I bought an excalibur in 2003 and haven't bought a prepacked meal since. Since I was often getting food for 4 or more I think I saved the purchase price by the second year. If you don't have the money than get something used like others have mentioned.

We eat a lot more fruit and veges on the trail and I don't get the complaints of the taste of the freeze dried junk. I also know my food was fresh until I dried it a week or two before the trip. The prepacked stuff might be a couple of year old.

Jeff MyBackpackTrips