October 29, 2011
Washington Post publisher, Christian Davenport reported that the Meal, Ready to Eat, (MREs), are upgrading their selections to more of gourmet taste with ‘caffeinated beef jerky’. He announced that an Army lab is testing beef jerky that looks and tastes like your normal beef jerky stick, but with a serving of caffeine that is equivalent to one full cup of coffee, giving soldiers an extra boost of energy, when needed.
If beef jerky wasn’t enough to get your taste buds raving, more than just caffeine, Davenport reports that military technologists are lacing food with supplements such as omega 3s and curcumin, which act as anti-inflammatories. Maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate that gives service members a little turbo charge, is injected into an amped-up applesauce called Zapplesauce.
For years, the not so tasty, meal has been an only option for soldiers who don’t have access to meal facilities, and with a shelf lifespan of 3 years at 80 degrees, it doesn’t sound like a meal you would order by choice, but with these new options, it will give military soldiers a little something more to look forward to when it comes to meal time.
The casserole, mystery meat and tuna have been replaced by dishes endorsed by the Natick center’s “sensory evaluators.” Recent enhanced additions include chicken and pesto pasta, feta cheese and tomato. Natick scientists have been able to double the number of MRE options from 12 to 24, including chicken pesto and rice, “ratatouille, garlic mashed potatoes, and salsa verde.”
Back In the labs, the researchers are also testing a variety of soups to be put in a storage facility to later be tested for approval.
If the researchers deem a meal acceptable, they will then take it to military bases across the country, asking service members to fill out a 17-question survey after sampling sessions of the enhanced meals.
For 2013, officials are thinking about adding a chicken and rice dish and beef lo mein.