Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) have come a long way in the last 20 years. First developed as a replacement for the Long Range Patrol (LRP) ration, MREs were first created to improve taste, cost, and ease of use compared to predecessors. Over time they have improved but they still fight the rap that they’re the last thing you’ll want to eat.
Today we’ll take a look at one of the newer entrants to the market from Meal Kit Supply, in particular their Case of 12 3-course meals kit. Keep on reading to see if the reputation is accurate or if this case of 12 MREs will buck the trend like to many other newer MREs.
Today’s MREs are much improved. I’d venture to guess if you heated up a can of Dinty Moore stew or Spaghettios from the store then conducted a blind taste test with an equivalent MRE meal that not only would it be close to 50/50 in some cases the MRE would beat out the canned meal.
We tried each of the entrees from the Meal Kit Supply’s 3-course meals. To our surprise there was a good mix of breakfast entrees like the Apple Rolled Oats and Strawberry Pastry (think Pop Tart). Everyone of them was good. Some were great. For example our favorite was the chicken fajita. This seriously tasty fajita comes with onions and peppers with real chicken chunks. While I had tried this before what was exciting to me was that there were tortillas that came with it. We have tried a lot of MREs before and had never seen tortillas and surprisingly they were good. I expected cardboard but they were far from it.
All of the 3-course meals come with an entrée, side or sometimes a second entree, gatorade type drink powder, chocolate drink mix, cracker or other bread like item and an accompanying spread, hot sauce, cookie or brownie, coffee packet with creamer and utensils. That is one solid meal with variety and a fair amount of calories (1350 on average).
Not one of the entrees was something you wanted to pass on. As with all shelf stable food options these days they are best when an appetite has been worked up. We were not a fan of a couple of the sides like the wheat snack bread but overall you will have no problem downing every item in the box. Even picky eaters will have plenty to find.
Ease of Use
There are no easier options when it comes to preparing a hot meal away from home. Unlike freeze dried meals, like Mountain House, you don’t need a stove or spoon or even water to warm up an MRE. Simply open up the packaging, pour water into the flameless heater sleeve and place the entrée on top. 10 minutes later you are eating a hot meal. Can’t get easier than that.
Unlike the MRE Star full-meals we reviewed recently, the Meal Kit Supply case of 12 came with flameles heaters. A big plus. While that was great to know we were a little bummed that unlike the A-Pack Case-of-12 MREs they didn’t come with the water packet that activates the flameless heater. In the end it’s not a huge problem as you’ll likely be carrying water with you and you only need a few ounces for each heater.
Another nice feature and unique feature from the Meal Kit Supply kit is the Julian date explanation on the box. Simple to understand imprint lets you know how to check the production date of your MRE items, their site also has a Julian Code calculator which we found useful. The transparency is refreshing in an industry where you have to sometimes second guess how old your “new” food is.
We gave the Meal Kit Supply MRE’s a 4 in our review just like we have in other MRE reviews. They are no different in their capability compared to other military rations but when you compare them to freeze-dried foods like Mountain House pouches that can get many years more than MREs.
Meal Kit Supply had a nice temperature range chart to let you know how long your food will be good when stored at various temps. As you can see you’ll get 5 years when you store the MREs in about 70 degrees. A pretty fair shelf life.
At first look the retail price of $130 (with free shipping) seemed a bit steep compared to some kits that we can get shipped to our door for around 100-110. But you come to Top Food Storage Reviews for a reason, we break things down thoroughly to tell the whole picture. In the case of MRE cases (pun intended) not all are created equal. Ameriqual’s offering can often be had for around $100 shipped. It too comes with 12 full meals but their meals average about 1,050 calories while Meal Kit Supply’s full meal MREs average 1,350 calories. That is a difference of 22%, while the price difference is 23%. Basically a wash. Calorie for calorie these two are within pennies of being the same price per calorie.
Something interesting we learned during our review is that Meal Kit Supply does not manufacturer the entrees. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as there are literally just a few companies that make these meals. The foods came from a variety of well known Government contractors such as Sopacko. The real value that Meal Kit Supply provides is building full meals that make sense. Example, looking back at our awesome fajita meal (check out our video below) it came with tortillas and a nice soup for a side. All three items complimented each other. Also there were breakfast options that I hadn’t see in other Case of 12 MREs. That is especially nice as eating beef stew for breakfast can be depressing at times.
Overall the wide variety of sides, entrees, drinks, spices/seasonings, snacks, desserts, utensils, wet naps, ect was great. We didn’t tire eating the same thing.
It was evident early on as we conducted our Meal Kit Supply review that it’s on par with the top MRE full meal options in the market. We liked it better than MRE Star’s full meal offering and see it as very similar to the A-Pack Case of 12. The variety and thought put into the configuration gives it really high marks while the only real complaint was the lack of water packets to get the flameless heaters going. In the end not a big deal, a small chink in the armor and that’s why we fully recommend the Meal Kit Supply 12 Case of 3-Course MREs.