If you are interested in MRE meals, this might be because of a couple of reasons. Some people like these meals because they make having a meal wherever one is easy ñ and this can make things like hiking and hunting easier. Other, however, just like having some MREs around as a precautionary measure in the event water and power supplies go out. Whatever your reason is, if you’ve ever shopped for these meals, then you know that there are both military-grade and civilian MRE meals on the market.
While military-grade MRE meals usually do not pack a large assortment of flavors and foods as civilian MREs do, the options these meals offer tend to last longer and are more nutritious. At the same time, military-grade MREs offer more complete meals compared to their civilian counterpart. You should expect to get a snack, beverage, a dessert, a bread item, some spread, and an entree. Military-grade MREs should also have an accessory kit including a spoon, a condiment kit, a napkin, and instant coffee with creamer (non-diary). An FRH or Flameless Ration Heater is often optional.
Civilian-grade MREs are generally mix-and-match, as such, there is no guarantee that you will get a full meal out of a single packet. Therefore, if you are simply stocking up some supplies, then going for military-grade MREs makes more sense. However, this is where things can get a bit tricky.
If you’re a purist, then you probably might want meals made using the exact units the military uses, either in surplus or things that have been made from the same stock supply the DoD or Department of Defense purchases. Just because an MRE meal says it’s military-grade, that doesn’t mean it is military. There are some units out there that are made purely for civilians, and which meet military standards. While practical users probably won’t mind such differences, enthusiasts probably will. If you are an enthusiast, it is advisable that you read a product’s fine print before making any purchase.