Amazon.com (AMZN - Free Report) is exploring new food technology that produces prepared meals without refrigeration as it develops its food delivery and meal-kit services.
According to Reuters, the retail giant wants to sell ready-to-eat meals with technology first developed for the U.S. military. The technology is known as microwave assisted thermal sterilization, or MATS. The food is prepared by placing sealed packages of food in pressurized water and heating them in microwaves for several minutes.
The dishes, including beef stew and vegetable frittata, would be easy to stockpile and ship because they would not need to be refrigerated. The packages also have a year-long shelf life, allowing Amazon to sell the ready-to-eat meals at a low price.
MATS was developed by researchers at Washington State University and is currently being bought by the startup 915 Labs, which is based in Denver.
Amazon has been working to expand its food offerings in the last few months. Besides buying Whole Foods (WFM) for $13.7 billion, the company filed a meal-kit trademark last month described as “We do the prep. You be the chef.”
This new initiative by Amazon could mean further bad news for Blue Apron (APRN - Free Report) . Yesterday the meal-kit delivery company released a terrible first-ever earnings report, stating a loss of 47 cents per share.
While Blue Apron could blame Amazon for its abysmal results, the company announced that it had encountered “unexpected complexities” with its automated New Jersey warehouse, including high training costs of employees. Blue Apron also admitted to having trouble shipping orders on time and in full, causing their customer base to drop 9%.
Amazon is currently testing its meal-kit service in certain markets, but has not yet released detailed plans for ready-to-eat meal delivery.
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