MREMeal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) is a self-contained meal, packaged in lightweight material for use by soldiers in the field, where organized food facilities are not available. It replaced C-rations in the early 1980s.
Each meal provides approximately 1200 kcal (1200 "Calories"). Contents include: an entree or starch, crackers, a cheese, peanut butter or jelly spread, a dessert or snack; beverages; an accessory packet; a plastic spoon and a flameless ration heater (FRH).
Packaging requirements are strict. MREs must be capable of withstanding parachute drops from 380 m (1250 feet), and non-parachute drops of 30 m (100 feet). The packaging is required to maintain a minimum shelf life of three years at 80°F or six months at 100°F; additionally, short-term temperature extremes of -60°F to 120°F must be sustainable.