A feature of the IDF that is familiar to generations of soldiers is no more, at least for now. The long-storage crackers made by Osem, for use by soldiers who are stuck with nothing else if they are in the field for a long time, is being replaced by a similar product – made in California.
The Osem cracker has been used by the IDF as part of its emergency supply kit, to provide quick nutrition for soldiers who are on missions in the field and cannot access other food. The crackers have a shelf life of three years, after which crackers that were not eaten were destroyed. The new crackers, made by Katadyn North American Foods, has a shelf life of 15 years. The use of the new crackers is expected to save the army millions of dollars over the coming years.
An IDF spokesperson said that the army had spent four years looking for the right cracker, and that the selected ones were the best in terms of taste, freshness, and the ability to resist bacteria. “In the tender for a new cracker, we had suppliers who promised us a 25-year shelf life, but there were issues with taste and packaging, with up to 30 percent of the crackers broken. The food served in the IDF is an important factor in maintaining the motivation of soldiers.”