Marine Corps garrison mess halls have come a long way in just the past few years when it comes to meeting customer expectations, especially considering that the target constantly changes with the arrival of each generation.
“Each new generation of Marines brings a different set of culinary expectations, which prompts the foodservices community to seek new ways of improving the mess halls,” said Patrick Grosso, food service director, Marine Corps Installations-West, MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif. “To meet these constantly evolving tastes we conduct numerous customer surveys at all of our installation mess halls. We also host focus groups with the Marines and our foodservice contractor, Sodexo.”
Naturally, this customer research is mined for information about the type of cuisine Marines enjoy, and clues that might lead to the introduction of new menu options or dining strategies.
“We even get a sense of the type of setting, and have discovered that Marines see the mess hall as a place where they can enjoy a break from their daily routine to do something more than just eating; it has become a place to relax and reenergize,” Grosso said. ...
Pizza is one of many high-ranking cards that military food service can play to sway service members to choose dining facilities in favor of other daily mealtime options on, or off, the base.
In the campus-style layout of Marine Corps dining facilities, pizza is featured at a serving station because of its popularity, as well as a visual attraction.
“We asked the Marines their opinion about pizza, and heard their message loud and clear,” said Patrick Grosso, food service director, Marine Corps Installations- West, MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif. “We now have college-campus-style serving stations coupled with display cooking and fire-burning pizza ovens.”
Traditional contemporary pizza resembles the original that Grosso traces back to Naples, Italy. Genuine Neapolitan pizza, he said, still conforms to having a base no thicker than three millimeters, and the traditional toppings of tomato, garlic, olive oil, mozzarella and basil.
Here in America, however, the pizza has come a long way. “Americans love modifying food, and over the years pizza, in an endless number of varieties, has become an All-American food,” Grosso said. ...
FOOD FOCUS: PIZZA — PIZZA DELIVERY
Natick Solves Technical Challenges to Shelf Stability for Pizza MREs
Warfighters could soon bite into any of four shelf-stable pizza Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) varieties as the popular entrée is on course to join the Joint Services Operational Rations menu in 2017 and satisfy steady requests from service members for the option.
Field tested in September 2014 with soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo., the pizza MRE received positive feedback, which cleared the way for it to be recommended to the Joint Services Operational Rations Forum (JSORF) for inclusion in the 2017 menu.
Natick developed four varieties of pepperoni pizza MREs to date that, if approved, will be added to the menu: diced; sliced; turkey; and osmoroni. Osmoroni is a type of pepperoni that is manufactured with an osmotic dehydration process, which allows healthy or low-sodium alternatives to conventional pepperoni.
A fifth shelf-stable pizza flavor may soon be added as Natick is working to develop a barbecue chicken pizza MRE.
“Warfighter recommendations drove the development of the MRE pizza,” said Mike Stepien, a program-marketing analyst at the Combat Feeding Directorate, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass. “Throughout the years, feedback has demonstrated our military desires the inclusion ofé pizza into the ration.” ...