Service members in the field soon will be able to dine on Meal, Ready-To-Eat (MRE) pepperoni pizza. The Combat Feeding Directorate at the U.S. Army Natick (Mass.) Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is taking the first steps toward providing the new MRE.
While troops have wanted it for years, only recently have researchers come up with the technology and a recipe that allows for the creation of a field ration that would hold together for a three-year shelf life. The first step was creating a product under laboratory conditions. Then, researchers had to figure out how to move the prototype pizza into something that could be mass-produced and packaged like other MREs. Once they were convinced they had a product that would work, researchers began shipping it to groups of soldiers for taste tests in August 2014.
“We were able to do a lot of things in the lab, but sometime when you scale up, working with a producer making these by the thousands, especially with a product that’s never existed before and is not available in the commercial market, replicating the process and coming up with the same results is difficult. But we overcame the challenges and we’ve got a good product now. And soldiers will be seeing pizza pretty soon,” said Jeremy Whitsett of the Combat Feeding Directorate.
The new MREs could arrive as soon as later this year, and almost certainly will have made their debut by sometime in 2019.