Army MRE is the acronym for Meal, Ready-to-Eat. These all inclusive, individual serving packages are the modern day field ration and used by U.S army.
Prior to the introduction of MREs, canned "Meal, Combat, Individual Rations (MCI) were used. MRE's came into use in 1981.
History of Military MRE's
The first field rations were created by a resolution of Congress during the Revolutionary War.
These early versions contained enough meal for one man for one full day. The food items were mainly beef, peas and rice. If you want to know more benefits of XMRE you may browse the web.
When the Civil War was fought, the military transitioned to canned foods. With contents including canned meat, salt pork, bread, coffee, sugar and salt.
World War I introduced the light weight preserved meats that were salted and dried. This eliminated the heavier cans and allowed for more to be carried by individual soldiers.
World War II brought quite a few changes to the field rations of old. The Mountain Ration (M-rations for battle at high altitudes) and Jungle Ration (J-rations for soldiers fighting in tropical environments) were among these changes.
However, due to the cost cutting near the end of WWII the canned foods were reintroduced. And these foods were referred to as C rations.
The canned wet rations were used throughout the Vietnam War but did improve and were known as MCI field rations.