What are they and why make homemade/DIY ones?
What are MREs?
MRE is the acronym for Meal Ready to Eat. The first MRE was developed as a field ration for U.S. soldiers in 1975. Several field tests were conducted and the first MREs were provided to soldiers in 1981. They kind of got a bad reputation for not tasting all that great. However, the taste and type of meals have improved dramatically over the years due to testing and evaluations.
Today's military MRE usually includes a main dish, side dish, desert, condiments, snack (usually crackers or bread with a spread), candy, flameless ration heater,
coffee and another beverage, gum, seasonings, moist towelette, and eating utensil.
MREs come in mylar bags and are shelf stable for around 5 years. Although the military MREs are not supposed to be sold to civilians, they are plentifully available to purchase both online and are usually available in military surplus stores.
Commercial companies also produce copy cat MREs based on the same principles of the military MRE. However, they do not always provide a complete meal or the flameless ration heater. Some of them only provide the main dish so if you are looking at purchasing some of those make sure you are getting the whole meal; the price is usually the same as for the whole meal military ones. Might as well get more then less for the same price.
Both military and commercial MREs are quite pricey. The average cost for an individual MRE bag