A pizza delivery that takes three years is sure to deliver a pie that is no longer hot or sizzling, but the troops may soon get the comfort food that they request most frequently. A pizza with the shelf life of three years is being developed by the U.S. Army Natrick Soldier Research, Engineering and Development Center located in Natrick, Massachusetts.
Lab team member Jill Bates says, “It pretty much tastes like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven. The only thing missing from that experience would be it’s not hot when you eat it. It’s room temperature.”
The simple fact that the pizza will be safe to eat for up to three years is a huge accomplishment. There have been previous attempts at developing such a pizza with numerous challenges bringing these attempts to a bad ending due to things like soggy pizza, mold and disease causing bacteria.
Military food researchers discovered that ingredients called humectants, like salt, sugar and syrups could prevent the moist ingredients from soaking into the dough. Because the pizza would not be refrigerated and would be exposed to heat, the scientists also had to adjust the ingredients’ acidity.
Taste testing of the new MRE pizza will occur in August. Production of the pizza could begin as early as next year. Food laboratories trying to help folks in uniform is not limited to the United States military. Greek researchers have been trying to make crispy French fries to satisfy the cravings of a Russian cosmonaut. Their efforts were funded by the European Space Agency.