- Hormel is launching a new medical foods line, Hormel Vital Cuisine, which includes RTE meals, nutrition shakes, and whey protein powders specially designed to serve the needs of cancer patients.
- The company partnered with the Cancer Nutrition Consortium to develop the line, which are the first products certified by the organization. The products provide nutrients and protein to help patients combat the loss of energy and muscle mass they endure during cancer treatments.
- Hormel also worked closely with professional chefs to maintain a focus on flavor and not just functionality.
Manufacturers are taking the concept of functional foods one step further as they explore the $15 billion medical foods market. Nestle set a $500 million budget through 2021 to perform research into medical foods, which includes a lab with machines that can analyze human DNA to create customized treatment regimens for various diseases.
Medical foods could give a new meaning to the doctor recommendation of taking medicine with food. Patients could take the nutrients and medicine they need for treatment by eating specialized foods. The food itself becomes the delivery mechanism for the medical treatment rather than just being any food that helps the body absorb an oral medication.
Like Hormel and the CNC, manufacturers may form more partnerships with research and medical institutions to develop medical foods to treat various diseases, chronic or acute. However, the food industry may still have to work to overcome concerns from consumers and public health advocates who distrust major food and beverage companies.
A portion of the proceeds from this line will go to fund CNC's research and outreach initiatives.