at the expiration date.

This is usually printed near the top of the package. On some MRE packages, this information is very hard to see unless you are standing directly over it.

In such cases, the easiest thing to do is simply turn it upside down.

When you do this your eyes will fall on the bottom line of text.

At the end of this line, you will notice the exact amount of time that this product must be stored before it becomes inedible.

The longer the number, then that means that these products are less likely to go off quickly. So, by using both methods described above you will always know the status of a particular meal. 

A Brief History Of MREs

MREs were invented in the 1950s by US Navy and Air Force scientists working on developing food that could be stored, transported, and eaten without refrigeration or cooking over open flames.

The original meals consisted of dehydrated foods such as beans, rice, pasta, and other simple items.

Over time the menus have been expanded to include more complex entrées, soups, and desserts.

Today’s military-issued meal is called an “Individual Combat ration (ICR)” but it still contains only about 3-4% protein by volume. It can contain up to 400 calories per day depending on how much water you add. 

The United States Department of Defense began developing MREs in the 1970s when they realized that their people needed a more nutritious and balanced meal to be at their peak.

In the early 1980s, the current version of the meal was developed under a contract from General Foods Corporation, known today as Kraft Food Inc.

The first MREs consisted of two main components: a pouch containing freeze-dried soup and meat patties.

Each meal contained around 800 calories. The individual packets provided just enough nourishment to sustain the soldier during his or her mission.

Today, MRE meals continue to develop. New features such as microwaveable meals, pre-cooked products, and even a new line of ready-to-eat snacks have allowed the U.S.

Army to expand its use of the product. Since the inception of the meal, the number of calories, nutrients, and variety has increased dramatically from about 300 calories to nearly 2000!

Let’s Cover The Basics

It is important to note that an MRE is not nearly as good as a home-cooked meal, restaurant, meal, or even takeaway. But despite that, they have their place. 

They are hard to beat when it comes to shelf life and practicality and this is why they are used by most military groups worldwide. 

There is a wide assortment of MRE packs out there so you can get many different meals.

But, the brand of MRE you purchase can have a knock-on effect on the quality of your MRE pack. This is because the quality will vary from brand to brand. 

If you purchase a case of MREs it is most likely to contain 12 packets. In each individual packet, you will have a meal. If you want to use the long this is called a ‘menu item’.

There are often two case variations, they are known as A and B. In case A, for example, you will get menu items from 1 to 12 and in case B you will get the menu items from 13 to 24.

This helps you find a selection you like best this is because you can easily buy the case that has the meals you prefer as opposed to buying both cases and having a bunch of MREs that you do not like. 

At the end of this article we will show you the menu selection for an A case and a B case but for now, let us start reviewing.

Are You Looking For Civilian MREs? 

One of the best things you can do if you want to purchase a civilian MRE is to purchase a Meal Kit Supplies MREs.

This kind of product is made in the USA and is quite high quality. They tend to look different from military MREs, but the foods are almost identical.

Like the military MRE, their expiration date is about 5 years. 

The civilian MREs have the added bonus of having vegetarian meals and being precooked.

This makes them excellent to take with you while you are backpacking, camping, or on a long hike.

Let’s take a look at a few of these products. 

Meal Kit Supply – Emergency Food Ration Packets

With this purchase, you will get 12 packets of meal supply kits.

You can use these for your hiking trips, camping trips, or anywhere else you might need them.

Overall, they are simple meals that you can prepare quite easily while still working almost exactly like military MRE packs. 

XMRE – Lite Meals Ready To Eat

XMRE Lite MRE Meals Military 2022 Bulk | Military Grade MREs | For Survival Kits & Hurricane Preparedness Items | Emergency Food Supplies | Military Food Packs w/Flameless Ration Heater | USA Made
  • US MILITARY GRADE: XMREs Lite are packed fresh, battle tested and follow standards set by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center. Each case contains 12 rations with 3-4 menu options. Each meal provides 600-900 calories of high quality nourishment.
  • EMERGENCY & LAW ENFORCEMENT: XMREs provide maximum nourishment to first responders & public servants for sustained energy. This great tasting kit is fully cooked right out of the pouch for civilians and NGOs in emergency & natural disaster contexts.
  • PORTABLE BALANCED NUTRITION: These delicious menus are nutrient diverse and can be heated in the pouch by the flameless heater. No water or refrigeration needed! When taste and nutrition matter, don’t settle for dehydrated dried meals, choose XMRE!
  • LONG SHELF LIFE: Each survival food meal kit is lightweight, self contained and pre-packaged with utensils in our specially designed portable tamper and water proof pouch. Guaranteed 3 year extended shelf life with proper storage.
  • TRUSTED BY EXPERTS: Made in the USA. XMREs exceed the highest military standards and critical requirements of government institutions, global humanitarian relief organizations, emergency preparedness, survivalists, outdoorsmen and first responders.

