Option 4: MRE’s

Attributes of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)

  • Price: $3.90 – $6.40/oz
  • Days of Survival per $100: ~ 7 Days
  • Cost Per Day of Survival: $9-$16
  • Official Shelf Life: 3 – 4 Years
  • Storage Conditions: Made to store at room temperature but lasts the longest at approximately 50°F

Note: Most MRE cases (a case is a box of 12 MRE’s) since 1997 now have a TTI sticker. TTI stands for Time-Temperature Indicator. This is a sticker with an image of a circle inside of a circle. This measures the time since packaging as well as the temperatures the MRE’s have been exposed to. As long as the inside circle on the TTI is lighter in color to the outside cirlce, the MRE is considered to still be good.

An Official Explination of TTI’s (Time-Test Indicators) from the U.S. Army)

Storage Temperature to Shelf Life

50°F – 5 years
60°F – 4 years
70°F – 3.3 Years
80°F – 3 Years
90°F – 1.5 Years
100°F – 6 Months
110°F – 2 Months
120°F – 1 Month


  • Generally lightweight and easy to carry
  • No cooking required
  • Respectable shelf life
  • Each package is a nutritionally balanced meal with a good variety of food
  • Many MRE’s include a powdered drink and chemical heater (just add water and you will have a warm meal)


  • Somewhat expensive
  • Cannot customize the meals very well (each meal is in a sealed pouch)

A Note About These Calculations: The numbers reflected here for “price”, “days of survival per $100”, and “cost per day of survival” are based on my research and are a result of averages. They are by no means exact and are only meant to be used as a general guideline and overview of each option for long term food storage. One “day of survival” is based on a 2000 calorie per day diet. If you eat more, make adjustments accordingly. Shelf life is based on storing the food at room temperature (widely considered to be 65°F to 72°F) unless otherwise noted. The Dehydrated Foods Section calculations are considered extremely general at best. Dehydrated food can be produced at home fairly inexpensively or in a professional factory where additives are put into the foods to preserve freshness for a longer duration of time. This is what accounts for the broad number ranges in this section.

Option 1: Canned Foods

Option 2: Dehydrated Foods

Option 3: Freeze Dried Foods

Option 4: MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)