No doubt Amazon sells everything under the sun, and for a little while now, they’ve been making their way into the grocery and food business. Its recent purchase of Whole Foods is obvious evidence just how serious the online giant is about this category, and now, it’s being reported that Amazon is looking at using military technology to create Amazon Meals that don’t need refrigeration.
The military calls it 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 yummier final product, and stays good for up to a year without the need for refrigeration.
The company 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 beef stew and a vegetable frittata, and that Amazon could be ready to bring these meals to the public by 2018.
Will this new MATS technology Amazon food be successful? The question is really whether Amazon’s target market would be interested in this type of prepared food. Amazon’s intro into prepared meal kits, such as their upcoming Blue Apron competitor, certainly makes sense, but do people really want to eat MREs? It’s possible, and clearly obvious markets would be those that travel, camp and participate in lengthy athletic events. MREs are a perfect food for these consumers. But will the masses like it?
Additionally, Amazon is trying to tackle the frozen dinner market here, which they struggle to be competitive in because of delivery challenges, i.e. cooling-equipped boxes. It will likely all depend on just how good the meals are.