MREs are the butt of most ex-military and preparedness minded people’s jokes. For a reason, the military ready to eat (MRE) meals have come down a long road from where they started in the early 60s. Here we are over 50 years later and a lot has changed with these tough packaged meals. Continue to read our Heater Meals review to see what we thought about them!
Heater Meals is a lower sodium version of an MRE intended for the general public and typical emergency use by relief organizations like The Red Cross. Heater meals are distributed by Innotech Products who is better known for their MRE flameless heaters that are widely used by MRE manufacturers around the nation.
Our experience with Heater Meals started with the Green Pepper Steak with Rice. This 3/4 lb entree felt substantial unlike some MRE entrees we have had before. It looked fairly different than a normal MRE. The food was inside a plastic tub with a peel off cover instead of the traditional greenish brown metalized pouch you see when dealing with military versions.
Nonetheless the manufacturer makes a shelf life claim of 5 years on the EX version, 3 year shelf life on the 3 version and a 2 year shelf life on the normal version. There is no reason to not believe in these claims, they supply the US government and have to pass stringent tests to be able to be a provider so if anything these claims are probably conservative.
Enough gibber jabber, how did the meal taste? How easy was it to prepare? Good and easy (respectively). The meal slid easily into the flameless heater and the supplied water pouch opened up easily. After pouring it in we quickly folded the heater and tucked everything back in the cardboard box. We gave the food about 10 minutes to heat up and it was nice and hot.
After a cooling off period we opened up the supplied utensils and dug in. My 4 year old tasted it and found no complaint. My wife thought it could use a little more flavor (I agreed) so we cracked open the seasoning packet that came with it and was able to actually enjoy the food. Yes you read that right ENJOYED and MRE in the same paragraph!
While the food was tasty we thought the low sodium pitch was somewhat gimmicky. 95% of people eating these are going to use the seasoning/salt/pepper packets. I guess the ability to not add it is nice for those on a strict low sodium diets. Often with emergency food sodium is pretty high so it is nice to see the whole entree only taking up 20% of the recommended sodium intake.
Our biggest knock on the Heater Meals are the cost. At just under $5 an entree these are pricey compared to their MRE brothers. Yes they have 12 ounces of food as opposed to 8 ounces (50% more) but you can get most MRE entrees for around $2.75. Almost half the cost. If the Heater Meal was 16 ounces then it would be a level playing field. Click here to check out Roberts Technology Group which provides best wrapping of the meals.
In the end if you don’t mind the extra cost and would prefer a more civilian specific meal nutritionally speaking, the Heater Meals are a great option. They have a very good shelf life (for this type of product) and are super easy to use. Those are a couple of the easiest takeaways from our Heater Meals review.
This chart above shows nutritional information for a typical MRE full meal vs the Heater Meals 3 Full meal. That concludes our Heater Meals Review.
Check them out here