Where You Can Buy Ready To Eat Meals

Meals ready to eat or MREs, such as the one from XMRE, were originally developed by the United States military to feed the troops when they were out in the field during deployments. The original military meals were designed to give our troops all of the required calories needed to provide them with proper nutrition while they were protecting our country.

In addition to the nutrition, the meals ready to eat also had toilet paper, a flameless ration heater to heat the meal with, and in later editions, they also included hot sauce and other condiments to help make the meals more palatable.

During Y2K civilians discovered the benefits of meals ready to eat and began to swarm the market looking for meals ready to eat to stock up on food supplies. Manufacturers discovered this need and began to develop meals ready to eat that were for the civilian population. Selling the United States military version of the meals was highly frowned upon by the military as these were government rations that were paid for by the citizens of the United States for our troops.

Soon, there were more places than ever before where you could find meals ready to eat. Here are some favorites and important things to look for when buying meals ready to eat.

Manufacturer Websites

You can find a wide variety of options here. Sign up for newsletters and website offers and you’ll receive a monthly newsletter chock full of great deals. Many manufacturers offer coupons and monthly sales in their monthly newsletter.

Simply sign up for the newsletter and focus on watching your email and taking advantage of the deals for each month. You’ll find steep discounts and ten or twenty percent off for simply signing up for their newsletter.

By stocking up on what your family likes when there are deals each month you can often fill your pantry and save a lot on your meals ready to eat.

Sporting Goods Stores

Wander into any sporting goods store, and you can find a great deal on meals ready to eat near the camping supplies. Here you’ll find specials and sample sizes as well as case lots of meals ready to eat.

Often, if you purchase other camping equipment, you can have a discount on your meals ready to eat, or you can find buy one get one deals that really help you to stock up.

Meals ready to eat will typically have a nice sized display that you can choose from. Ask if they order by the case and if you can buy them by the case and you’ll often save even more on your purchases.

XMRE For Backpacking – Are They Good For The Trail? from XMRE on Vimeo.

Military Surplus Stores

Military surplus stores often have meals ready to eat available on their shelves. Learn how to check the manufacturer’s date on the end of each package and make sure that the manufacturer’s date is less than five years.

Although meals ready to eat are designed to last for up to 25 years, they are best if used in the first five years after they’ve been manufactured.

Ask the sales associate if you’re unsure of how to read the details of the expiry date on the packaging. They should be able to assist you in determining the actual manufacturer date.

Online Auction Sites

Here you’ll find a wide array of meals ready to eat from a wide array of manufacturers. You’ll find different sellers who are selling these meals ready to eat.

Check to make sure that the seller is a top notch seller. Make sure that they clearly state the manufacturer date on the auction and if they don’t, don’t hesitate to ask the seller what that date is.

Keep in mind that you’re seeking only manufacturers date in the previous five years and that you’re not paying more than the manufacturer sites prices. Be sure to include any shipping charges in your calculation of this information.

Big Box Stores

Here you’ll find meals ready to eat in two potential locations. Start in the “large sized family” aisle and see what they have to offer. Often they’ll have some cases of meals ready to eat that you can select from.

After checking that aisle, go over to the camping area of the store and see what they have to offer as well. You should find some meals ready to eat here as well.

In big box stores, you may have coupons as well as store gift cards that you can use to purchase your meals ready to eat. If you don’t find any, be sure to ask a sales associate from the sporting goods section of the store for assistance.

Gun Shows

While it may seem like an odd place to look for Meals ready to eat, many gun shows have displays of meals ready to eat alongside their guns. The reason for this is that gun shows tend to attract preppers.

Preppers, by their very nature, are all looking for deals on such things as meals ready to eat and other ways to stock up on supplies for an emergency situation.

If you don’t see a display of MREs at a gun show, be sure to ask, they sometimes keep them under the counter and if you ask you may find that they have a huge supply. They may also have their own display and brochures that you can make an order via telephone, online, or in person from their brick and mortar stores.


You can order nearly anything from Amazon, including meals ready to eat. Look at your options and check your expiration dates before you buy. Read the fine print.

You can often find steeply discounted deals here, and if you get Amazon gift cards, you can use these to order anything from Amazon including meals ready to eat. On Amazon, you can order by the case, and often the more you buy, the less it’s going to cost you per serving.