This product is military-grade but it is advertised as being for various other activities such as emergency food supplies, law enforcement, and outdoor enthusiasts. The box contains 12 meals which are from menus 3 and 4. 

If you like this product and would like to give it a try but would like to purchase it on an alternate site, check out the XMRE website where you can also find this MRE.

Which Shops Sell Military MREs?

If you want to buy MRE packs you will want one that is fresh. But, a lot of the products you will see online are not as fresh as we would like.

Because of this, we have curated a selection of the best stores you can check out for your MRE purchases. 

We have selected these stores because they store their produce correctly which means that when you get your MRE it is more likely to last long because it has not been stored in a way that would compromise the shelf life or the freshness. 

On top of that, the stores we have selected sell their MREs at a decent price so you do not have to pay an extortionate amount.

This is really good because an MRE box will be quite heavy, so postage may cost a lot. 

Amazon has a great variety of manufacturers where you can purchase MRE packets. On top of that, this website has many of the best prices out there.

So, most of the links we will be sharing with you today will be from Amazon. With that being said, let us start looking at the best places to purchase an MRE pack. 

MRE – Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Ready To Eat Meals 

U.S. Military Meals Ready to Eat (12 Packs) - Flameless Heaters, Freeze Dried Meals w/Entree, Side Dishes, & More - MRE Packs for Emergency Survival, Hunting, & More - Inspection Date 2023 or Better
  • 𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐲-𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐌𝐑𝐄 𝐏𝐚𝐜𝐤: Composed of 12 delicious meal varieties, our MRE meals military case contains 12 Meals-Ready-to-Eat. This army food MRE meal is compatible with and caters to a wide variety of dietary restrictions.
  • 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞: Count on the longevity of our genuine military MREs, meticulously crafted to withstand the test of time. Crafted to endure, the Inspection Date 2023 or Better army MRE food meal boasts a shelf life of 5+ years when stored below 70 degrees, ensuring they're always ready to fuel your adventures, whether it's tomorrow or years down the line. Inspection Date 2023 or Better.
  • 𝐍𝐮𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐑𝐢𝐜𝐡 & 𝐄𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠: Our genuine military MRE meals are designed for maximum endurance and nutrition, with an average of 1250 calories per meal. These us MRE provide the balance of daily nutritional requirements.
  • 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐞 𝐌𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐊𝐢𝐭: Every meals ready to eat military surplus typically features water-activated flameless ration heater, along with an entree, side dish, snacks, beverage powders, and accessory packs. Please note that meal ready to eat flameless ration heaters may not be included with certain meal entrees.
  • 𝐕𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐔𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞: These army meals ready to eat can be utilized for varied civilian activities. Our civilian MRE military food packs are ideal for survival situations, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and as emergency food supply.

This product is a genuine military MRE. There are 12 different meals within the box. You will receive menu variety box A or box B.

They are super easy to store and do not require refrigeration. On top of that, the packages are waterproof.

These MRE packs include a flameless heater and an accessory pack with each meal. Overall, this is a fantastic product if you want a variety of flavors to pick from and good quality MRE packs. 

If you like this product and would like to give it a try but would like to purchase it on an alternate site, check out the Military Depot USA website where you can also find this MRE. 

Sopakco – U.S. Military Surplus MRE Meals Case A (1-12)

Sopakco 12ct US Military Surplus MRE Meals Ready to Eat 2021 Inspect A Case Menus 1-12
  • Each meal kit includes Entree, Sides, Snacks, Drink, Dessert, Accessories and FRH Flameless Ration Heater
  • Lot #8044, 02/2018-pack, 02/2021-inspect. Properly stored MREs have a shelf life of 5 to 7 years or more.

If you want to purchase an MRE and you specifically want to purchase a case A or 1-12 items on this menu. This Sopakco box of 12 U.S. MRE packs will suit you. 

