I use Huel for convenience plus I know it saves food waste and I suspect that by combining all the ingredients on site you probably reduce materials waste as well. I.e. Mainly I see ((Rather -saw) you as an ethical brand.
So I was really happy using your products and promoting them - until you released your Ready To Drink range, which makes you look just like every other retailer. All those plastic bottles Why bother??
So basically I can no longer promote you and feel ok about it. Which is a shame as I also run an environmental podcast and I wanted to discuss you on it.
There is going to be a big shift in customers wanting retailers to be better than this. And I can assure you that green customers are the most loyal you can find.
So I’d ask you to consider some workarounds
Stop selling them.
Keep selling them and markup the price by 20p a bottle and give all excess profit to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Plus make a disclaimer as to why you are doing this on the website.
Positioning yourself as an environmental brand as well as a convenience brand may help.
If you do - you’ll have a loyal buyer and someone who will really promote you.
If you don’t then I’ll shift to another similar brand who does.
I think this still holds. You can still talk about it. Actually, it will give you a very good discussion. You could compare the powder to the RTD, how you feel about them, compare the environmental impact of both, or compare them to food, etc.
With regards to the RTD and plastic, it is ultimately a business decission. If you check the original thread there are few good points in both sides. Perhaps you might want to check it. In Huel’s favour, they have tried to reduce the plastic impact, plus compromised to do it better in the near future.
Tim is on holiday who is normally the active guy on the UK forum but thought I would add my two cents.
I completely get where people are coming from with the added plastic. However, I think the bigger picture is often missed. For a lot of people, for whatever reason whether it is the texture or stigma behind it etc, do not choose the powders. As a result they have a typical meal for lunch like a meal deal. Which includes 3 different products, with packaging.
Huel RTD, gives people an option for a vegan product, all in one piece of packaging. This packaging is 100% recyclable and made of 25% recycled plastic (check out @Coup’s link to see why we can’t go higher currently). As this is version 1 we are going to improve on this don’t worry.
So yes, compared to the powder it is worse environmentally, but compared to just about every other convenience option on the market I would say it is better.
Having worked in customer experience I can say that people have moved from a first order of trying RTD to giving the powders a go for the first time with their second order.
Does DrChris also take umbrage with the many retailers of ‘protein’ powders and shakes who provide many more drinks and powders in recycled plastic containers. Compared to this the impact of RTD Huel appears to be minimal. I don’t use RTD for the environmental its convenience. I think we must assume a correlation of the more convenient something is the environmental impact usually increases (there are some exceptions). For me, using RTD ‘on the go’ actually has a positive impact in my work, I down it in 5 minutes and crack on with my work.
The fact that Huel RTD bottles are 100% recyclable and are made partially from recycled materials shows that Huel have done the best they can for the moment. Kudos to them for this.
Bottles are also reusable. They could be utilised to transport water instead of buying bottled stuff. They could be filled with chilled filtered water if you prefer that to water straight from the tap.
They can also be used for carrying/storing made-up Huel powder shakes.
I read the previous posters link to the “Plastic Promise” and I’ll admit I was hasty in judging, so I apologise for that.
Your points about going veggie and food waste being most important aspects are really sound (2 of the top 5 of the Drawdown project!) and are definitely the most important factors to consider.
Just to reference one of the other posters - recycling is not an effective strategy long term. It downgrades plastics quality, costs lots of money, energy, resources etc, and in the task world, lots of people don’t do it at all our don’t do it properly (e.g. Don’t clean the bottles first) - Reusing or refusing it in the first place is way more eco-friendly.
I do agree that recycling might not be the “best strategy long term”, but certainly is an effective way to combat our current habits.
I would love to see other better ways like reusing the bottles, but this seems logistically very hard. Moreover taking into account the worldwide aspect of the business. It would be easier to do in a more local manner (UK only or something).
I think currently this is done passively, aka, because you need to buy both in the same website you will ultimately be curious about the other product and you will see that is cheaper. Doing it in an active manner could be a good suggestion, indeed.
Drawdown is a great resource and the full list can be found here: drawdown.org/solutions I feel we have smashed 4 out of the top 5 (as refrigeration is not necessary for prolonged shelf-life).
Bioplastic is number 47 on our list but it is something we are working towards.
To be honest we don’t have a specific company script pushing someone to either product and it’s down to the individual to make the choice. We take a personal approach in Customer Experience so it can vary by executive the advice given, I’m not sure on anyone who leans towards promoting RTD over powder from the off.
Personally, in Customer Experience I always discussed powder first with someone wanting to know more about Huel as this is our flagship product. RTD came up if someone is away from a kitchen/office for more than 24 hours or is unsure on consuming a powder (RTD is more similar to products already on the market). There is a stigma with some individuals over consuming a powder (for whatever reason) that I think you forget if you have been consuming Huel for a while. RTD has less of a stigma and if someone is happy with RTD the jump from RTD to powder is less of a jump than from nothing to powder.
In terms of reusing the bottles it has been discussed before but you have to think about the extra emissions taking the bottles, cleaning and sterilising them again to ensure food safety and shelf-life then refilling them again. This would also require setting up a whole new system/entire factory to achieve this which is not within many company’s’ reach, I’d suggest only the multi-billion dollar companies.
Cool to hear people tried RTD as a gateway product to the real thing. I remember hearing one such story on the forum. It’s what we had hoped would happen all along and goes a long way toward justifying RTD as an offering
I agree with @RyanT here, as it’s a great way to introduce people to Huel in general.
This is exactly my thought on RTD products. It’s the top in priority meals, pay up and eat without
any additional effort. So looking at the Huel RTD as an individual product, it’s far better than
the many other ‘on-the-go’ meal options available and thus still good.
On the subject of not wasting food. Since I’ve been on Huel I don’t overstock my fridge with perishables. Just buy enough for my immediate needs or live out of the freezer for my one non-Huel meal a day.