Disingenuous marketing

It took me a long time to find it on the website, but a “portion”, or “meal” according to Huel is actually 20% of a young man’s daily requirement.

So huel think everyone eats 5 meals a day?

It’s easy to say it costs “£1.15 a meal”, or whatever it is, if it isn’t actually a full meal.

What gives?


Huel claim that 500Kcal is a “meal”. This is indeed 20% of the 2,500 Kcal requirement for men which is often quoted [and 25% of the female equivalent]

Even so, that doesn’t mean Huel are expecting people to eat 4 or 5 meals of 500Kcal per day: Its more likely that breakfast would be less, and evening meal would be more, then you have to add on drinks and snacks throughout the day which contribute to the 2,500 too.

So overall I don’t think 500kcal is unreasonable claim for a meal. If i weren’t consuming Huel, 2 of my three meals a day would be 500kcal or less.

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The European version is 2000kcal/day, and serving size is printed on the pouch as 400kcal/meal (5 meals/day) or 500kcal/meal (4 meals/day).


I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in thinking it’s slightly misleading, but I appreciate others can understand the reasoning behind the dosage.

My angle is that some folk will think “£1.15 a meal, that’s £3.45 a day, cool!”, as we usually have 3 meals a day, hence the misleading comment, but maybe people just have 2 huels and a massive meal each day. :wink:

The recommendations from Public Health England actually assume not all of your daily calories come from your three main meals. Details here:

Basically the advice on 2,500 calories a day for men and 2,000 a day for women is unchanged. What they’ve added is recommended calorie intakes per meal. 400 for breakfast and 600 each for lunch and dinner. So a Huel “meal” is an average of the two.
Of course all of these are gross over simplifications based on averages, but probably fairly reasonable to work with for marketing purposes.


For obvious reasons government recommendations should not be used as a basis for a healthful diet. Listen to experts in the field instead.

Hence my comment:

I wasn’t suggesting anyone use it as the basis for a healthy diet. Just that it wasn’t unreasonable as a basis to define the calorie content of an average meal for marketing purposes.

I’m wondering what a different approach to marketing could be? Price per calorie would be the most precise but that would make zero sense to the general population and therefor probably an terrible maketing strategy.

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I’d be happy if they just explained on the website that 1 “meal” is actually just 1/4 or 1/5 of daily recommended intake.

That’s where it gets tricky though. Because for me, the 500 calorie meal is actually exactly 1/3 of my daily intake.

I think calling a 500 calorie serving “a meal” is fine.
If you buy a supermarket meal deal or a ready meal, you don’t assume it is going to be exactly one third of your daily calorie allowance.
Every meal is different.
Anyone needing to count calories will check the packet.
In my experience, most ready meals are between 300-500 calories.
A sandwich, crisps, bottle of water meal deal will be about 400-500 calories.
It’s quite rare to find a “meal” that is over 500 calories unless you cook it yourself or are dining in a restaurant.
Most people also rarely divide their calorie intake into exactly 3 equal sized meals.
Personally I have a small breakfast and small lunch and a larger evening meal.
I also have drinks and snacks throughout the day.

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Personally, I don’t think describing a 500Kcal intake as a meal is disingenuous. The literal definition of the word is an occasion when food is eaten, or the food that is eaten on such an occasion: a hot meal, a three-course meal, a heavy meal, a light meal etc.

If you do not make the assumption that people only eat 3 meals a day then it makes sense. The traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner routine does not translate cross culturally or in scenarios of people engaged in moderate to heavy exercise regimes where many lighter meals a day is better than 3 larger ones.

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Well that’s all fine, but it doesn’t address the point that if Huel are assuming people have 5 meals a day they should say so. Or that a portion is a fifth of a daily intake.

500kcal per meal I think is pretty reasonable. Many people feed back to us saying that is too much for one meal. A meal is as much or as little as you want though, but that’s difficult to quantify in an short advert. Remember that 99% of Hueligans are not replacing all their ‘meals’ with Huel and actually the use-case for Huel is typically replacing meal-deals and other high street fast food during the week, in which case 500kcal is probably bang on.

Also this. 4 meals a day at 500kcal. But clearly people aren’t having exactly the same size meals for every meal, typically in the UK dinner is the biggest meal of the day.

We’re not being disingenuous, but we need to hang our hats on something so we can better articulate the price of Huel to people that think adding powder to water and shaking is pretty darned weird!

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Sure, disingenuous was a bit harsh, I’m only saying that the actual calorific value of a portion might be made a bit clearer in relation to the recommended daily intake. For those of us oldies who still think 3 meals a day is normal. :wink:

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No offence taken, dw! Good to chat about it. I know that many of our ads do say per 500kcal meal, much of the time we’re really restricted on the amount of text we put on adverts by FB, so have to be selective.

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I don’t recall seeing any FB adverts, but I did mention the website, where the first mention of the 1/5 ratio is kind of hidden in the Nutritional Info page, where the lowest of the “% of RDA” is 20%.

But I don’t want to bang on about it, I’ve made the comment and I’ll leave it there. I’m enjoying Huel anyway, certainly more than the formula I made from scratch years ago!