Sopakco – U.S. Military Surplus MRE Meals Case B (13-24)

Sopakco 12ct US Military Surplus MRE Meals Ready to Eat 2021 Inspect B Case Menus 13-24
  • 12 Genuine US Military MRE Meals Ready-to-Eat, Case B with Menus 13-24. Includes one case for 12 meals total.
  • Each meal kit includes Entree, Sides, Snacks, Drink, Dessert, Accessories and Flameless Ration Heater
  • Lot #8044, 02/2018-pack, 02/2021-inspect. Properly stored MREs have a shelf life of 5 to 7 years or more.

Much like the case A MREs, this is the second half of the menu. It includes menu items 13 to 24 and the box contains 12 MRE packs. 

Western Frontier – U.S. Military Surplus MRE Packs Case A And B Bundle

If you want to purchase a bundle, this U.S. military surplus MRE case is a pretty good bargain. You can purchase two crates in this bundle, overall there will be 24 MRE meals.

On top of that one box contains the menus from case A and the other from case B. So you can try out all the options. 

Ammo Can Man – MRE Case A and B Combo

This is another MRE bundle you can purchase. The Ammo Can Man sells case A and case B together or each case separately if you have a preference for one over the other. 

If you like this product and would like to give it a try but would like to purchase it on an alternate site, check out the Long Life Food Depot website where you can also find this MRE. 

Are You Looking For An MRE Cookie Pack?

An MRE Cookie pack is an excellent choice if you have a sweet tooth and want something that is small and lightweight to carry around wherever you are going.

MRE – Cookie Combo 12 Pack

MRE Cookie Combo - 12 Pack
  • 12 Pack Combination of MRE Cookies - contains 4 Oatmeal, 4 Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk and 4 Chocolate Chip. Latest production dates available.

This product contains 12 packs of different cookies you can enjoy whenever you choose.

Some of the flavors you might get may include chocolate chip, oatmeal, banana nut, and several other delectable types of cookies.

So, if you want an MRE that is bound to put smiles on the faces of your hiking companions make sure to check out a cookie MRE pack.

Are You Looking For An MRE Bread Pack?

Bread is one of those things you always use. To make a sandwich you use bread to hold all the good stuff together.

It is a vehicle for countless tasty foods. So, finding an MRE pack that only contains bread, or tortilla is a very useful thing to have. 

MRE – Bread Combo 12 Pack

MRE Bread Combo - 12 Pack
  • 12 Pack Combination of MRE Breads - 3 Tortilla, 3 White Wheat Bread, 3 Italian Bread Sticks and 3 Whole Wheat Split Bread. Latest available Production Dates.

With this product, you will get 12 packs of carbohydrates like tortillas, multigrain bread, white bread, or even Italian breadsticks.

This is a really great purchase to make. They can even be used with products like Mountain House Breakfasts. 

Are You Looking For An Alternative To An MRE?

If you are looking for an alternative to MREs but still want a lightweight meal that is easy to take with you on hikes, camping, or backpacking.

Mountain House Classics are an excellent option if you do not want an MRE but are looking for something similar.

While this product is not military-style in its packaging it works very similarly and ultimately has the same outcome. 

Each bucket that you purchase will come in either a 12 pack or a 24 pack and usually consists of beef stroganoff with noodles, chicken teriyaki with rice, beef stew, lasagna and meat sauce, chicken noodles, and blueberry granola with milk. 

This product is sold in servings, not by meals. This can be confusing to get your head around especially when the packaging is not clearly stating this.

For example, a bucket can come with 58 servings, but that really means that there are 24 pouches inside with two of each meal listed. 

The price of these buckets might seem a little high but they are of excellent quality and the meals that they offer are filling.

Let us take a look at two of These Mountain House Classic Meals below. 

Mountain House Store –  Classic Bucket With 24 Servings

Mountain House Classic Bucket | Freeze Dried Backpacking & Camping Food | 24 Servings
  • DELICIOUS MEAL ASSORTMENT! Savor your next adventure with this easy to carry bucket consisting of 12 total meal pouches that are loaded with unbelievable flavor. This bucket contains 24 total servings of freeze-dried backpacker favorites.
  • NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS OR COLORS - Meals included are (3) pouches of Beef Stew, (3) Beef Stroganoff, (2) Granola with Milk & Blueberries, (2) Classic Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and (2) Chicken Fried Rice.
  • QUICK PREP - Just add hot water to the pouch & eat in less than 10 minutes, with no cleanup. This pouch is wider and shorter, providing a great bowl-like experience. To prepare all meals in this bucket, 18 cups of water will be needed.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT - Meals are freeze-dried to lock in nutrients & freshness and reduce weight. Bucket weighs 5.7 lbs. and measures 12"(L) x 10"(W) x 12.31"(H). Enjoy in the backcountry or on your next camping trip.
  • RECYCLABLE - Recycled used pouches with TerraCycle to reduce waste.

