Developed in conjunction with experts from the Cancer Nutrition Consortium, Hormel Foods is debuting a new line of packaged, ready-to-eat meals, shakes and protein powders designed to specifically support the nutritional needs of cancer patients.

The new products, named Hormel Vital Cuisine, provide a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that are needed to combat the fatigue, unintentional weight loss and decreased muscle mass that often accompanies cancer treatment. The ready-to-eat meals feature three varieties—chicken and dumpling, vegetarian stew, and beef and mushroom gravy.

“During product development, we brought together researchers in both the health and culinary fields to ensure a thorough understanding of a patient's needs during various phases of treatment,” says Chet S. Rao, strategy and business manager for the specialty foods group at Hormel Foods. “This product line was thoughtfully crafted, since many product attributes such as flavor, texture, and ingredients are known to affect patients differently during their cancer journey, during which eating and drinking can be challenging.”

“Most cancer patients are too tired to make a meal, or even shop for it. Yet the importance of good, consistent nutrition can't be overstated,” says Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, physician and chairman of the CNC. "We saw an opportunity to address these issues. So in 2014, we embarked on this endeavor with Hormel Health Labs to improve cancer patients’ quality of life.”