Industry Undercover: Dirty Little Secrets of Civilian MREs News, Foreign MRE FAQs, and Guides

 We’re going to pull the mask off civilian MREs and's ugly.


Misinformation, expired food, high prices and sometimes just plain risky business.

Ever been browsing around military surplus or Army/Navy stores and bump into the MREs?

There are LOTS of civilian MREs on the market, it’s easy to be bamboozled. 

 We’ve been all over the US and boy have we seen some things.

 We are going in depth and undercover to show you the difference

The civilian MREs are NOT the real deal

Here’s why (see image below):

  • Inferior Contents - only the Dept of Defense and select other government agencies can procure most “real” military MRE components. From cakes to coffee, legit military MREs aren’t civilian products….period.
  • They have to roll their own - Most civilian MRE companies have to make due with leftover meals, menus no one wants, abandoned stock, and even grocery store products to complete their “MRE”.
  • They cut every corner - Legit military MREs must meet rigorous specifications for contents, nutrition, shelf life, and packaging. Civilian MREs cannot duplicate the contents and container of a military MRE. Even if they could, the cost would be prohibitive. Cheap clear bags resulting in dangerous moldy food.

Civilian MREs purchased Sept 2023 -

Cheapest lowest quality contents possible with some kind of homemade cookies - $9

830 calories shown below vs military standard of 1,300 calories

Expired 2021 - cheap main, cheap inferior contents (Tootsie Roll, Poptart), inferior heater, incomplete accessory packet. 

Expired in 2021: packaging also has a shelf life, this is sometimes the result. 

Improperly stored MREs - TTI sticker shows well past the safe zone 

Red Flags - beware if you spot these!

  • False Promises:they’re the same thing the military uses” – Not true for numerous reasons we will detail below.
  • Crazy Prices: Single MREs, years expired for $12-$14!? For comparison, we sell 2023 production REAL military MREs for about $13.33 shipped anywhere in the US.
  • Expired Dates: Surplus is well…surplus. Items are released because they are outdated, out of spec, just plain wrong or obsolete. Disaster waiting to happen. 

From a local store Sept 2023: late 2017 production which means it expired in 2020!


  • Not showing what’s inside: A shady tactic, obscuring the actual contents, whatever is cheap and available. Chicken salad and Vegetarian Taco Pasta anyone? 

  • Marketing Buzzwords: “Military grade”, “XT”, all designed to make you think you’re buying the real thing.


Side by side comparison of civilian MRE vs USA military MRE

Note the difference in the amount of food, quality of the contents, variety, and packaging.

Civilian MRE (above) with inferior contents, less food, and mostly sugar.

Military MRE: top quality contents, meat, protein, fruit, electrolytes, tough packaging


Bottom line: Civilian MREs are inferior, cost as much or more than legit military MREs.

Only purchase legit military MREs if you have the choice!

We offer the highest quality military MREs in the world here:


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#beginners guide#guide#guides#MRE#MRE basics#mre buyers guide#product guide

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