5 Places You Can Buy Cheap MRE Meals In Bulk (Civilian & Military)

MREs are ready to eat meal rations that are used by the military to this day. They are the ideal meal for preppers when out in the wild or when building up long term food supplies. MREs provide a nutritionally balanced, high calorie meal which can be vital in survival situations. 

If you’re searching for cheap MRE meals to buy in bulk, the chances are you’ll have lots of questions and uncertainties. MRE meals are an excellent prepper food however they’re also expensive and it’s often confusing figuring out where to buy them and how to store them. 

You’ll want to know whether you can get military grade MRE meals and which are the best MREs to get for your long term food storage. 

When SHTF you don’t want to be left without a good supply of nutritional food for you and your loved ones, so stocking up on MREs is vital for any survivalist or prepper. 

We’ve compared and researched the best online stores so that you can enjoy our guide to the most affordable places to get MRE meals. 

How Much Do MRE Meals Cost?

When it comes to figuring out how much MRE meals cost, you’ll want to be able to identify when an MRE is expensive and when you’re getting bang for your buck. 

There are a number of factors that can affect the price of MRE meals including: 

  • The manufacturer
  • The type of meal 
  • The packaging and shipping
  • The quantity of MREs you are buying

Let’s break down the price of things so that you can see the cost per meal and easily compare different options.

Low cost MREs are around $2 – $5 minimum per serving. For this, you could expect to get a dessert or snack, or possibly a budget main meal. Be aware that for this price you probably won’t get the full amount of calories or nutrients required for the energy that you’re expending. 

High cost MREs can be anything from $7 or $8 to $15 or $16 per serving. This will depend on the brand and the type of food. It will also depend on the packaging and how advanced it is – this can affect the shelf life so it’s worth investing in well made products. 

Individual MREs are obviously much more expensive to buy than if you are ordering them in bulk and you can easily reduce the cost by $10-20 overall if you order large quantities in bulk. 

Are MREs Reliable Food For Preppers?

MREs are a very reliable food source – in fact they are designed for soldiers who need meals that provide them with good calories, fast. 

For preppers, MREs are ideal as they do not require any preparation. They can be eaten straight from the packet or they can be warmed up to enjoy hot. If you need to grab food in an emergency, MREs are a great choice. 

MREs are different to other long term food options such as freeze dried foods as they are already pre cooked and do not require any water in order to reconstitute or rehydrate them.

They are also well balanced nutritionally and they have excellent calorie density. This can be suitable for preppers who are on the move or expending a lot of physical energy. 

What Is The Shelf Life Of MREs?

MREs can be stored for months and even years so their shelf life makes them ideal for a long term food supply. 

Most MREs will last for up to five years if they are stored in the correct environment. The best way to ensure MREs reach their full shelf life is to ensure they are kept away from any extreme temperatures and the packets remain fully sealed until you’re ready to eat them. 

The Difference Between Civilian VS Military MREs

When it comes to the actual food involved there isn’t much difference between civilian and military MREs. 

You will however notice an instant difference between the packaging of civilian and military MRES. The military grade will often simply be left plain with a printed label identifying what meal is inside whilst civilian MREs usually have some basic branding and a photo on the packaging. 

Some preppers have noted that the shape of civilian MREs is slightly flatter which can make them more suited to bug out bags and emergency survival kits. 

Legalities Of Buying Military MREs

There are no laws forbidding the resale of MREs amongst civilians. However it is not encouraged and members of the military are not allowed to resell their rations. 

Luckily there are other options to buy MREs which we’ll look at below. You don’t have to rely on buying military MREs and the versions that are available for civilians to buy are very similar and offer the same benefits for long term food supply. 

Where To Buy Cheap MRE Meals

After extensive research, we’ve curated a list of the best places to buy cheap MRE meals. Let’s dive into it.

1. Military Surplus Store

Military surplus stores are an excellent place to stock up on survival and prepper supplies. It’s always worth checking in at your local military surplus store to see if they have any cheap MRE meals in stock. 

This type of store may have benefited from military MREs which are no longer required or they may have access to a supply chain that civilians do not. You’ll often meet helpful and knowledgeable staff here who have a survival and prepper mentality. 


  • You can get a variety of military grade MREs
  • You can get specialist advice from knowledgeable staff members 


  • Can be more expensive than other options
  • Supplies can be irregular and may vary each time you visit

2. Amazon 

By using Amazon you’ll be able to quickly and easily compare meal prices. You can view a variety of different suppliers and stores and compare their different prices for the same MRE. 

Amazon allows you an excellent mainstream option when it comes to getting MREs that you want. You have access to all the suppliers available online and you can often enjoy delivery within 48 hours so you don’t have to wait to stock up on your emergency food supply. 


