MRE Meals

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat – commonly known as the MRE – is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging originally bought by the United States military for its service members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available. The MRE replaced the canned MCI, or Meal, Combat, Individual rations, in 1981.

MRE History and development

After repeated experiences dating from before World War II, US officials ultimately realized that simply providing a nutritionally balanced meal in the field was not adequate. Service members in various geographic regions and combat situations often required different subsets of ingredients for food to be considered palatable over long periods. Moreover, catering to individual tastes and preferences encourages service members to actually consume the whole ration and its nutrition. Most importantly, the use of specialized forces in extreme environments and the necessity of carrying increasingly heavy field loads while on foot during extended missions required significantly lighter alternatives to standard canned wet rations.

Nutritional Composition

A key factor in the preparation of long shelf life food is to ensure that the final products are of a quality to provide the consumer with a meal that is enjoyed at any time.

It has been shown in numerous studies that an active male of average size will consume around 17 500 kj per day. To ensure individuals are able to maintain high levels of performance, energy should be maintained by eating nutritious meals.

Should the individual not receive sufficient kj they will use reserves and for extended periods of time this could cause weight and energy loss.

Single meal MRE

Each meal provides approximately 1,200 Calories (1,200 kcal or 5,000 kJ). They are intended to be eaten for a maximum of 21 days (the assumption is that logistics units can provide fresh food rations by then), and have a shelf life of three years (depending on storage conditions).

Packaging requirements are strict. MREs must be able to withstand parachute drops from 380 meters, and non-parachute drops of 15 meters. The packaging is required to maintain a minimum shelf life of three and a half years at 27 °C, nine months at 38 °C, and short durations from −51 °C to 49 ° must be sustainable.

Each MRE weighs 510 to 1240 grams depending on the menu. Since MREs contain water, they weigh more than freeze-dried meals providing equivalent calories but this format was found to be more convenient as the food did not require extended periods of heating to infuse the water back into the pack.

24 Hour pack MRE

The 24 hour pack is formulated to provide 3000 calories (3000 kcal or 14000 Kj) and follows the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner formats with a range of meals, beverages and snacks to compliment the main entrees.

A typical pack would include porridge oats or granola for breakfast, tea or coffee, crackers cheese and biscuits. The main meal would have an entrée and a starch with an energy bar or fruit.

The evening meal could also include a soup, an entrée and a snack with tea and coffee to follow.

MRE Users

MRE are sold primarily to the military but over time significant markets have developed for individuals and companies alike purchasing the items for personal use, tactical operations, and security personnel due to the convenience and delicious nutrition they offer.

Military

Military operations are a key user of the MRE with the packs being favored by operations around the world. Given the menu development for African and Middle Eastern operations end users should be used to the type of food and the preparation style, a criticism of the current packs sourced internationally. There has been no compromise on the packing specifications and shelf life.

Outdoor

The uses in the outdoor market are numerous. From the day fishing trip or the weekend away to the strenuous mountain climb, the MRE is ideal accompaniment for the outdoor enthusiast. Packed with 14 000 kj the 24 hour pack will provide both ongoing sustenance and the range of options will ensure that meal fatigue will not occur. The snacks and beverages will provide that energy boost when needed during the day. The packaging is ideal for fitting into hiking packs, fishing bags or mountaineering rucksacks and packs can be vacuum sealed for extra slim fitting A special range using the extreme cuisine branding is marketed through outdoor, sport and camping stores.

Disaster

SMRE is an ideal enabler for disaster relief. In areas of floods and natural disasters, it is often not possible to erect kitchens or to cook. The meals are easily opened, heated and consumed. The flexibility in meal choice and their long shelf life allows for inexpensive meals to be stored by disaster relief agencies for extended periods of time that in the event of a disaster that the meals can be quickly deployed.

Our Food Quality

  • No expense has been spared in the selection of meat and vegetables and we prepare our meals using the same meat as is found in the leading premier supermarkets in South Africa. To achieve this we ensure our beef maintains the following standards.
  • Strict supplier checks- We only use approved abattoirs and suppliers who comply with strict criteria relating to standards of hygiene; structure and maintenance; total quality management; and ethics.
  • Annual audits- Our abattoirs and suppliers undergo independent annual audits on hygiene and people ethics.
  • Stringent hygiene standards -Our suppliers perform constant checks on the temperature of raw materials, pH levels post slaughter, and micro-organism and bacteria counts of raw materials, and ensure traceability throughout processing.
  • Animal welfare Animal- Welfare is a high priority and we do have regular audits at farms and abattoirs to ensure that the animals are treated as humanely as possible.

Trace-ability and grades- We don’t want you to be confused about what meat you’re eating, so we specify the grade of meat used in every product. Our meat is also traceable to the abattoir. Our chicken is also of a top quality and we differentiate ourselves by:

  • Chicken feed- Our chickens feed on a diet that is free from animal by-products and consists only of grains and pulses.
  • Matured for succulence- Our skinless breast fillets are matured on the bone for a minimum of 8 hours to ensure that the meat is tender and succulent. When we mature the breast fillets, the enzymes naturally present in the poultry meat, start breaking down the proteins and tenderize the meat so that you get juicy chicken breasts, every time.
  • Air-chilled chicken- We air-chill our chickens, rather than water chill. Air chilling helps to maintain the natural juices and flavor of the chicken with no excess water absorption. This means you're only paying for chicken, and not water.
  • Perfectly trimmed -We, we are perfectionists when it comes to removing unwanted excess fat, skin and bone.

