Meal, Ready to Eat, Individual [MRE]Modern battlefield requirements demand ration support systems that adequately provide for the needs of the individual combatant in extremely intense and highly mobile combat situations. The standard military ration for the individual warfighter is the MRE which replaced the Meal, Combat Individual (C Ration) in the early 1980's. The MRE must maintain high quality for three years at 80o F and six months at 100o F, be highly acceptable, and meet the Office of The Surgeon General's nutritional requirements (AR40-25). In addition, MRE packaging must meet stringent durability requirements (to include airdrop, rough handling and temperature extremes).
Since its introduction, the MRE has been continuously improved. However, the "MRE" designation is popularly expanded as "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians" or "Meals Rejected by Everyone." As a result of consumer feedback from Operation Desert Shield/Storm, major customer focus improvements have been implemented to expand variety and improve acceptability, consumption, and nutritional intake to enhance performance on the battlefield.
Since MRE XIII (1993 Date-of-Pack (DOP)), 70 new items (70% Non Developmental Items (NDI) were approved for the MRE. Fourteen of the least acceptable items were replaced. The number of menus increased, incrementally, from 12 to 24 and four vegetarian meals are now included (two in each case).
MRE XIII/IV 1993 & 1994 ProductionMRE XIII/IV began an intense period of improvements; two new entrees replaced older entrees, and new snack foods, pound cake and flameless ration heaters were added.
IN: Smoky franks, Pork chow mein, Pound cakes (five types), Chow mein noodles (NDI*), Potato sticks (NDI), Fruit-wet pack (peaches, pears), Sugar free beverage-in-6 menus (NDI), Heat stable chocolate bar (NDI), Flameless Ration Heaters in each menu bag
OUT: Meatballs w/tomato sauce, Chicken ala king, Nut cakes, Beverage base/sugar
MRE XV 1995 ProductionMRE XV had two new entrees to replace lower rated entrees, tavern nuts and lemon tea were introduced and the brownie was improved.
IN: Grilled chicken (NDI), Chili macaroni, Fruit-wet pack (pineapple, mixed), Chewy fudge brownie, Lemon tea-in 6 menus (NDI), Tavern nuts (NDI)
OUT:Corned Beef Hash, Omelet with ham, Fruit-freeze dried, Chocolate covered brownie, Coffee (six menus)
MRE XVI (16 Menus) 1996 ProductionMRE XVI added four new entrees, including NDI, vegetarian and ethnic selections, as well as two new starches and jalapeno cheese spread.
IN: Grilled beef steak, Chicken parmesan (NDI), Pasta primavera (Vegetarian) (NDI), Cheese tortellini (Vegetarian) (NDI), Mexican rice, White rice, butter flavored, Jalapeno cheese spread (NDI), New easy-open meal bag with graphics, Two-sided nutritional insert
OUT: Potatoes au Gratin
MRE XVII (20 Menus) 1997 ProductionMRE XVII introduced five new entrees with only one replacement, increasing variety to 20 menus. Many new commercial NDI snack items, such as pretzels, corn chips and cheese curls were added as well as new beverages and beef jerky.
IN: Jamaican pork chop/noodles (NDI), Beef w/mushroom gravy, Beef ravioli (NDI), Turkey breast w/potatoes (NDI), Chicken w/noodles (NDI), Fig bars (NDI), Snacks-corn chips, cheese curls, pretzels (NDI), Fruit flavored hard candy (individually wrapped) (NDI), Fruit flavored disc candy (NDI), Peanut bar (NDI), Apple cider beverage (NDI), Beef jerky (NDI), Strawberry jam (NDI)
OUT: Escalloped potatoes w/ham
MRE XVIII (24 Menus) 1998 ProductionMRE XVIII completed the move to 24 different menus with the addition of four ethnic style entrees. Many new starches, snacks and a new vegetable cracker were added.
IN: Beef teriyaki, Spicy oriental chicken (NDI), Chicken strips in salsa, Meat loaf w/brown gravy (NDI), Black bean and rice burrito (Vegetarian) (NDI), Pasta w/vegetables in Alfredo sauce (Vegetarian) (NDI), Buttered noodles, Granola bars - chocolate chip, honey nut (NDI), Fruit filled bars (NDI), Cinnamon apples (NDI), Apple cinnamon toaster pastry (NDI), Snack mix (NDI), Shortbread cookies (NDI), Chewy chocolate bar (NDI), Vegetable cracker, Tea bag (NDI)
OUT: Pork w/rice in BBQ sauce, Tuna w/noodles
MRE XIX (24 Menus) 1999 ProductionMRE XIX had one new entree and three snacks introduced MRE XX added two new entrees, three soups/starches, two nutrient infused fruits and three snacks.
IN: HooAH!(TM) Bar, Ergo Beverage, Flat Bread (NDI), Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake (NDI), Raisin Nut Mix, Beef Enchilada (if needed) (NDI), Turkey Tettrazini (if needed) (NDI)
* NDI = Non-Developmental Item