The long-lasting pizza has become known as the "holy-grail" of MRE (meals-ready-to-eat) foods at the research center due to the high demand from soldiers and the challenges associated with its development.
Michelle Richardson, a food scientist at the center, said, "You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it'd still be edible." Richardson added that pizza is one of the most requested items when soldiers are asked every year what they'd like to see in their rations.
Previous efforts to craft pizza with a long shelf life have been thwarted by the high moisture inherent to its ingredients, which make for ideal conditions for mold and bacteria growth. To overcome the problem, the researches add ingredients that limit water absorption, specialized packaging, and altering the pH levels of each ingredient.
"It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven," Richardson said.