Average Calories Per MRE:
Entrées in 12-pack
MRE stands for Meal, Ready-to-Eat. MREs are manufactured both for the government—primarily for military use, but they are also used for other field operations such as providing food to US Forest Service firefighter crews and to civilians during a disaster relief effort—and to private citizens. This guide will help you determine the best MRE brand for 2018.
As its name suggests, a Meal Ready-to-Eat (MRE) contains a full, ready-to-eat meal sealed inside a durable, water-proof plastic pouch. MREs are designed to last approximately five years, but they may remain edible for longer (I have heard reports of up to ten years, but I do not advise using them past their expiration date.)
In some ways, an MRE is a ready-made survival kit that contains most of the things that you need to survive a catastrophic event (drinking water is the notable exception.)
Our winner for the best MRE brand in 2018 is the standard US Military MREs (which are manufactured by Ameriqual, Sopakco, or Wornick).
Since these MREs are utilized by the US Military, Forest Service, and other US government branches, they are required to meet a high standard of quality. Additionally, since they are designed for combat conditions, the pouches are waterproof and extremely durable, and the MREs contain waterproof matches and toilet paper, which may come in handy in a survival situation.
The civilian brands of MREs are either made by one of the three mentioned companies that manufacture military MREs, or the civilian brands emulate and attempt to copy the military MREs as closely as possible. This ostensibly indicates that the military MREs are a "gold standard" and the model for civilian MREs
In addition to to the high quality standards of the military MREs, they also contain some items, such as waterproof matches, that the civilian MRE brands do not. For example, not all civilian brands include a ration heater, but the military MREs do include one.
Finally, the military MREs have a wide selection of menu items, with 24 distinct meals, while the civilian MRE brands contain, at most, 12 distinct meal options.
Therefore, due to its high quality and extra accessories, the genuine United States military MRE is our winner for the Best MRE Brand 2018 title.
The typical contents and features of the US military MRE include:
The following six MREs form the list of the Best MRE Brand 2018 Runners-Up.
Like Wornick and Sopakco, Ameriqual is one of the three official manufacturers of the US military MREs; their APack Ready Meal product is their offering to the civilian market. Generally the civilian versions of the MREs are extremely close to the US military MREs, but they lack matches and toilet paper, among other minor differences in presentation and menu composition.
In terms of caloric content, the APack Ready Meal averages 1075 calories per meal, which is on the lower end of the MREs featured in this guide. Despite this, their website claims that two meals are adequate for the caloric needs of an individual.
Ameriqual markets the APack Ready Meal as a "self-eating emergency meal," which is exactly what a person needs in a survival situation. In general, in order to be adequately prepared for a disaster, each household should have 72 hours (3 full days) worth of food and water. Accordingly, Ameriqual recommends a case of 12 meals for every two people (2 people x 2 meals per day x 3 days = 12 meals.)
The typical contents and features of the Ameriqual APack Ready Meal:
Like Ameriqual and Sopakco, Wornick is one of the three official manufacturers of the US military MREs; they assert their presence on the civilian market with their Eversafe product. The packaging looks quite similar to that of the official US military MREs, which makes sense since Wornick is one of the three manufacturers of official US MREs. Of course, unlike the official US MREs, the Eversafe lacks matches, gum, and toilet paper.
Due to the fact that Wornick also manufacturers official US military MREs, which SurvivalAxis has named the best MRE brand, and the fact that the Eversafe MRE looks nearly indistinguishable from the official US military MREs, the Eversafe is a good alternative to the official military MREs.
The manufacturer's website does not contain much information regarding the Eversafe, and it states that the product must be purchased from them by the pallet. Fortunately, other websites, mainly Amazon, are resellers of the product.
The typical contents and features of the Wornick Eversafe:
From their website: "All Meal Kit Supply MREs are made by a US Department of Defense contractor and all food components are US military MRE ration components. These meals are the closest you can get to Military MREs without breaking the law!" Note that, even though the official US military MREs display the warning "U.S. Government Property, Commercial Resale is Unlawful", no laws actually prohibit the sale of MREs, unless it is by military personnel.
Notice that Meal Kit Supply offers two varieties, the full three-course, 1200 calorie meals shown on the left, and the two-course 700 calorie meals shown on the right. Their differences and features are described below.
Comparison of Meal Kit Supply Products
Type of Meals in Each Case:
Number of Meals Per Case:
Average Calories Per Meal:
Note that if you decide to buy the 2-course, 700 calorie meals, care must be taken to ensure that you purchase sufficient caloric content for your needs (i.e. enough food for each person for 72 hours.)
Like Ameriqual and Wornick, Sopakco is one of the three official manufacturers of the US military MREs. The Sure-Pak represents their civilian product, which has much in common with their official US military product. From their website: "Because MREs are strictly reserved for military use, SOPAKCO created SurePak-12 Meals for public consumption. We employ the same technologies we use to make the military meals."
The manufacturer charges $85.45 for the option that includes the flameless ration heater (on the left in the diagram above) and $79.45 for the option that does not include the flameless ration heater (on the right in the diagram above).
Their website highlights the main differences between their military MREs and their Sure-Pak product: "Military MREs contain an average of 1,250 calories per meal. Sure-Pak Meals contain 900 to 1,250 calories per meal. Military MREs contain extra items not included in Sure-Pak Meals such as gum, candy, toilet paper, and hot sauce."
Unlike Ameriqual, Sopakco, and Wornick, MRE Star does not manufacture MREs for the US military; however, MRE Star has supplied US government agencies such as the FBI, DHS, and NASA. Their product matches closely with the official US military MREs. On their website, they sell a box of 12 with the flameless ration heater for $109.95, and a box of 12 without the FRH for $99.95. There are 6 different menus, averaging 1250 calories.
The typical contents and features of the MRE Star (showing the option that includes the flameless ration heater):
Unlike Ameriqual, Sopakco, and Wornick, XMRE does not manufacture MREs for the US military; however, XMRE Star products resemble the official MREs, and they do market their product to the government. XMRE has the most flexible buying options on their website compared to the other civilian brands.
XMRE has several different product lines, which can be purchased individually or in cases, where the number portion of the name of each product indicates the average number of calories per meal. The product lineup includes 1000XT, 1300XT, 2200XT, 3000XT, and a line of halal MREs. The 1300XT product most closely resembles the official US military MRE in terms of caloric content and presentation, and that is the product that this review focuses on.
The typical contents and features of the XMRE 1300XT:
This concludes the SurvivalAxis buying guide for the Best MRE Brand 2018. We hope this guide was helpful to you. Feel free to comment below and share this guide on you social media!