This product contains 24 servings of freeze-dried foods that you can take with you while you are backpacking or camping.

These meals do not contain artificial colors or flavors. They are quick to prepare and perfectly delicious. Exactly what you need after a long day of hiking or camping. 

If you like this product and would like to give it a try but would like to purchase it on an alternate site, check out the Mountain House website where you can also find this MRE. 

Mountain House Store – Scrambled Eggs With Bacon

Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Bacon | Freeze Dried Backpacking & Camping Food | Single Serving | Gluten-Free
  • Ready in 9 Minutes
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Gluten free

If you want an alternative to MREs for your hiking or camping trip this is a viable option for you. This product is a freeze-dried form of scrambled egg and bacon.

You may have to purchase more than one because this product comes in individual packs for the most part. But if you know how many days you are staying somewhere you can easily purchase exactly what you require. 

If you like this product and would like to give it a try but would like to purchase it on an alternate site, check out the Mountain House website where you can also find this MRE. 

Where Can I Buy MREs In Bulk?

Maybe you are a survival enthusiast and want to purchase some MREs in bulk. Or perhaps you are an outdoor enthusiast and frequently use MREs on your excursions.

Regardless of why you are here. You may be in need of a few stores that allow you to purchase MRE packs in bulk. Do not work, we have your back. Below are several stores that are known to sell MREs in bulk for a reasonable price. 

Genuine Military MREs 

1 Pallet of 48 Cases Genuine Military MREs Insp/Test Date 2020
  • 48 CASES PER PALLET MILITARY MREs INSP/TEST DATE FROM 201901 – Chili w/Beans 02 – Shredded Barbeque Beef 03 – Chicken w/Egg Noodles & Vegetables 04 – Spaghetti w/Beef and Sauce 05 – Chicken Chunks 06 – Beef Taco 07 – Brisket Entrée 08 – Meatballs in Marinara Sauce 09 – Beef Stew 10 – Chili and Macaroni 11 – Veggie Crumbles w/Pasta in Taco Style Sauce 12 – Elbow Macaroni and Tomato Sauce 13 – Cheese Tortellini in Tomato Sauce 14 – Spinach Mushrooms & Cream Sauce Fettuccine 15 – Maple Po OR 2020

You can purchase this brand’s MREs in bulk on Amazon. You get some exceptionally high MREs from this company.

At the time of writing, you could purchase a pallet of 48 cases, each case containing 12 meals. 

Western Frontier

This might be a more expensive opinion if you want to purchase MREs in bulk. This is because you can purchase two cases of MREs here for a reasonable price.

But, if you require more than 6 cases of this product it will add up over time exponentially. For a few cases, this is an excellent option. 

Sopakco Meals 

Military MREs Box A and Box B NSP/Test Date 03/2021
  • 01- Chili w/Beans 02 – Shredded Barbeque Beef 03 – Chicken w/Egg Noodles & Vegetables 04 – Spaghetti w/Beef and Sauce 05 – Chicken Chunks 06 – Beef Taco 07 – Brisket Entrée 08 – Meatballs in Marinara Sauce 09 – Beef Stew 10 – Chili and Macaroni 11 – Veggie Crumbles w/Pasta in Taco Style Sauce 12 – Elbow Macaroni and Tomato Sauce 13- cheese Tortellini in Tomato Sauce 14 – Spinach Mushrooms & Cream Sauce Fettuccine 15 – Mexican Style Chicken Stew 16 – Chicken Burrito Bowl 17 – Pork Sausage Patty

This brand is a great alternative for MREs; they sell two cases per purchase.

The price is a bit steep, but these are good quality MREs and you do get 24 servings out of a single purchase.

But, if you need more than two cases this might not be the best option for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You must have a few questions regarding MRE packs. In light of this, we will use this section of the article to answer some of your most burning questions surrounding this topic.

