Ready meals will feature technology first designed by the US military

Amazon is stepping up its assault on the grocery market by developing ready meals that don’t need to be refrigerated and last for up to a year.

The US giant has enlisted the help of start-up technology company 915 Labs to develop long-life ready meals, which could form a point of difference for its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service.

According to a Reuters report on Friday, meals such as beef stew and a vegetable frittata could be ready for sale as soon as next year.

The ready meals will use a technique first designed for the US military - microwave assisted thermal sterilisation - which involves placing sealed packages of food in pressurised water and heating them in a microwave.

According to 915 Labs, the method ensures the food keeps its natural flavour, texture and nutrients for up to a year.

An independent review of the technology in 2014 said it showed “promising results” and could work “for a numberless type of products”.

Amazon has declined to comment on the reports.