Variety-- There are many different flavors and kinds of foods in MREs. There are main dishes, side dishes, snacks, desserts, beverages, gum, condiments, etc.
Heating-- In an emergency, it can be tough to find a way to heat your food. MREs come with their own heater, so even if you don't have a stove or fuel to cook with, you can have a warm meal. If you don't have time to cook an MRE, just open the pouch and it's ready to eat.
Portability & Sustainability-- MREs are great to throw in a bag and go. That's all you need for a complete meal. MREs are ready to eat, so you won't need to pack any extra water to mix with the food.
Cost-- They cost just few dollars(around $1-3, depending on the item). MREs are generally cheaper than most freeze-dried foods.
Calories-- Since MREs are made for soldiers in combat, each meal is loaded with calories(which can be a good thing if you're really hungry!) But, it isn't a good idea to consume an entire MRE in one sitting(a lesson we learned the hard way!), unless you're burning a ton of calories. MRE consumption can be hard on the stomach for those who are living a more sedentary lifestyle.
Weight-- MREs weigh much more than freeze-dried foods. If you plan on packing three days worth of MREs, that's a lot for one person to carry. It's a good idea to consider whether or not you can handle carrying the extra weight.
Availability-- Because they are military rations, only excess MREs that aren't purchased by the military are available for purchase by the public. Companies who purchase MREs and sell them to the public are often limited on what foods they can obtain. And, you can't just head to the grocery store to pick up an MRE, but often they can be found online or at military surplus or emergency supply stores.
MREs are a popular item to store in emergency kits, or to take hiking or camping. But, it's a good idea to try them out to see if they're right for you before disaster strikes(or before you purchase an entire case). Tomorrow, I'll post my recent experience with MREs and give you some tips on what my family did and didn't like about MREs.
For a review of several different flavors of MREs, click HERE.