May 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM ET
Does the idea of a canned sandwich that stays fresh for a full year or more fill you with longing? Queasiness? Utter fascination?
Whatever physiological response you have, now is your big chance to try a canned sandwich for yourself. The peanut-butter-and-jelly (PBJ Grape) Candwich just became available for purchase online. The grab-and-go convenience also can be snapped up at select 7-Eleven stores in Utah, and at the Rocky Mountain Bread Co. in West Jordan, Utah.
Bringing this product to market fulfills a longstanding ambition for Mark Kirkland, the founder of Mark One Foods and the entrepreneur/dreamer behind the Candwich. Kirkland has been toiling since the 1990s to arrive at this moment.
“It’s been a long, hard road,” he told TODAY.com for a story about his vision for canned convenience foods last summer. “If I didn’t really believe in the product and I didn’t have a good wife, I’d probably be dead now.”
Inside the can are “shelf-stable bread” and sandwich fixings including a squeezable packet of peanut butter and another of jelly -- plus a small piece of taffy for dessert.
“We hope this will become a staple for people, especially during this time when many natural disasters are affecting us across the U.S.,” Kirkland said this month when announcing that Candwiches are now available to the masses.
When making Candwiches, Kirkland uses techniques similar to those used to preserve Meals Ready-to-Eat for soldiers. He’s also successfully made canned sandwiches and pizza pockets that have meat baked into them (although those aren’t for sale quite yet). Kirkland’s canned foods are subjected to the rigors of “hurdle technology” -- that is, hurdles to prevent the growth of any pathogens or unwanted organisms in the food. By controlling the amount of oxygen, acidity and water inside the packaging and the sandwich itself, pathogens can be stopped in their tracks, Kirkland explained.
The cans don’t need to be refrigerated or heated -- and in fact, they can even roll around in your car for months until you or a crying kid in your backseat is overcome by hunger pangs. One of Kirkland’s key target demographics? Soccer moms.