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This non-alcoholic beer was designed for chemo patients

Could a beer developed for chemo patients lead to better patient outcomes?

During chemo, it’s common to experience dysgeusia or impaired taste – nothing tastes good, food has a metallic taste, and sweets and salts don’t affect the taste buds in the typical manner. In fact, according to research performed by the Science Shop of Wageningen University, dysgeusia can impact health outcomes by reducing the appeal of food and increasing the likelihood of malnutrition.

In the Czech Republic, the country with the highest beer consumption per capita, two companies are working on a novel approach to these issues: They have designed a non-alcoholic beer especially for chemo patients.

Mamma Beer is a product of Mamma Help, a counseling and support center for women with breast cancer. “Mamma” means breast in Latin.

Many cancer patients find the taste of beer too bitter while undergoing therapy, but the brew can provide important nutrition to patients, as well as the familiarity of having a cold one. The project was launched in conjunction with Tereza Sverakova, an executive with an advertising agency in Prague. In an interview with AdWeek, Sverakova explained:

[Beer] really does help, but the taste is just so bitter! So, we thought it would be great to develop beer specifically for women undergoing chemo–beer that has all the vitamins and nutrients, but has no alcohol and is made sweeter to kill the bitterness. A beer that would help counter this side effect of chemo and promote Mamma HELP at the same time. We approached nine breweries, but just one said yes: Zatec. It took them half a year to develop the beer. Those who tasted Mamma Beer have found it to be great. That’s the biggest reward.

Tereza Sverakova, CCO of Y&R Prague

Although the beer is not yet publicly available, oncologists and other care givers have been distributing the initial 400 bottle run to patients who have responded favorably to the drink’s anti-nausea effects. The beer is fortified with potassium and vitamin B, and sweetened with apple juice. It’s even made its way onto Untapped, the beer rating app!

Untapped user Marek posted this picture and rated Mamma Beer 3.5/5 stars.

Y&R Prague also produced this video promoting the beer.

While the beer is not likely to reach the States anytime soon, the product is one in a growing market of food and beverage items developed specifically for medical patients, in an attempt to create new high growth opportunities for incumbent consumer packaged good companies. With the Wall Street Journal expecting this market to reach $15bn in annual volume, let’s raise a glass to the researchers working on these solutions.

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