My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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The insides of the two MRE pouches

The MRE spread out on the left is from International Meals Supply and the MRE on the right is from Sopakco.

Let’s start with the MRE on the left. At the top is the pouch that it came in. To the right of that is the little cellophane pouch that the accessories and condiments came in. Right below that is the main entrée. In this case the main entrée is Pasta with marinara sauce and veggie crumbles. On one side the name, ingredients and nutrition facts are listed in English and on the opposite side the same info is printed in Spanish. Inside that cardboard box is the main entrée in it’s plastic pouch. We’ll get a picture of that in a bit. On the pouch is stamped “PASTA & MARINARA 10:40 08085”. The number 08085 is very important and is always stamped on MRE’s. That is the date it was made. In this case, this MRE was made on the 85th day or 2008. Sometimes this date stamp is on the outside of the case and sometimes it’s stamped on some of the MRE components. It depends on the MRE manufacturer. To the right of that is the “Dry Fruit”. That white sticker on the front lists the ingredients and nutrition facts and the name. Next is the nut raisin mix. It also has the ingredients and nutrition facts on the back. Last on that row is your sugar cookie with the ingredients and nutrition facts on the back. It also has a note that states “Contains wheat and soy ingredients. May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts.”. In the bottom row on the left is the drink mix. In this case it is “Powdered drink mix, orange flavored, vitamin C added" and it says to mix with 12oz. of water. On the back, it too lists the ingredients and nutrition facts. Next are the contents of the accessory and condiment pack. Laid out is a sugar packet, a lemon scented moist wipe, a packet of instant coffee. By the way, I know a lot of people will say “I won’t drink instant coffee”. Well, it can be incredibly refreshing and just about amazing to have all the contents of this MRE sitting in your lap at just the right time. Next are the salt and pepper and the creamer. Just above them are your napkin and spoon. Our service people all over the world eat millions of MRE’s per year. I’ve eaten I don’t know how many. Hundreds easily, maybe thousands. I highly recommend them for so many purposes.

Now onto the Sopakco MRE. The first item is the drink mix. Rather than a regular powdered drink mix, it is labeled as “Electrolyte Replacement Mix” and has the name Sqwincher on it. And is actually one of those new drink mixes they have now that you pour into your water bottle to make it a juice drink. Right off the bat, I’m thinking it’s a better drink mix than is in the other MRE. Not only is it an electrolyte replacement drink, but it’s also probably better tasting. We’ll check that out later. Below that is the Moist wipe and the instant coffee. The wipe is pretty much the same in both MRE’s and the coffee is the exact same brand. To the right of that is the pouch that it all came in. They’re both pretty much the same. The only difference I can tell is that the Sopakco pouch is a little less transparent and is a bit cloudy. I don’t know if there is a reason behind this such as lesser absorption. Below that row on the left is two sugar packets. To the right of that is the paper towel and the spoon. Next is the main entrée. In this case it is chicken, noodles, vegetables in sauce. On one side is the name, ingredients and the nutrition facts. On the back seems to be a pitch about how good MRE’s are for energy and top performance and how in the field you NEED three meals per day etc. Not much of importance on the back. To the right of that is the side dish. In this case it is Yellow and wild rice pilaf. On the one side is again the name, ingredients and nutrition facts. On the opposite side is a little info and a chart about various MRE components and what they’re vitamin and mineral strengths are. Such as the peanut butter has vitamin A, C, B1 and B6 and so on. To the right of the side dish and the end of that row is just the cellophane packaging from the accessory and condiment pack. Next down are the salt and pepper packs. Then the non-dairy creamer and then in this case the strawberry jam. Then you have the crackers for the jam. And last is the oatmeal cookie with the ingredients and nutrition info on it.

The Sopakco had one more piece than the international meals MRE because it had crackers and jam instead of the cookie. With that and the extra packaging, that could make up the difference in weight. We'll check out a few more MRE's from each box and check weights and components as well as weigh each component in just a bit.

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