Meals for patients, designed with Love
A patient is diagnosed with cancer every seven minutes in Taiwan. Most patients opt for Western treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and the battle against the malignant disease is each patient’s last hope of a rejuvenated life.
However, something is missing. Patients undergoing rigorous cancer treatments have to deal with a medication’s side effects and as such have unique nutritional needs.
Despite the critical role that nutritional intake plays in a successful treatment, tailor- made meals for cancer patients were nearly non- existent until just over four years ago, when Miracle Power Love ( ) came on board to provide the service.
The company’s co- founder, Wang Pin- jiao ( ) , a longtime nursing professional, explained how her business got started. In the process of providing care in her nursing career, Wang was asked many nutritionrelated questions by patients.
Knowing their unique nutritional needs, many patients asked: “Are there any providers that deliver meals for cancer patients?” After replying “no” to the question multiple times and seeing the anxiety and disappointment in the inquisitors’ faces, Wang thought to herself: “How come no one is providing the service? There are many postnatal diets provided in the market, so how come no one is offering chemo diets?”
A Not- so- easy Path
So in October 2010, Wang and a fellow nursing professional founded Miracle Power Love. Soon afterwards, they found out why no one had waded into the business — the complexity and difficulty of the task was just too great.
In order to make tailor- made meals, they must first acquaint themselves with different cancer types and their impact on food intake, as well as clinical medicines and their side effects, since they all play a role in the patents’ digestion and nutrient absorption.
Professional knowledge of the interrelation between different nutrients and their characteristics is also required in order to design ideal diets.
Then, to turn all these concepts into actual meals, they must recruit the right chef who is willing to make adjustments to the traditional way of cooking and prepare dishes of unusual textures, flavors and even shapes to meet cancer patients’ special requirements.
Meals that Appeal to
Imagine the nausea, lack of appetite, loss of taste and swallowing pains that cancer patients have to suffer.
What is on Miracle Power Love’s menu can easily appeal to the most health- conscious gourmet. Every meal comes with a cup of tea; a bowl of rice, noodles or congee; three dishes ( chicken, beef, fish or pork) and soup. They are cooked and delivered to patients’ residences on a daily basis.
Among the more than 400 dishes that Miracle Power Love has designed for cancer patients are orange spare ribs, foo- young shrimp, stir fried egg white with crab meat, steamed mushroom stuffed with shrimp paste, caterpillar fungus vitality soup, and pork rib soup with lotus seeds and lily bulbs.
Cancer patients usually require a higher dose of protein to enable the growth of white blood cells, Wang stressed, adding that the point is helping patients “complete treatment smoothly.”
The Entrepreneur Journey
Miracle Power Love weighs in treatment, medication and patients’ diet preferences to come up with tailor- made meals.
The endeavor enabled Wang’s team to gather lots of know- how, but also translated into substantial losses in the early stages.
In every business, no matter the industry, to grow from nothing to a certain size, capital and time is often the source of pressure and problems, Wang said of the company’s biggest challenge in early days.
” We had passion and professional knowledge when we first started, but this was not enough. We needed a team, but the problem was that there was a talent shortage in our industry since no one had done this before or had related experience.”
” Consequently, we needed more time to cultivate talent, and the question was if we had abundant capital to cover the extended period of time required to train our staff.” It can be a drag to the company, said Wang.
Looking back, it was a growth process and maintaining the right balance between capital, talent and time was the key to the business’ sustainability, said Wang.
The Road Ahead
The food preparation cannot be automated and requires substantial investment of human effort, Wang said, adding that working long hours is “inevitable.”
Nevertheless, patients’ feedback has provided the greatest support in Miracle Power Love’s moving forward. “When you see patients regain their health, and see the value and joy of life again because of your help ... the sense of accomplishment transcends all,” Wang said.
This energy will pave the way for the company’s future expansion, that is, the promotion of other meal brands, tailor made for the elderly, patients who have undergone surgery, and patients of other common diseases. The company has also introduced frozen homemade soup and food packages that require only 30 minutes of cooking.
We have overcome the most difficult part — preparing meals for cancer patients — and with the existing infrastructure and facilities, the pace of future ex- pansion will vary widely from that in the past, Wang said confidently.
(Top) Miracle Power Love ( ) Inc. co-founder Wang Pin-jiao ( ), center, poses with the company’s nurse and dietitians in Taipei on Saturday, April 18. Wang and her team factor in medication, treatment regimen and diet preference to make tailor-made meals for cancer patients. (Above) This undated photo shows a meal package from Miracle Power Love. All meals for cancer patients are cooked and delivered to their residence on a daily basis. Company co-founder Wang stressed that cancer patients require a higher dose of protein to aid their recovery.