ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army debuted new meals ready to eat including pizza that’s coming down the pipeline soon and special compact, gourmet rations for close combat that will include mini quiches for the front line.
The new food items, which were displayed in the Pentagon courtyard late last week, are an effort to improve soldiers’ nutrition while still offering troops an MRE they’d actually want to eat.
In this vein, the military is planning on testing an array of vacuum-sealed dried fruits and veggies such as the banana compressed to about a third of its size.
The taste-tempter expected to be on the menu for downrange soldiers next year, and at some locations possibly earlier than that, is the pepperoni pizza MRE, which officials said has been a longstanding request from troops and was put into development in 2012.
According to the Army, the pizza is “made with a high-heat-tolerant mozzarella cheese” and has a three-year shelf life. The MRE also will come with cherry blueberry cobbler, cheddar and jalapeño cheese, Italian bread sticks, cookies, and chocolate protein drink powder.
A chocolate Enhanced Performance Bar that has been tested among some basic trainees over the past year will get expanded availability. The Army says the bar “can measurably increase bone density” with its calcium and vitamin D, thus they hope feeding it to trainees can help protect against stress fractures.
The Close Combat Assault Ration prepared with vacuum microwave drying are expected to be deployed for field testing in two years, and could be used Army-wide by 2023. The Army says the daylong ration is comparable to the First Strike Ration, except smaller and lighter with the vacuum-compressed fruits and veggies.
In addition to the shrunken banana, officials displayed at the Pentagon a tart cherry nut bar, a cheddar cheese bar, mocha dessert bar, vacuum-dried strawberries, trail mix of nuts and fruit, a Korean barbeque stir fry packet, a pack of four little spinach quiches, and a French toast packet with nine mini pieces of the breakfast treat.