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MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:22 pm
by kman
I've been seeing these things more and more often in the grocery stores - commercial foods in retort pouches. As you probably know, retort pouches are those things the MRE entrees and sides come in. I'll make another post later about the actual technology behind retort pouchs.

The first retort pouches I saw in the grocery store were for tuna - then salmon - then flavored tuna, etc. It was pretty cool to see retort pouches catching on. But tuna...not too exciting. Later, I started seeing cat food (Friskies) in retort pouches. Again, very cool...but it's still cat food. Then a number of months back, I saw that Wal-Mart Super Centers were carrying the "Sweet Sue" brand of retort-packaged meals. These things were honest-to-goodness entrees - things like Chicken Marinara and Chili. These things cost about $2.50 each which I considered low enough to try but a little to high to stock up on.

Then this past weekend, I was at a local Big Lots store and saw they had some retort-pouched entrees from Castleberry's - Lasagna and Chili No Beans. Even better, they were only $0.69 each. Here's a picture of the lasagna entree:

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What's even better about the Castleberry entrees is that they're almost the exact same size and shape of the MRE entrees - which means they fit inside an FRH. I gave it a try and it worked just fine. The Castleberry Lasagna entree heated up just fine. The pouch itself is a little bit thinner than the military entrees, material-wise - it didn't feel as sturdy. Of course, the commercial entrees probably weren't designed to withstand a 100-foot fall.

Taste-wise, the lasagna tasted fine - not amazing, not wonderful - but what else are you expecting from a retort-pouch meal? Throw in a little salt and some tobasco sauce and I'd put it on par with the military MRE entrees. And for $0.69, you can't go wrong with these things.

Here's a comparison picture of four different types of entrees. From left to right, they are: Military MRE entree (Jamaican Pork Chop), Castleberry Lasagna, Castleberry Chili, and Sweet Sue Chicken Marinara. Click on the picture to see a larger version and also to see the front and back shots.

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Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:55 pm
by fdsman
I know this thread is over 5 years old, but is this trend over? All I see in my stores are tuna and salmon, nothing like full meals really.

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:06 pm
by Treesuit
Which stores are you refering too?

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:14 pm
by LogDayFreshHots
Watch out for the Castleberry's chili. Every time I would visit their website they had posted recalls for the chili and/ or hot dog chili.

That may explain the $0.69 per pouch price. If the quality hasn't improved it could become known as Castleberry's Barf Bag meals. :oops:

Of course if it heads south.... :shock:

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:34 am
by PanzerDivision666
Have not run onto these yet here in Ohio. I have seen the spam slices, and the chicken, and of course, tuna. the tuna tastes better than the stuff out of the can, by far.

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:43 pm
by Wolfsbane
I've been living in WA and AZ since this thread was started, I've never come across Castleberry products but for a couple of years now I've been seeing some Indian food in what seems to be retort pouches; the Tasty Bite line of madras lentils, bombay potatoes, punjab eggplant, etc.
I'm not much for the spices of Indian food but I've been OK with the potatoes & chickpeas and some of the lentils (I love lentils generally) so I've put a few with my emergency stocks and will rotate through them over the year.

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:58 am
by Norton
Wolf
I live in Virginia and go camping a great deal, So I keep a look out for civilian Retort meals also.
We see the tasty Bite brand for sale at most of our large chains. If you are looking for something different,try Asian Grocery stores. I have found high quality Japanese S&B brand 'mild' curry meals. They contain potatoes, carrots and celery. I combined it with retort single serving SPAM Or MRE Country Captain Chicken. Great meals both time and not too spicy.

What I want is Hormel or Libby's Corned Beef in 7. oz single serving retort pouches. They sell them on Amazon, but you have to buy 12.
I understand they sell them in small Filipino owned markets. If I had a pouch I would combine it with MRE Hash Brown Potatoes & Jalapeno cheese for Breakfast/ Supper.

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:45 pm
by Bypah
Guys have you tried Dollar General or Dollar Tree stores? Most of the times they carry these type of retort style meals specially meats. :wink: :mrgreen:

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:09 pm
by Failsafe77
LogDayFreshHots wrote:Watch out for the Castleberry's chili. Every time I would visit their website they had posted recalls for the chili and/ or hot dog chili.

That may explain the $0.69 per pouch price. If the quality hasn't improved it could become known as Castleberry's Barf Bag meals. :oops:

Of course if it heads south.... :shock:


Just came across this article but found it very ironic. I've only eaten one Castleberry product in my life. The bean-less chili in a can, back on the east coast. It made me horribly, violently ill. :cry:

Re: MRE-like Retort Pouches in Your Local Grocery Store

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:55 pm
by jim_w333
Does anyone remember going into your grocery store and buying cooked corned beef? Not in a can at the deli? It was sliced thin and about the size of a piece of regular bread. It was so good they fed that to our guys in the military in ww2. I was wondering why they stopped selling it and now you can only get it in a can bye Hormel or Castleberry. Just was thinking of it.thanks