After learning that MREs can last a pretty long time, you’ve decided to stock up. You’re looking for snacks and entrees and okay, maybe a few desserts. How much do MREs cost?
The cost of MREs varies, but prices may start as low as $2 and cost up to $18.99. The manufacturer as well as the type of food (meal versus snack versus side dish) can affect the price of an MRE, as can packaging and shipping.
Are you looking for even more information on the costs of MREs? Perhaps you want some low-cost options so you can buy in bulk on the cheap. Well, you’re in luck, as that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article. Make sure you keep reading!
Table of Contents
1. How Much Do MREs Cost?
2. Low-Cost MRE Examples
3. High-Cost MRE Examples
4. The Cheapest MREs in Bulk
a. MRE Box B Genuine U.S. Military Surplus, Menus 13-24
b. MRE Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Assorted Flavor 6-Pack
c. Sopakco 24-Count U.S. Military Surplus MREs
d. Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Ready to Eat Meals 12-Pack
5. The Cheapest MRE Meal Options (Entrees)
a. MREs Genuine U.S. Military Surplus
b. Ultimate U.S. Military MRE Spaghetti with Beef Sauce
c. MRE Beef Stew Entrees 6-Pack
d. MRE Chicken Burrito Bowl 2-Pack with Dessert
6. The Cheapest MRE Meal Options (Snacks)
a. MRE Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread 24-Pack
b. MRE Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread 24-Pack
c. MRE Chunky Peanut Butter Spread 24-Pack
d. MRE Cheddar Cheese Spread 24-Pack
7. Why Are MREs Expensive?
8. Study on Single MRE Prices (Cheapest MREs)
a. Cheapest Single MRE Entrees
b. Cheapest Single MRE Side Dish
c. Cheapest Single MRE Snack
d. Cheapest Single MRE Dessert
How Much Do MREs Cost?
Meals, ready to eat or MREs are often used by the military, supplying them with the nourishment and nutrients they need to do their rigorous work. MREs are popular with civilians as well, including ruckers. Yet how much do they cost?
The cheapest MREs are available for under $5 and the most expensive ones cost almost $20 a pop. Yes, that’s a pretty big price discrepancy, so let’s provide some examples that will make clearer why some MREs are more expensive than others.
Low-Cost MRE Examples
The cheapest MRE we’ve come across (and we’ve researched MREs extensively) is Sterling Foods’ applesauce cake for $2.
ALL MREs also has a variety of cheap desserts for $2.50, including their chocolate banana nut muffin top, marble pound cake, vanilla pound cake, applesauce pound cake, and lemon pound cake.
What can $2.99 get you? MRE Star has several MREs for that price, but they’re mostly side dishes. They include MRE Star’s long-grain white rice and regular white rice.
High-Cost MRE Examples
While the bulk of MREs is in the $5 to $7.99 range, some are more high-cost than even $8. For example, ALL MREs’ peanut butter dessert bars cost $12.99, which is quite pricy for a dessert! Yet their apple turnover is even costlier at $15.99.
The most expensive MRE we’ve come across yet is AllMREs’ chicken burrito bowl, which costs a whopping $18.99!
We’re sure you’re wondering what makes these MREs so expensive especially considering that you can buy a dessert for as little as $2 if you use a different manufacturer. This is something we’ll delve into later in this article, so make sure you check it out!
The Cheapest MREs in Bulk
Bulk shopping and cheap are not words that usually go together, but when buying MREs, you can sometimes come across some pretty fantastic deals. In this section and the subsequent two sections, we’ll preset some awesome, inexpensive, and tasty MREs.
Starting with the bulk options, here are some MREs to shop for today.
1- MRE Box B Genuine U.S. Military Surplus, Menus 13-24
First on the list is MRE Box B, which is a genuine U.S. military surplus. Military MREs are often priced more uniformly, costing around $7.99 a meal or so compared. By the time the MREs get to us civilians, the prices can vary more wildly.
