The Ecommerce giant, Amazon.com is looking for new technology in order to enhance the food home delivery segment. It is looking at the technology which was first developed for the US military in order to produce tasty meals that need no refrigeration. It is looking for new ways to muscle into the $700 billion grocery business across US. Amazon.com has discussed selling ready to eat dishes as soon as next year.
These dishes would be easy to maintain and ship since it does not require refrigeration and would be offered cheaper compared to the take out from a restaurant. If this technology comes into fruition and Amazon implements it on a huge scale, it would be a major step forward for the company. Delivering meals would be built on the company’s AmazonFresh service which already delivers groceries to customers’ homes for a decade. It would also help the $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market planned by Amazon.
The pioneering technology, known as microwave assisted thermal sterilization or MATS is being brought into the market by a venture backed startup called 915 Labs which is based in Denver. The state of the art technology involves placing the sealed packages of food in pressurized water and then heating them with microwaves for a few minutes. These dishes retain their natural flavor and texture. They can remain on the shelf for a year, which makes it suitable for the storage and delivery model of Amazon.
Another company, Solve For food also plans to acquire a MATS machine which can make 1800 packages in an hour. It aims to use the machine at a food innovation center in northwest Arkansas. MATS technology is a result of the efforts by the US Army’s Natick laboratory which helped improve the food quality for soldiers in combat. 915 Labs has also licensed the original patents from Washington University and its MATS dishes are only pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company has also sold its machines to the Australian Government and across food companies in Asia.
Companies have to use this technology because they do not have the refrigerated supply chain and they want to ensure that the food remains fresh for consumption. This technology has been used earlier and it has proven successful which the reason behind the investment made by Amazon. If Amazon needs to deliver meals to homes, they will have to hire people and invest in a technology which will make it possible.
MATS is one way Amazon is searching for a competitive edge in the grocery business, in order to distinguish itself from other companies. Amazon has also filed for a trademark for cook it yourself meal kits but it has not yet detailed the plans for the delivery. Once the technology and logistics are well laid out, the company can announce its plans and allow individuals to make the most of the food delivery sector they are embarking upon.