According to Reuters, Amazon’s next step on the road to grocery market dominance is a new take on the military’s infamous Meals-Ready-to-Eat.
Amazon is pursuing a relationship with Denver-based 915 Labs in developing meals with a technology known as Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization, or MATS, pioneered by Washington State University.
Rather than the historically unpalatable meals on which our armed forces have come to rely, the proposed packages of highly compressed water are sterilized by mere minutes in a microwave during production, and can last for a year without refrigeration. There would be no preparation required by the consumer. Just open, and eat.
It’s just one more way in which Amazon is trying very hard to crack the roughly $700 billion U.S. grocery market. This, in addition to their imminent $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, their already strong AmazonFresh grocery delivery service, and the checkout-free convenience store that they are currently testing.
Competitors are already lining up to utilize 915 Labs’ MATS tech, including former Wal-Mart executive Greg Spragg. Of Amazon’s sudden interest, he observed that “they obviously see that this is a potential disruptor and an ability to get to a private brand uniqueness that they’re looking for. They will test these products with their consumers, and get a sense of where they would go.”
Already on the potential menu are beef stew and vegetable frittata. Thus far, Amazon has declined to comment.
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