Check out the MREs Box B on Amazon (link to Amazon)
This box includes menus 13 through 24, which stocks you up with a meal that’s got an accessory pack, beverage powders, a snack, dessert, an entrée, and a flameless ration heater that’s activated with water. You’d use the heater for cooking any entrees that need reheating.
One meal with all the above has about 1,250 calories to provide you with plenty of energy for rucking. Box B weighs 21 pounds.
Check out our recent post to learn more about how many calories are in an MRE.
2- MRE Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Assorted Flavor 6-Pack
Here’s another MRE bulk pack that’s military-grade. This six-pack of food is assorted, so what you get will vary. Some of the meals that other buyers have received in their boxes are lemon pepper tuna, Asian beef strips with vegetables, Mexican-style chicken stew, southwest beef and black beans, beef patties, and a chicken burrito bowl.
Check out the MRE Genuine U.S Military Surplus Assorted Flavor 6-Pack on Amazon (link to Amazon)
3- Sopakco 24-Count U.S. Military Surplus MREs
If you’re going to be rucking and need food for weeks, Sopakco’s 24-count MREs won’t disappoint. In two boxes (A and B) are meals from menus 1 through 24. You’ll be plenty full, as per meal kit, you get a flameless ration heater, a drink, snacks, an entrée, a side, and dessert.
Check out the Sopakco 24-Count U.S Military Surplus MREs on Amazon (link to Amazon)
In Case A are the following foods:
- Elbow macaroni in tomato sauce
- Vegetable crumbles with pasta in taco style sauce
- Chili and macaroni
- Beef stew
- Meatballs in marinara sauce
- Brisket entrée with gravy and seasoned beef brisket slices
- Beef taco
- White chicken chunks
- Spaghetti with beef and sauce
- Chicken noodle and vegetables in sauce
- Beef shredded in barbeque sauce
- Chili with beans
Here’s what you get in Case B:
- Southwest style beef and black beans
- Chicken pesto pasta
- Asian-style beef strips with vegetables
- Lemon pepper tuna
- Hash browns with onions, peppers, and bacon
- Beef patty with jalapeno pepper jack
- Beef ravioli in meat sauce
- Maple-flavored beef sausage patty
- Chicken burrito bowl
- Mexican style chicken stew
- Creamy spinach fettuccine with a cream sauce, mushrooms, spinach, and egg noodles
- Cheesy tortellini in tomato sauce
4- Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Ready to Eat Meals 12-Pack
Our last recommendation for cheap bulk MREs is this 12-pack. Sure, there’s less food, but you’re also paying less, under $100 for meals that will fill you up with 1,250 nourishing calories each.
You’ll be shipped either Box A or Box B and you get an accessory pack and a flameless heater per meal so you can get right to eating!
Check out the Genuine U.S Military Surplus Ready To Eat Meals 12-Pack on Amazon (link to Amazon)
The Cheapest MRE Meal Options (Entrees)
Perhaps you only want entrees and you don’t need to shop in bulk. You can get cheap MRE meal options in single packs for lighter packing and easier meal planning. Here are some of our favorite picks.
1- MREs Genuine U.S. Military Surplus
From Menu 22 is a tasty meal staple, Asian beef strips. Included with your purchase is everything you need to fill yourself up with 1,250 calories. That includes the beef strips themselves, vegetables, fried rice, blackberry jam, chunky peanut butter, a cocoa beverage pack, wheat snack bread, and Twizzlers.
Your ready-to-use heater will warm up the Asian beef strips and the rice so the meal is delicious as well as satisfying.
Check out the Asian Beef Strip MRE Entree on Amazon (link to Amazon)
2- Ultimate U.S. Military MRE Spaghetti with Beef Sauce
For under $20, you can make spaghetti with beef and sauce courtesy of Sopacko from their Menu 4. Ruckers have applauded the authentic Italian flavor of this pasta dish. The flameless heater packed with your MRE will get the pasta nice and warm if that’s how you like it.
