Let’s get something clear — MREs have never been about the flavor of the food. So, when you’re trying to decipher which brands to go with, focus less on the meals themselves and more on how reputable the seller sources are. If you’re lucky, MREs will keep for five years. If you’re not so lucky (and most aren’t), aim for 2-3 months tops and stay hopeful about whatever expiration date is listed.
There are a lot of online retailers offering MREs, but the reality is that many fail to maintain proper conditions that are desperately needed to keep the meal kits edible. To avoid the many pitfalls of packaging, storage, and shipment, most users are smart to look at secondary markets, also known as civilian markets, because these options are created by the same companies that make MREs for the military.
As a buyer, you want to feel confident about the food kits you’re purchasing. To do that, you want to stay loyal to the companies that make the meals fed to the military.
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Here are the most reputable MRE brands to try out:
- Meal Kit Supply – For Canadians, this supplier is a brand to trust because of its close connections with the top subcontractors for MRE creations and selling. Another perk is that the supply also makes breakfast items which is an atypical find among MRE meals.
- XMRE- For those eating Kosher, this supplier is a reputable source. Additional benefits include options for lighter or denser meals based on caloric content. Lighter packages typically feature 1,000-1,200 calories per meal, and the “XT” series increases this content by a few added hundred calories.
- For vegetarians, Sopacko Sure-Pak is a top brand as it is the only option for meals made of entirely vegetarian ingredients. The case comes with 12 meals. For veg-heads and those looking to add in nutritional value, these packs might just be the way to go.
- 72 Hours. These guys sell out fast as they are the premier resource for supplying Canada’s emergency kits. Visit site to see their reputable MRE options. Stick with the brands you know you can trust.
Okay, okay. If you’re still curious about the meals themselves, look over this list of well-considered options. This list of meals was compiled from feedback given by various military personnel and civilians alike, and you know they ain’t lying. Oh, and again, just as a reminder: this is about as mouth-watering as it gets. Yes, I do mean that with as much negative connotation as possible.
Top Tastiest MREs
- Chili Mac- Chili Mac is considered to be a shared favorite among Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel. Plus, it would take a really terrible cook to mess up chili mac. It’s basically a sloppy joe but without the bun.
- Beef Ravioli- Most agree that when it comes to MREs, the simpler, the better. This is why beef ravioli ranks as a top choice across the military. This one happens to come with M&Ms for dessert, which also cranks it up a few spots.
- Beef Stew- Like Chili mac, this one tastes just as good, but with some more veggies added for nutritional value. Healthiness wins!
- Maple Sausage- Most prefer this one around breakfast time, but the maple muffin is a nice change of pace no matter the time of day. Breakfast MREs are tough to come by as it is, making this one a beloved favorite.
- Cheese Tortellini- This meal is the total package. Not only is the cheese tortellini pretty tasty, but the meal also comes with fruits, protein bars, peanut butter, and crackers. The variety sells it for sure.
- Meatballs in Marinara- This one is simple like beef ravioli, which helps with the taste. The jalapeno spread and tortilla chips also add a little zest to the tomato flavor, and the potatoes au gratin, though not so great in taste, do receive an A for fanciness. The dish is a little odd in that it’s LITERALLY in. marinara.: there is no pasta anywhere to be found. But maybe staying low carb is just another perk. (Maybe).
- Pork Rib with Barbeque Sauce- Like a McRib, but with more dignity. Many appreciate the tenderness of the meat and the sweetness of the barbecue.
- Grilled Beef Patty with Jalapeno Pepper Jack-
Again, simplicity really helps to improve the taste. In this one, it’s hard to tell if you’re eating a burger or a meatball, but the beef and cheese combo is hard to beat.
Food is Fuel
Obviously, lowering your expectations on taste helps to improve…well, the taste. All kidding aside, these meals are as delectable as they could possibly be considering that they are meant for, SURVIVAL. A real survivalist would be appreciative of their food, no matter what. Remember how tasty Shia LaBeouf thought those onions were in Holes? I mean really, outside of those circumstances, who wants to bite directly into an onion? If you’re not fortunate enough to stumble upon an onion patch while you’re lost in the wilderness, these meals come in handy. It’s either them or fried bugs on a stick.
When considering what MREs to purchase, remember that when it comes down to it, food is just fuel. If they’re out of chili mac, buy the brisket. It may be salty, and it may be mushy, but its food and food is what will sustain you while you’re out Alexander Supertramp-ing it. Practice thankfulness for your survival meal kits, be grateful that they even exist, and keep them stored in optimal conditions. Ideally, freeze those suckers, and they might just last indefinitely.
Now that you know that astronaut Neapolitan ice cream is not the only option, you can feel empowered by beverage powder, and eating meatballs on their own. Most importantly, you can feel confident in knowing that MREs are best enjoyed with a side helping of gratitude.