Testing Our APack Ready Meals

We tested our Meals Ready to Eat (not the military version) last month and they were barely edible. I promptly ordered a case of APack Ready Meals and tonight they underwent a taste test. We each took an APack so that at least all six varieties were covered.

Every APack Ready Meal includes an entrée with self-heating unit, side dishes, beverage mix (bottled water not included), condiment, utensil and towelette. The individually durable packaged meals have an extended shelf life of up to five years depending on temperature. Meals are self-heating — the entrée is ready in 10 minutes.

How many APacks do we need per person per day? Each APack contains between 1,140 to 1,310 calories. Allowing 2,500 calories per day for men and 2,000 calories per day for women, one case (12 meals) is enough food for two people for 72 hours. We will probably add an extra APack a day for the men.

The APack Team

I assembled a discerning team of eight for the taste testing. If this crew is happy then APacks will go into our 72 hour kits. The long story is below. The short story is we liked the meals.

Each APack had these common items: entrée, heater, salt water for heater, cracker, pepper, raisins, and spoon. Items that varied are listed below.

Paul's pasta APack

Paul's said his pasta APack was the best.

PaulPasta With Garden Vegetables in Tomato Sauce 1,150 calories.
Common items plus raspberry beverage tube, peanut butter, fig bar, and shortbread cookie.

We sampled each other’s meals. Paul says that his was the best one. He only ate the entrée and saved the rest until later.

Sarah's tetrazzini APack

Sarah's tetrazzini APack

SarahCreamy Chicken Tetrazzini 1,140 calories.
Common items plus lemonade beverage tube, cheese spread, fig bar, and shortbread cookie.

Sarah found the crackers dry but were good with the cheese spread. She also mixed the cheese spread in with her entrée. She said the Chicken Tetrazzini was so-so but she would eat it again. It may have tasted better if it was warmer. The fig bars tasted just like fig newtons.

Jill's spaghetti APack

Jill's spaghetti APack was plenty for her.

JillSpaghetti with Italian Style Meat Sauce 1,310 calories.
Common items plus raspberry beverage tube, peanut butter, strawberry toaster pastry, and oatmeal cookie.

Jill did not like her raspberry drink but thought Sarah’s lemonade was fine. She didn’t eat all her spaghetti because she was full. I tried the spaghetti and it was tasty.

Adelaide's southwestern chicken APack

Adelaide observed that you need a knife to open the packages.

AdelaideSouthwestern Style Chicken with Black Beans & Rice 1,190 calories.
Common items plus raspberry beverage tube, cheese spread, fig bar, and shortbread cookie.

Adelaide pointed out that one needs a knife to open some of the packaging and that was duly noted. Even though she is pregnant she liked all her food, plus ours as well. The heaters were good and hot.

Steven's homestyle chicken APack

Steven did not get enough to eat.

StevenHomestyle Style Chicken Noodles with Vegatables 1,180 calories.
Common items plus lemonade beverage tube, cheese spread, fig bar, and shortbread cookie.

Steven traded his cheese spread for peanut butter. He said the food was not sufficient. There were some items left over from the rest of our meals that would have fed him if we were in the wilds somewhere.

Rick's beef stew APack

The beef stew was very agreeable.

Rick and DerekHearty Beef Stew 1,310 calories.
Common items plus lemonade beverage tube, peanut butter, strawberry toaster pastry, and oatmeal cookie.

Rick: No we didn’t share a meal, we each had our own beef stew. I tried all the meals and this was by far the best one. The gravy was really thick and there was proportionally a good amount of beef. The heaters cranked out plenty of BTUs to give us some very hot food. I liked the raisins as did everyone else. Both Derek and I traded or gave away our peanut butter. I personally cannot abide the stuff. The oatmeal cookie was dry but still tasty. The toaster pastry was just like a pop-tart.

Bryson's raisins APack

Bryson says the raisins were juicy.


My job was to check out the raisins and the cheese spread on crackers. Very tasty indeed, better than the awful baby food I am used to. I really wanted my own entrée but I couldn’t reach as I was fastened in my high chair. My dad’s beef stew looked really good and he let me taste some of his.

Aurora no APack for you

Aurora, no APack for you!


Do I ever get anything fun to eat? No. Really, they treat me like a little girl.

Production Date and Cost

There is not an expiration date on the cases or individual packs because the shelf life varies based upon storage conditions. However, each case and individual pack contains a production date code similar to “9048” that was marked on mine. The 9 represents the year (2009) and the “048” represents the day (48th). Thus, the meal’s date of production is the 48th day of 2009. So my APacks were nine months old when I received them.

I purchased my meals from the manufacturer in November at a cost of $69.95 for a case of twelve ($5.83 each). With shipping the total is $84.16 ($7.01 each). You have to buy the whole box. The Epicenter will sell half a case for $35 (plus $10.63 shipping) for a cost of $7.61 each. When I ordered a half case from The Epicenter the production date was one day earlier than from the manufacturer’s store.

Note that there are other manufacturers that make civilian MREs. I chose APacks because of good reviews and the pictures of the meals on their website made the food look tasty and I was hungry when I ordered.
Rickety signature.


  1. People frown on ready meals but the can be good for you if you get the right ones

  2. Well the pasta seems to have lots of juicy flavors, something that I can barely keep myself away for long :D

    Kash M.

  3. Thank you for a great product review. While this probably wasn’t the cheapest meal your family ever had, it is good to know that tasty foods are available for long term storage in case of emergencies.

    • Some of us were not able to eat all the food because we were full. So the cost is not all that bad considering how lightweight the meals were. However, I am always open to specific suggestions. The cheaper MREs we tried were horrible to eat whereas these were quite tasty.

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