  

Key features

Shelf life

Our pack has been engineered for a long shelf life

  • With cheese wedges 9 months
  • Shelf life of meals 3 years stored at 20 degrees out of direct sunlight
  • Powder products 2 years
  • Biscuits 2 years
  • Snacks dried fruit 2 years

  

Robust Packing

A key feature is the packs are engineered to withstand vigorous conditions when in the field.

MRE Meals are packed in a box for added strength and durability.

Biscuits are vacuum sealed for strength, long shelf life and rigidity to avoid breakages.

The outer pack is vacuum sealed to allow for rigidity and strength and to ensure the contents do not get wet. Vacuum sealing also improves the shelf life by removing a considerable amount of air in the packs.

A 5 layer coextruded material is used in the pack for retail markets where the client may want to see the contents of the pack through the layer and on request the pack could be sealed in a foil laminate for extra shelf life and protection.

Cross contamination

The pack is engineered to ensure there are no smells that are allowed to permeate the contents of another item. As a result the fuel tablets are individually packed; tea and beverage packs are individually sealed.

Space

Packs are vacuum sealed to ensure packs use the least amount of space possible. They are also packed flat to ensure that 4 or 5 packs fit easily into a carry bag.

 

10 Hour MRE Contents

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
           
Main Meal Beef casserole
Maize pap
Chicken curry
Rice
Chicken casserole
Rice
Savoury Mince
Tortilla
Spicy Chicken 
Pilaf
           
Beverage Isotonic Drink
Coffee Sachet
Tea Sachet
Coffee creamer
Isotonic Drink
Coffee Sachet
Tea Sachet
Coffee creamer
Isotonic Drink
Coffee Sachet
Tea Sachet
Coffee creamer
Isotonic Drink
Coffee Sachet
Tea Sachet
Coffee creamer
Isotonic Drink
Coffee Sachet
Tea Sachet
Coffee creamer 
           
Snack  Sweets
Raisins
Biscuit 25g 
Cheese Spread
Jam
Sweets
Fruit Cubes
Biscuit 25g
Cheese Spread
Jam
Sweets
Peanuts
Biscuit 25g
Cheese Spread
Jam
Sweets
Raisins
Biscuit 25g
Chesse Spread
Jam
 Sweets
Fruit Cubes
Biscuit 25g
Cheese Spread
Jam
           
Utility Fuel Tablets x3
Heating dish
Spoon
Matches
Fuel Tablets x3
Heating dish
Spoon 
Matches
Fuel Tablets x3
Heating dish
Spoon
Matches
Fuel Tablets x3
Heating dish
Spoon
Matches
Fuel Tablets x3
Heating dish
Spoon
Matches

 

 

24 Hour MRE Contents

 

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
           
Breakfast Porridge oats 80g Porridge maize 80g Muesli with milk mix 80g Porridge oats 80g Porridge Maize 80g
           
Main Meal Beef casserole
Pap
Chicken curry
Rice
Chicken casserole
Rice
Savoury mince
Wraps
Spicy chicken
Rice
           
Second Meal Chicken casserole
Wrap
Beef casserole
Pap
Beef curry
Pap
Beef casserole
Pap
Savoury mince
Wrap
           
Beverage  Isotonic drink 2x50g
Coffee x2
Tea sachet
Coffee/Tea creamer 3x8g
Isotonic drink 2x50g
Coffee x2
Tea sachet
Coffee/Tea creamer 3x8g
Isotonic drink 2x50g
Coffee x2
Tea sachet
Coffee/Tea creamer 3x8g
Isotonic drink 2x50g
Coffee x2
Tea sachet
Coffee/Tea creamer 3x8g
Isotonic drink 2x50g
Coffee x2
Tea sachet
Coffee/Tea creamer 3x8g
           
Snack Pack Sweets 30g
Energy bar
Biscuits 50g
Cheese spread
Jam
Tomato sauce
Sweets 30g
Energy bar
Biscuits 50g
Cheese spread
Jam
Tomato sauce
Sweets 30g
Energy bar
Biscuits 50g
Cheese spread
Jam
Tomato sauce
Sweets 30g
Energy bar
Biscuits 50g
Cheese spread
Jam
Tomato sauce
Sweets 30g
Energy bar
Biscuits 50g
Cheese spread
Jam
Tomato sauce
           
Utility  Heating dish
Fuel tablets x6
Bags for drinks
Spoon, knife, fork
Matches
Heating dish
Fuel tablets x6
Bags for drinks
Spoon, knife, fork
Matches
Heating dish
Fuel tablets x6
Bags for drinks
Spoon, knife, fork
Matches
Heating dish
Fuel tablets x6
Bags for drinks
Spoon, knife, fork
Matches
Heating dish
Fuel tablets x6
Bags for drinks
Spoon, knife, fork
Matches