MRE 101

MREs or Meals Ready to Eat are a marvel of modern survivalist technology. With built in heaters, a respectable 5 year shelf life, and menus that are sure to please, they find popularity with outdoorspeople as readily as with the prepper community.

MREs were developed in the USA as a way to feed soldiers on the move without weighing them down. Ensuring each troop gets 3000 calories or more per day could be a challenge, especially when all that food needed to be hauled, sometimes on foot. Queue the MRE – the ultimate alternative to heavy canned goods.

Most survival meals are freeze dried, meaning they need to be reconstituted with water before they start to look like food. This allows them to have extended shelf lives (up to 25 years) but carrying all that extra water is grossly impractical. MRE meals have some drink mixes/desserts that might ask for water, but for the most part they are ready to eat right out of the bag.

Don’t like your food cold? Me neither! That’s why most MREs are packed with something called a Flameless Meal Heater. These little bags contain a sachet of carefully selected chemicals that react when exposed to water. Add an ounce or so of any water (snow works!) and watch it steam and bubble.

Each emergency meal is packed in sealed mylar pouches to protect them from any residue that the heater pack might create, so they are completely safe to eat after being heated in this way. They’re perfect for picnic’s too!

Why are MREs so difficult to get in Canada?

At this time there are no MRE manufacturers in our fine country* which means all product is imported from the USA. This isn’t unusual in our industry, however the premiere supplier of MREs does something very special that can limit availability of this awesome product.

The manufacturer has contracts in place with FEMA to supply them before any retail orders. This ensures that if rations are needed in a time of crisis, they go to feed hungry mouths instead of sitting in someone’s bunker/basement.

Naturally, this kind of demand is difficult to predict. When wild fires, hurricanes, or flooding disrupt daily life for hundreds, all stock can be diverted to feeding those with immediate need. This is a good thing…

… but can be inconvenient, especially for civilian customers. This is why we urge anyone interested in MREs not to wait for ‘one day’ but to stock up now, when you don’t need them. They have a 5 year shelf life so they’ll be ready to go for that summer camping trip or natural disaster.

This goes double for emergency service coordinators! There are forest fires in Canada (especially Alberta and BC) every year and brave men and women are always out to fight them. Stock up early so they will always have the fuel they need to get their life-saving work done.

*If there are, we haven’t heard of you! Contact us – we’re interested!

The Future of MREs at Total Prepare

We applaud our supplier for ensuring that those facing emergencies have what they need to recover, when they need it, but we also want to make sure that those preparing for future emergencies can get what they need quickly and easily. This is why Total Prepare is working diligently to bring other MRE brands into Canada.

With strict labeling and food inspection laws it can be a long process to get a new quality meal option on the shelves, but we’re getting closer every day. We look forward to offering new MRE choices that ship with the same quick and friendly service our customers have come to expect.

Thank you for reading. Click here to stock up on MREs!

This article was written by Zenia Platten – Author and emergency preparedness professional.

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