The MRE (abbreviated from "Meal, Ready-to-Eat") is a highly nutritious field ration for use by United States Armed Forces servicemen in combat and field conditions where organized food facilities are not available. The main meals in the pouch come pre-cooked in "boil in the foil" packets that can be warmed by immersing them in water that activates heating cells in the MRE pouch. MREs were first issued in 1981 on a limited basis and finally replaced the older canned rations when stockpiles were used up in 1986.
Military individual field rations were used by the United States Army and are found extensively in the area surrounding the Divide. The MRE contains boneless pork chop as the main course along with standard sundries. This food item is one of the few radiation-free foods in the game, and its nutritional value in hardcore mode is among the highest found in any food, on par with the much heavier caravan lunch.
If Ulysses is alive after the final quest of Lonesome Road, he will be at the entrance to the canyon wreckage. If the Courier asks him if he has recovered anything from the dust of Hopeville, he will give three or four MREs and other minor loot.
The real-life MRE Menu No. 2 was a boneless pork chop from 2000-2001. Menu No. 2 is currently Shredded BBQ Beef. The resale notice was added in 2001. The bag design more closely resembles older MREs.
The real-life ZIP code of Mullins, South Carolina, where MRE supplier SOPAKCO is based, is 29574, whereas the ZIP code on the bag, 12490, corresponds to West Camp, New York.