So, without further ado let us begin. 

How Do You Read The Expiration Date On An MRE? 

You can easily understand MRE expiration dates.

The first number of days is how many days before or after your expected travel date that you need to consume your ration pack.

For example, if you are going to be traveling on October 5th, your package should expire on September 25th.

The second number tells me how long until the food is actually expired.

For example, if your package expires on November 1st, then it means that it will no longer contain any edible items by the end of the month.

However, don’t worry!

This does not mean that you cannot use the contents of your pack yet, just that they won’t be safe to eat.

In fact, most people choose to eat their meals right away because they want the full experience.

So the best choice is to buy something that has a “Use By” date as close to the expiration date as possible. 

What Is The Difference Between An MRE Entrée And An MRE Meal? 

The difference between an MRE entrée and an MRE meal is that one is served as part of a meal, while the other is served by itself.

For example, if you are serving food for a group then the entrées are usually easier or more readily available than the meals.

An example of an MRE entrée could be macaroni and cheese with meatballs, which is served either plain in a pouch or mixed with meat sauce which is poured into a separate container.

Another example of an MRE entrée is a dessert bar. These are basically snack boxes filled with desserts and pastries.

An example of an MRE meal could be spaghetti and meatballs, which is eaten directly from its packaging without any additional preparation.

Each type of ration has its own advantages and disadvantages so choose wisely which best fits your needs.

The most important thing when storing these rations is to keep them away from sunlight, heat, moisture, and other damaging factors.

How Do You Tell If An MRE Is Expired?

You can tell if an MRE is expired if it has a date printed on it.

Some of these dates are actually part of the packaging, however, they might be hard to see or even easier to make up.

The most commonplace for them to be is on the packaging itself. 

It is critical to note that many stores have their own versions of this information printed on the package, so please check carefully.

But, what happens when you take your MRE off the shelf?

The best thing to do is to keep your MRE closed securely with the seal tight against the foil.

The MRE will still be good for months, years, even decades, depending on how well-sealed it was.

If the seal is cracked or comes apart, then the contents of the MRE may become damaged and spoil over time.

Other Things That Could Happen Include

The meal pouch inside the MRE becomes exposed.

This means moisture vapor from the food contained within could start to build up between the film layers causing them to break down and potentially cause damage to the inside of the bag.

You should throw away any MRE that does not close completely.

Food remains trapped under the aluminum foil.

Most of the time this won’t harm anything; however, sometimes this trapped food can get moist and moldy, which could lead to bacteria building up.

It’s also possible for a small amount of food debris to enter the MRE through microscopic cracks in the film and foil layers.

Although the chances of this occurring are low, the chance increases as more time passes. You should throw away all MREs that cannot close properly.

Can You Eat An Expired MRE?

MREs can last up to over 10 years and still be safe to eat. But they are not invincible and can spoil.

The same goes for almost every type of canned or packaged food that we buy.

So, it’s wise to always inspect your food before opening it and use care when handling the opened packages. 

What Is The Difference Between Military And Civilian MRE?

Military and civilian MRE are almost the same with a few exceptions. They both contain 24-36 individual pouches each containing about 600 calories.

The main difference is that military MREs come in larger bags since they are intended to support large groups of soldiers at once.

In order to achieve this goal, the food used is often bulkier to prevent anyone from running out of food too quickly. 

Military MREs are designed to support large groups of people such as soldiers.

In order to reach the calorie count needed to provide everyone with enough nutrition, the MRE is much bigger than a regular civilian MRE.

This makes it very difficult to carry around because it weighs as much as 20 pounds!

A civilian MRE is smaller than a military MRE at only 18 pounds.

This is due to the fact that civilians don’t need to feed large groups of people at once, so they can fit the weight into a smaller container.

There is no difference in how long an MRE lasts after being cooked.

However, there is a difference in storage temperature requirements.

Military meals must be stored at -20 degrees Celsius whereas civilian MREs can be kept anywhere above freezing temperatures (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Let’s Look At a List Of Meals for Case A and Case B


You are probably curious what kind of meals you could end up with if you purchase.

So, we have made a list of the meals you would receive for Case A and Case B.

This way you can get a better idea of what you will be purchasing. 

