|There is more information available on this subject at Meal, Ready-to-Eat on the English Wikipedia.|
The concept of battlefield Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or "MREs" for short, has not changed much over the past six hundred years. MREs are carried aboard UNSC vessels for use on the battlefield. A conventional MRE contains a single meal, consisting of pre-cooked food which has been vacuum-sealed into plastic containers or pouches so as to prevent spoiling.
These MREs are designed so that the contents remain edible for months, or even years, if need be. MREs are typically used in areas of combat where constructing a kitchen facility is not possible, or practical due to time or safety constraints. Each HEV stores a number of MREs for the landed ODSTs. The ODSTs who landed on Installation 04 had ample supplies to set up Alpha Base, including MREs.
MREs have conventionally contained a number of food items, and there are usually dozens of different meals and variations so that not every MRE contains the same meal. This is so that soldiers may have a variety in their Diets while in a hostile area. Some of the materials that could be found in an MRE may include:
The opinion of MREs in the Halo Universe is unknown except that Dr. Halsey had a dislike for them, however many military autobiographies in the Early 21st century recorded negative opinions, being somewhat nasty to eat.
- The MREs scattered around Halsey's lab were probably intended for a long term stay at Sword base.