Check out the Spaghetti with Beef Sauce Military MRE Entree on Amazon (link to Amazon)
3- MRE Beef Stew Entrees 6-Pack
We’d hardly call a six-pack shopping in bulk, which is why we suggested this pack of beef stew MREs in this section. Produced by Wornick Co. are six packs of eight-ounce beef stew entrees complete with a DOD camo bag.
Beef stew is a long-time MRE favorite. Amazon reviewers love how fresh these MREs stay. The stew tastes practically like a home-cooked meal and is one you can enjoy when rucking, hiking, camping, or in a survivalist situation.
Check out the Beef Stew MRE Entree on Amazon (link to Amazon)
4- MRE Chicken Burrito Bowl 2-Pack with Dessert
Yes, you read that right, these chicken burrito bowl MREs include dessert free. Z-Ration, the manufacturer, could have charged extra for the dessert, but these MREs are instead a very affordable $30.
The dessert is snack crackers with peanut butter. Also included in the package are seasonings (sugar, pepper, and salt), a towelette for cleaning up post-meal, a napkin, gum, utensils, a powdered beverage, and a side dish. Everything totals up to 1,250 calories as is the case with most MREs.
Check out the Chicken Burrito Bowl 2-Pack With Dessert MRE on Amazon (link to Amazon)
The Cheapest MRE Meal Options (Snacks)
Who says you have to pay a lot of money to enjoy a tasty MRE snack? Not with these MREs, you won’t! Refill your sagging energy with the following low-cost options.
1- MRE Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread 24-Pack
Are you in the mood for something spicy? This jalapeno cheddar cheese spread snack comes in a 24-pack. Whether you want to plan your snacks for almost a month or double up on this tasty cheese spread when your tummy is especially rumbly is up to you, but you can’t go wrong either way, as a box cost less than $30.
Check out the Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread 24-Pack MRE Snack on Amazon (link to Amazon)
2- MRE Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread 24-Pack
Of course, snack time doesn’t always has to be savory! If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, this chocolate peanut butter spread will certainly do that. You get 24 MRE snacks to a pack just as with the others. You might even be able to forego dessert after a mid-afternoon munch like this!
Check out the Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread MRE Snack on Amazon (link to Amazon)
3- MRE Chunky Peanut Butter Spread 24-Pack
Peanut butter is packed with protein, and when it’s chunky, you get great toothsomeness in every bite. This MRE spread will fill you up but not be so sugary that you crash an hour or two after snack time. With 24 to a pack, you might want to stock up!
Check out the Chunky Peanut Butter Spread MRE Snack on Amazon (link to Amazon)
4- MRE Cheddar Cheese Spread 24-Pack
Last but certainly not least is a classic, cheddar cheese spread in MRE form. The distinctly flavorful cheddar can be consumed on its own or added to any MRE meal you already have waiting on your doorstep from Amazon!
Check out the Cheddar Cheese Spread MRE Snack on Amazon (link to Amazon)
Why Are MREs Expensive?
You love the above lost-cost MREs, but you can’t help but wonder why most MREs are priced so high. We said we’d come back to this, so it’s time to talk about what influences the price of MREs now.
If MREs were only about getting your energy on the go, they would be flavorless. Yet they’re anything but. MREs are intended for soldiers and ruckers who may be away from the comforts of a home-cooked meal for a long time. They provide some of that comfort with their huge variety of flavors.
If you want your MRE to taste more like what you’d whip up in the kitchen back home, then you might have to be willing to pay more money.
Here’s one of the biggest reasons MREs are so expensive. Part of how MREs can last for years, even decades is due to the packaging. Most MREs include not only one type of packaging, but several, such as plastic wrap and cardboard.
