Many people know that MRE stands for Meal Ready to Eat and that they are used by the US Military but few know the history behind this innovative and life sustaining product.
MREs first came into existence in 1981 to replace the heavy canned Meal, Combat, Individual Rations (MCI) meals that had been in use since the Civial War in the 1860s. The full meals consisted mostly of beef, peas, and rice. Over time the military tried various methods to reduce weight, one effort was to send troops dried or salted meats so that they could carry the meals with them.
The Department of Defense began development of Meals Ready to Eat in 1963 in which modern food preparation and packaging technologies were being implemented to help bring down the weight of the rations. Various versions were experimented with over time to better serve their purpose.
Other interesting MRE Facts
- Commercial graphics were added to packaging in 1994 as studies showed increased consumption by the troops
- In 1984 biodegradeable spoons were introduced for a friendlier environmental impact.
- Military grade MRE are not available to the public but the same manufacturers create civilian MREs that are legal to supply to the public.
- MRE cases must be able to withstand a 1,250 foot parachute drop.