Main Meal 

  • Menu 1 – Chili with Beans
  • Menu 2 – Shredded Barbecue Beef
  • Menu 3 – Chicken with Noodles
  • Menu 4 – Spaghetti with Beef and Sauce
  • Menu 5 – Chicken Chunks
  • Menu 6 – Beef Taco
  • Menu 7 – Brisket Entrée
  • Menu 8 – Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
  • Menu 9 – Beef Stew
  • Menu 10 – Chili and Macaroni
  • Menu 11 – Veggie Crumbles with Pasta in Taco Style Sauce
  • Menu 12 – Vegetarian Elbow Macaroni and Tomato Sauce

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Cheese Tortellini in Tomato Sauce
  • Menu 14 – Vegetarian Spinach, Mushrooms and Cream Sauce Fettuccine
  • Menu 15 – Maple Pork Sausage Patty
  • Menu 16 – Rib Shaped BBQ Pork Patty
  • Menu 17 – Mexican Style Chicken Stew
  • Menu 18 – Beef Ravioli in Meat Sauce
  • Menu 19 – Grilled Jalapeño Pepper Jack Beef Patty
  • Menu 20 – Hash Brown Potatoes with Bacon
  • Menu 21 – Lemon Pepper Tuna
  • Menu 22 – Asian Style Beef Strips with Vegetables
  • Menu 23 – Chicken Pesto Pasta
  • Menu 24 – Southwest Beef and Black Beans

Side Dish

  • Menu 1 – None
  • Menu 2 – Seasoned Black Beans
  • Menu 3 – Wet Pack Fruits
  • Menu 4 – Infused and Dried Fruits
  • Menu 5 – None
  • Menu 6 – Wet Pack Fruits
  • Menu 7 – Au Grain Potatoes
  • Menu 8 – Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Menu 9 – None
  • Menu 10 – None
  • Menu 11 – Wet Pack Fruits
  • Menu 12 – Nuts and Raisins

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Nuts and Raisins
  • Menu 14 – None
  • Menu 15 – None
  • Menu 16 – Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans
  • Menu 17 – Wet Pack Fruits
  • Menu 18 – None
  • Menu 19 – Cherry Blueberry Cobbler
  • Menu 20 – Pepper and Onions
  • Menu 21 – None
  • Menu 22 – Fried Rice and Chunky Peanut Butter
  • Menu 23 – None
  • Menu 24 – Spiced Apples

Bread Or Cracker

  • Menu 1 – Trans Fat-Free Crackers or Trans Fat-Free Corn Bread
  • Menu 2 – Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Spread  or Trans Fat-Free Tortillas
  • Menu 3 – Trans Fat-Free Cracker
  • Menu 4 – Multigrain Snack Bread
  • Menu 5 – Tortillas
  • Menu 6 – Tortillas
  • Menu 7 – Snack Bread
  • Menu 8 – Italian Bread Sticks
  • Menu 9 – None
  • Menu 10 – Crackers
  • Menu 11 – Crackers
  • Menu 12 – Snack Bread

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Crackers
  • Menu 14 – Crackers
  • Menu 15 – Crackers
  • Menu 16 – Wheat Snack Bread with Twin Pack
  • Menu 17 – Vegetable Crackers
  • Menu 18 – Wheat Snack Bread
  • Menu 19 – Twin Pack Wheat Snack Bread
  • Menu 20 – Crackers
  • Menu 21 – Tortillas
  • Menu 22 – Snack Bread
  • Menu 23 – Snack Bread
  • Menu 24 – Chipotle Tortillas


  • Menu 1 – None
  • Menu 2 – None
  • Menu 3 – None
  • Menu 4 – Toaster Pastry
  • Menu 5 – None
  • Menu 6 – Nuts and Raisins with Chocolate Disks
  • Menu 7 – Cookies
  • Menu 8 – Cookies
  • Menu 9 – Fudge Brownie
  • Menu 10 – Pound Cake
  • Menu 11 – None
  • Menu 12 – None

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Dessert Powder
  • Menu 14 – None
  • Menu 15 – Maple Muffin Top
  • Menu 16 – None
  • Menu 17 – None
  • Menu 18 – Muffin Top Chocolate Banana
  • Menu 19 – Cookies
  • Menu 20 – Granola with Milk and Blueberries
  • Menu 21 – Pound Cake
  • Menu 22 – None
  • Menu 23 – A Filled Bakery Item and Patriotic Sugars
  • Menu 24 – Pound Cakes

Candy Included?

