The development of the MRE, or "meal ready-to-eat" was a game-changer for military personnel. Previously tasked with hauling around bulky cans of unpalatable food on long missions, soldiers were relieved by the U.S. Army's Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center with this innovation that packs more nutritious cuisine into storage-maximizing flat packaging that only needs to be torn or snipped across the top. The technology at first was limited to "wet" foods, like fruit cocktail, stews and pastas that were heat-stabilized to prevent bacterial growth, but thanks to science, the menu is expanding.
The thing is — and this has been the case for some time — everyone wants pizza, and that's not a preparation that takes kindly to being stuffed in a foil sleeve and left indefinitely. There's the moisture in the cheese and sauce to worry about, and a crust to keep from getting soggy. Thankfully the urgency of the situation has been realized, as food chemists invent more ways to get soldiers the food they want.
By adjusting the moisture levels and acidity of each component, the senior food technologist on the project was able to prevent the sauce from sinking into the bread and remove enough moisture from the cheese to keep it from spoiling while still tasting like the real thing for up to 1,000 days.
“It’s about providing things that are familiar to them when they are sitting 3,000 miles away on a mountainside in Afghanistan — to see something familiar, there’s an intangible benefit there,” Jeremy Whitsitt of the soldier research and development center told Army Times.
And while it's not delivery or even DiGiorno (as far as heating it up goes, you're on your own), preliminary taste tests indicate that this is going to be a popular option.
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