  • It’s easy to return items and get refunds with Amazon
  • Amazon often gives you the option of free shipping which can be helpful when you buy in bulk
  • You can purchase individual MRE packets to sample them and check which flavors you prefer


  • You’ll need to contact suppliers directly if you have queries about the product before you buy. 

3. Ebay

Not many people consider ebay when it comes to looking for stockpiling food supplies. Yet ebay often has a good selection of MREs and it can be an easy platform to use when you’re looking to top up your food supplies. 

You can find good bulk buy options as well as some individual sachets to enable you to get a good variety of meals and flavors. 

You’ll need to check out the suppliers of the items to ensure that they have a good rating and make sure that you’re careful with your payment method in case you encounter issues with delivery or product quality. 


  • Carry good levels of stock 
  • Items are often quickly dispatched


  • Can be difficult to know which suppliers are trustworthy

4. My Patriot Supply

Available directly from My Patriot Supply, all of these MREs are made in the USA and are fully approved by USDA, FSIS and FDA. 

The meals have between 1,100 to 1,300 calories per pack and you can buy cases with 12 meals in each.

These are ideal for when you’re expending a lot of physical energy such as hiking or surviving in the wilderness, or if you’re in an emergency situation in your home and need to gain as many calories as possible in a short amount of time. 


  • Buying from a specialist survival supplier allows you to access real people and knowledge/advice
  • Great meat and vegetarian options offered


  • You may need to wait longer than other sites if items are out of stock

5. AmeriQual 

This is the website for the nation’s combat logistics support agency which technically can only sell rations to U.S. Military Services and other authorized federally-funded agencies. 

It’s worth getting in touch however as their website has a vast amount of information about different MREs including helpful storage information and stock numbers. 


  • Good for getting advice and information about MREs 


  • Not possible to buy from this site as a consumer or private individual

Alternative Options To MRE Meals

Let’s look at some options other than MRE meals that will be just as good or maybe even better for your food storage needs!

Freeze Dried Foods

If you’re looking for a more affordable option to MRE meals you should consider freeze dried foods. 

You can buy freeze dried foods in bulk quantities and they are often available at discounted prices. These can be an excellent option if you’re going to be feeding your entire family or a large team in an emergency as MREs will work out to be very expensive. 

The shelf life on freeze dried foods is also longer than with MRE meals. They will generally last for 25-30 years.

You could consider combining MRE meals and freeze dried foods to stock both within your long term food supply. 

Try Making Your Own MREs!

If you want to try making your own MREs at home, you should think about what type of food you want to use – avoiding fatty meats or fresh fruits which can go off quickly. 

This video is an instructional for any readers who want to try making their own MREs at home. 

You’ll need to ensure that your MREs are as calorie dense as possible and provide lots of energy in the smallest possible portion. 

The ideal daily calorie intake should be around 3000 calories per day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions on MRE meals? Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to MREs.

What Makes MREs Costly?

One of the reasons that MREs are more expensive than other survival food options is that the packaging needs to be extremely technical. 

MREs will include multiple types of packaging such as a combination of plastic wrap and cardboard – this can often involve different suppliers, manufacturers and shipping costs. 

The benefits of this packaging mean that MREs can survive in your backpack or bug out bag for months or even years at a time – but it does make the product more expensive to buy in the first place. 

Another reason why some MREs are often more expensive is that the military grade ones are often sold at a high premium. This is due to the fact that the US government doesn’t technically allow them to be sold directly to civilians. 

How Often Can You Eat MREs And Are They Unhealthy?

If you’re in a survival situation, MREs can provide you with an excellent source of calorie rich food with a good nutritional value.

This type of food ration is not designed as a long term food option but can be excellent in the short term and can be eaten for your three meals a day whilst you are in an emergency situation. 

Whilst they are not necessarily unhealthy, it’s generally not recommended that you eat them consistently for more than 3 weeks. You’ll want to try and supplement MREs with fresh food (ideally fruits and vegetables) whenever possible. 

Do MREs Taste Good? 

MREs taste similar to other canned foods. Although they are not the freshest food that you’ll taste, you’ll be extremely grateful to have them in a survival situation when you need a lot of calories quickly. 

There are a few ways to improve the taste of MREs. You could use sachets of salt and pepper which are very light weight and don’t take up much room. 

If you are in your home or a shelter rather than on the move you may also consider adding sauces such as hot chili sauce


Buying cheap MRE meals in bulk is a great way to ensure that you are fully stocked when it comes to either your emergency food supply (in your bug out bag or backpack) or your long term food storage supplies. 

In some circumstances you might be surviving on MREs but it’s also worth considering using them as a top up option. If you have canned or dried food supplies, you can supplement them with MREs to introduce more textures and flavors for some welcome variation. 

Knowing that you can buy your MRE meals at the best places will give you the peace of mind that you will be able to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and well fed in any situation.

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