In the last few weeks, new crackers have entered the military's emergency storages, manufactured by Katadyn North America Foods, which has come to replace the old Osem crackers that have existed in the IDF for decades. The American-made crackers will probably be competing for the longest expiration date title, as they are valid for 15 years. The old crackers were only valid for three years.
The IDF food engineers examined the flavor of the new cracker in several taste tests while ensuring that the product's shelf-life was maintained so that it would not be attacked by bacteria.
The new crackers are somewhat sweet and thick compared to the old crackers. They are packed in a tin container with an additional inner plastic lining to prevent their breakage.
"We started the process of replacing the crackers four years ago, and some suppliers even guaranteed a 25-year validity period," the army said. "But we wanted to ensure a competitive tender as well as maintain the integrity of the cracker, since the other packages noted up to 30% breakage.”
The old crackers cost the IDF NIS 1 million every year, since once every three years the army was forced to replenish its inventory at a cost of NIS 3 million.
The old crackers were taken out of use before their expiry date, as their dryness and tastelessness became the butt of jokes among soldiers. The case is similar to the veteran preserved meat, the meatloaf, which has also been dismissed from the army in recent years.
Even though the new cracker is produced in the United States, American soldiers have yet to taste them since they use emergency crackers in personal packages with relatively short validity.
The new cracker is only part of the upgrade of the combat rations, which also include meat that can be heated in the field alongside nutritional side dishes.
“Army food provides comfort and has a refreshing mental effect on the soldier, which also contributes to his health," an officer from the technology and logistics unit told Ynet.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)