Amazon offers a variety of sellers and deals, and you can mix and match them to suit your own personal needs. From sample sizes to entrees to snacks you can mix and match and design your own emergency preparedness supplies.

Auction And Estate Sales

Many times an elderly person has stockpiled these for years. One of a couple will pass away and leave a huge supply of meals ready to eat in a basement, garage, or the pantry. The family is already overwhelmed with what has happened and begins to sell off the estate.

Often, in deals like this, someone can walk in and offer a set dollar amount and walk out with the entire stockpile. Be prepared to pay cash, make a decent offer and know the value of what you’re buying.

Check the items for expiry dates if you possibly can and keep in mind that not all sales are great deals. However, if you know the going rates, you are likely able to make a great offer and walk away with the entire lot.

Prepper Groups

There are many prepper groups across the United States. Most of these groups know the value of buying in bulk. By combining the money from a large group they’re able to buy a huge lot of the meals ready to eat.

After the product arrives, they either store them in a central location, or they will divide them amongst themselves accordingly. Keep in mind that you may have to do some research to find such groups.

Check online for local groups, check with community associations, local Chamber of Commerce groups and other neighborhood associations to find a group near you.

Church Group

There are many church groups that promote preparedness and meals ready to eat are ideally a great way to stockpile the pantry. Again, these groups tend to buy in bulk directly from manufacturer such as XMRE or Eversafe MREs and focus on buying as much as they possibly can to distribute either among the members of the church or to distribute to their own community pantry.

Bulk buying offers an affordable way to stock up on meals ready to eat and stockpile a pantry. Many people choose to go with such an organization to have support in an emergency situation.

Manufacturers offer great deals on bulk buying, and the members can then determine how they’re going to divide up the delivery. It’s nice to have a group behind you if there were an emergency.

Co-Op Groups

Just as the prepper groups and church groups work together, so do the co-op groups. The same methodology works here as in the previously mentioned scenarios of group buying.

A group joins together to buy together and then either put the product in a community pantry, or they divide the order up between themselves for distribution.

There is power in buying in bulk and huge savings. It works well if you’re trying to find ways to save money and stock up on meals ready to eat for your pantry, hiking, camping, fishing, backpacking, or a doomsday scenario or cataclysmic event.

Flea Markets

Flea markets often offer great deals, and you can often find meals ready to eat at a flea market. From the family cleaning out their supply stocks to people who want to sell off excess you’re sure to find a few deals here.

Meals ready to eat are often stockpiled, and suddenly someone realizes that they’ve overstocked themselves. You can find great deals here, and the best part about flea markets is that you can often wheel and deal.

Often you can make an offer on a bulk amount of meals ready to eat and take advantage of huge savings. You’ll find that the more you visit such places the more likely you are to find the deals.

Yard Sales/Garage Sales

If you’re like many of us, you frequent yard sales and garage sales in the warmer months. Many such sales will have a focus on getting rid of excess, and much of this excess is in the form of camping supplies and more.

If you find a great deal on outdoor stuff, don’t hesitate to ask if they might have any meals ready to eat for sale as well. Often they are still in their original packaging and the family is more than happy to sell some of their supply for some upfront cash.

Remember to ask, have cash in hand, and make reasonable offers, and you’re sure to find some great deals in this fashion. It’s amazing how often you can find great deals on these if you just take the time to peruse a few great yard sales.

Now that you know some great ways to find meals ready to eat, you can mix and match them to stock up on your own supplies. Remember that not all deals are really deals.

Learn to read expiration dates on the different manufacturer’s products and focus on how long you’ll be storing such supplies before you actually use them yourself. You don’t want to be storing a lot of food that no one is going to eat in the next five years, or you’ll be wasting your money.

To get the most nutritional value on your meals ready to eat you need to have them gone within five years of their manufacturer date. While they may last for as long as 25 years, they will begin to lose their full nutritional value after five of those years.

Meals ready to eat are ideal for camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, doomsday supplies, cataclysmic events like hurricanes and earthquakes, zombie apocalypse, busy parents who have a lot of sporting events to attend after school and work, and more. Keep in mind that you’ll also want to make sure that you have the required flameless ration heater so that you can properly heat your meals when you’re out and about.

Keep in mind that there may be other venues to find meals ready to eat. Don’t be afraid to ask and inquire in thrift stores and other places that are selling used goods. It’s amazing how quickly people will roll out the carpet to help you if they have what you’re seeking.

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