  • Menu 1 – None
  • Menu 2 – None
  • Menu 3 – Yes
  • Menu 4 – None
  • Menu 5 – Yes
  • Menu 6 – None
  • Menu 7 – Yes
  • Menu 8 – None
  • Menu 9 – None
  • Menu 10 – Yes
  • Menu 11 – None
  • Menu 12 – Yes

Case B

  • Menu 13 – None
  • Menu 14 – None
  • Menu 15 – None
  • Menu 16 – None
  • Menu 17 – Yes
  • Menu 18 – None
  • Menu 19 – None
  • Menu 20 – None
  • Menu 21 – None
  • Menu 22 – Yes
  • Menu 23 – None
  • Menu 24 – None

Heating Element Included?

  • Menu 1 – Yes
  • Menu 2 – Yes
  • Menu 3 – Yes
  • Menu 4 – Yes
  • Menu 5 – Yes
  • Menu 6 – Yes
  • Menu 7 – Yes
  • Menu 8 – Yes
  • Menu 9 – Yes
  • Menu 10 – Yes
  • Menu 11 – Yes
  • Menu 12 – Yes

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Yes
  • Menu 14 – Yes
  • Menu 15 – Yes
  • Menu 16 – Yes
  • Menu 17 – Yes
  • Menu 18 – Yes
  • Menu 19 – Yes
  • Menu 20 – Yes
  • Menu 21 – Yes
  • Menu 22 – Yes
  • Menu 23 – Yes
  • Menu 24 – Yes

Misc Included Items

  • Menu 1 – Cheese Filled Snack Food
  • Menu 2 – BBQ Sauce or Infused and Dried Fruits
  • Menu 3 – Jam/Jelly and Peanut Butter and Hot Sauce
  • Menu 4 – Jam/Jelly and Peanut Butter
  • Menu 5 – First Strike Bar and Hot Sauce and Cheddar Cheese Spread
  • Menu 6 – Blend Spice and Seasoning and Cheddar Cheese Spread
  • Menu 7 – Jam/Jelly and Peanut  Butter
  • Menu 8 – Jalapeño Cheese Spread and Beef Snack
  • Menu 9 – Jam/Jelly and Pretzels and Peanut Butter
  • Menu 10 – Beef Snack Crushed Red Pepper Spice and Jalapeño Cheese Spread
  • Menu 11 – Nuts and Lime Hot Sauce and First Strike Bar and Chunky Peanut Butter
  • Menu 12 – Hot Sauce and Cheese Spread

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Hot Sauce
  • Menu 14 – Peanut Butter and Pretzels and First Strike Bar
  • Menu 15 – Nuts and Table Syrup and Peanut Butter
  • Menu 16 – Ranger Bar and Jam/Jelly and BBQ Sauce and Peanut Butter
  • Menu 17 – Crushed Red Pepper Spice and Cheese Filled Snack Food and Jalapeño Cheese Spread
  • Menu 18 – Meat Snack and Cheddar Cheese Spread
  • Menu 19 – Ketchup and Mustard and Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Spread and Bacon
  • Menu 20 – Nuts and Raisins and Cheddar Cheese Spread
  • Menu 21 – Fat-Free Mayo and Chocolate Peanut Butter and Snack Food
  • Menu 22 – Jam/Jelly
  • Menu 23 – Cheddar Cheese Spread
  • Menu 24 – Meat Snack

Beverage Powder

  • Menu 1 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 2 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 3 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 4 – Cocoa Beverage Powder
  • Menu 5 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 6 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 7 – Irish Cream Cappuccino Mix
  • Menu 8 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 9 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 10 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 11 – French Vanilla Cappuccino
  • Menu 12 – Chocolate Protein Drink

Case B

  • Menu 13 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 14 – Chocolate Protein Drink
  • Menu 15 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 16 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 17 – Chocolate Hazelnut Cocoa Powder
  • Menu 18 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 19 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 20 – Sugar-Free Orange Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 21 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 22 – Chocolate Cocoa Beverage Powder
  • Menu 23 – Carbohydrate Fortified Beverage Powder
  • Menu 24 – Mocha Cappuccino Drink Mix

Final Thoughts

That’s all for this article. We hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as we did writing it.

We are always looking to write more about the subject of emergency preparedness and survival, so if there are any topics you would like us to write about please feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts or have any questions. 

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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