This packaging must be rigorous enough to withstand combat conditions for soldiers at war. The price of all that packaging ends up being reflected in the overall cost of the MRE.
As the reviews in the last several sections have shown, most MREs don’t only include the entrée or snack itself. You might also get napkins, wet towelettes, and a heater for warming your food. These products cost money to make, so you might pay more for an MRE with accessories than one without.
The last factor that influences the cost of MREs is shipping fees. If it seems like you’re paying more and more money for shipping these days, that’s not just in your head. MREs tend to pass through a lot of hands before they end up in yours.
Since it’s technically illegal for you to buy MREs directly as a civilian, the MRE manufacturer sells to an Army surplus retailer. Then that retailer turns around and offers MREs for sale on websites like Amazon. However, since the Army surplus retailer has to turn a profit, they increase the price of the MRE compared to what they bought it for.
That supply chain line combined with costly shipping adds up!
Study on Single MRE Prices (Cheapest MREs)
Before we jump into the findings of this study, we must note that buying MREs in bulk will always be cheaper than buying individual packs of entrees, side dishes, snacks, and desserts.
We recently conducted a study that collected information on how many calories are in an MRE, during that data collection phase in this study, we also collected information on the price on single MREs. These MREs include Entrees, side dishes, snacks, desserts, and beverages.
Here are some highlights on our findings.
Cheapest Single MRE Entrees
|Brand||Meal Type (Entree)||Meal||Price|
|Bridgford Foods||Entree||Sandwich FILLED FRENCH TOAST||$2.49|
|Bridgford Foods||Entree||Sandwich HONEY BBQ CHICKEN||$3.29|
|Bridgford Foods||Entree||Sandwich CINNAMON BUN||$3.29|
|Bridgford Foods||Entree||Sandwich BLUEBERRY TURNOVER||$3.29|
|Bridgford Foods||Entree||Sandwich APPLE TURNOVER||$3.29|
Sandwiches are typically the cheapest MRE Entree. Price starts from $2.49 and above, however we doubt that 1 sandwhich would fill you up.
Cheapest Single MRE Side Dish
|Brand||Meal Type (Entree)||Meal||Price|
|MRE Star||Side dish||White rice||$2.99|
|MRE Star||Side dish||Long Grain White Rice||$2.99|
|AllMREs||Side dish||Plain Tortillas||$4.99|
To no surprise, we found that the cheapest side dish options to be be white rich and bread (tortilla). Prices start from $2.99 and above.
Cheapest Single MRE Snack
|Brand||Meal Type (Entree)||Meal||Price|
|ALlMREs||Snack||Z-Ration Granola – Double Chocolate or Tri-Berry||$2.99|
|ALlMREs||Snack||Old Wisconsin Beef Stick||$4.99|
|ALlMREs||Snack||MRE Royal Kreem Crackers||$5.99|
|ALlMREs||Snack||Granola Cereal With Latte||$5.99|
The cheapest snacks were a granola bar, beef stick, and crackers. Prices start from $2.99
Cheapest Single MRE Dessert
|Brand||Meal Type (Entree)||Meal||Price|
|Sterling Foods||Dessert||AppleSauce Cake||$2.00|
|ALlMREs||Dessert||Lemon Pound Cake||$2.50|
|ALlMREs||Dessert||Applesauce Pound Cake||$2.50|
|ALlMREs||Dessert||Vanilla Pound Cake||$2.50|
|ALlMREs||Dessert||Marble Pound Cake||$2.50|
We found plenty of dessert MRE options. The cheapest MRE desserts were all cakes based. Prices start from $2.00.
You can find MREs for as low as $2, but these are usually snacks and sides and won’t provide you with enough satiety or nutrients and minerals to get you through a tough day of rucking. Instead, you’ll pay between $5 and sometimes $20 a pop to stock up on MRE meals, desserts, and snacks.
Cheap MREs are out there, and through this article, they’re now a lot easier to find!