The key is MATS, or microwave assisted thermal sterilization, which involves placing food packets into pressurized water and heating them up using microwaves. Traditionally, MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) are sterilized using a pressure cooker, which deprives them of nutrients, not to mention flavor and texture. This new method delivers a much tastier final product, and has a shelf life for up to a year. No refrigeration is required.
Officials at 915 Labs, which is trying to bring MATS technology to the retail sector, confirmed that Amazon had expressed interest in selling dishes such as a vegetable frittata and beef stew. They could bring the meals to market as early as 2018.
The question is really whether Amazon’s target market would be interested in this type of prepared food. Amazon’s foray into prepared meal kits, such as their upcoming Blue Apron competitor, is understandable. But do customers really want the equivalent of (tasty) MREs? Clearly Amazon is trying to tackle the frozen dinner market here, which they struggle to be competitive in because of delivery challenges. It will likely all depend on just how good the meals are.