MRE pizza: Would you take it backpacking?

The ready-to-eat pizza is finally appetizing after decades of recipe tweaks.
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The 2018 version of the MRE pizza is available to soldiers and civilians. Heat it in hot water, on a pizza stone, or in the oven.

The 2018 version of the MRE pizza is available to soldiers and civilians. Heat it in hot water, on a pizza stone, or in the oven.

Decades in the making, Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) pizza is gaining notoriety as one of the better options for U.S. soldiers. 

Considered the original trail food, MREs aren't known for their mind-blowing flavor. But this new rectangular slice with melt-proof mozzarella and bits of pepperoni—the newest of 24 current options—was developed at an Army lab in Massachusetts by food scientists gunning for the perfect recipe.

So far, reviews (like the one below and this one) are raving. "This pizza was worth the wait," said the reviewer in the video below. Another said, "Reminds me of a school pizza, man."

An MRE must have a shelf life of at least three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and withstand parachute drops and intense weather, according to the Defense Logistics Agency. Taste has always been a lower priority. MREs were first introduced in 1981 to fulfill a 1,200-calorie meal. Some meals are heated by adding water to the chemical pouch.

Pizza has been a request by soldiers for decades, but food scientists struggled with finding ingredients that heated equally, wouldn't mold, and looked somewhat appetizing. 

The new version was set to release in 2016, but the Army shelved it because it didn't look good enough to eat. Two years later, the wait is over. It's currently available online for $4 per slice.

If it works for soldiers, it could work for backpackers too.

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