I have an idea, and I think it’s quite good (probably not).
We’ll start with my highly researched opinions about the current situation (sources not provided )
People are lazy. And Huel is easy and nutritionally complete, but drinking Huel powders is quite an experience, and eating Huel Hot and Savory is expensive.
So the majority of people don’t think that Huel is the right solution for them (and the majority of people probably don’t know about Huel).
So they continue eating food which doesn’t have good nutritional values and in some cases food that is so nutritionally inadequate and processed that switching to a balanced and nutritionally complete-ish food would offer immediate major health benefits.
And when some people decide that they want to eat healthy food they find out that cooking is expensive and really time-consuming. Yeah, you could argue if done right cooking healthy food is affordable and quite fast. But how many people have the skills needed to find good and tasty recipes, buy good ingredients affordably and actually make the food? Not the majority of people for sure.
Now that we all know the current situation I have solutions to fix some of these problems. It only requires Huel to follow this easy 2-step plan. (Results not guaranteed ).
Create a recipe-sharing platform, but one that’s actually useful. The platform would be kinda like GitHub.
It would have a large library of open-source recipes mainly maintained using a system of trusted users.
A user would propose adding a new recipe to the library of recipes, then a committee to oversee the creation of the recipe would be created of trusted users. If a largen enough committee couldn’t be created within a certain time limit the recipe proposal would be archived. The proposal could also include a recipe made by the user.
Criteria for the recipe: not over complicated to make, healthy enough, and made of widely available ingredients, and all ingredients which can be measured by weight should be measured by weight (also the main recipe should not be in inferior freedom units).
If a recipe was provided with the proposal and the committee agrees that it might pass the criteria they would choose person(s) to cook the recipe, and after cooking the recipe they would report their experiences to the committee. If the recipe does not follow the criteria the recipe would be revised or used as inspiration in the creation of a better recipe. In most cases, the recipe would be created from scratch in order to ensure it follows the criteria. Recipes would be proposed by users, debated by users, and revised by users until the committee agrees that the recipe proposal could pass the criteria. Then it is cooked by person(s) appointed by the committee and they report their experiences to the committee.
If the committee agrees at this point that the recipe is ready for release it is released as a new recipe. For 30 days users can cook the recipe and report their experiences to the committee. 30 days after release and if no revisions are made to the recipe within 14 days the recipe is proposed to be added to the library of recipes. The proposal is reviewed by experts from Huel and if they approve it the process of adding the recipe is finished.
Then the recipe can be localized for different regions by users (translating and ensuring that all the ingredients are locally available). These localized recipes would need to be approved by the committee appointed for that region.
The recipe-sharing platform should also have a place for people to share their own recipes and an option to donate to active and trusted users (Huel could take a 25% cut of the money).
Creation of this recipe-sharing platform will be really expensive, and time-consuming and the platform will probably not be very profitable. But if executed correctly it will make the Huel recipe library the defacto source of good recipes and the development cost of the platform will be insignificant compared to the user base that it will gather for Huel. And running the platform shouldn’t be too expensive since the users would be doing the heavy lifting. And please don’t implement those shitty bright ads like on other recipe-sharing platforms since they don’t produce any value to the user and running a platform based mainly on text shouldn’t be that expensive if done by a competent team of developers.
You should also take inspiration from Printables.com (it is a 3D-printing model sharing platform made by Prusa).
There are multiple ways to go about actually monetizing this recipe-sharing platform. All of these have their benefits and disadvantages, but all of them would still produce value for the users.
Option 1. Integrate the recipe-sharing platform with grocery stores.
Nutritional experts from Huel would choose recipes to be recommended to users. Those recipes together would create a nutritionally complete week’s worth of food, and these recipes would also have a reduced carbon footprint compared to normal western eating habits (reduced meat). Users could choose to buy the recommended ingredients for the recipes at a discounted price from grocery stores (discount hopefully possible due to large order volume). Or other recipes at a normal price.
- Cheap to implement (compared to option 2.
- Easily monetizable by charging a monthly fee from the grocery stores for using the integration.
- User experience would probably be quite decent. And hopefully, you wouldn’t have to charge the customers anything directly.
- Grocery stores could choose not to implement the integration.
- In the worst scenario you could get competition from companies that have deeper pockets than Huel, like Amazon (scary).
- The user experience and quality of ingredients would have large differences between grocery stores. (Should be mitigated with strict requirements for using the integration).
- Huel would need to ensure that the recommended ingredients actually are the correct ingredients for the recipe.
Option 2. Start directly selling the ingredients for the recipes.
Similar to option 1 nutritional expert from Huel would choose recommended recipes for the week, with additional priority on the availability of ingredients (recommended recipes would probably need to be different between regions). Then Huel would try to source as many ingredients as possible from their local partners (mostly farms) and import rest of the ingredients or buy them from wholesale suppliers. At this point, 2 weeks in advance users would have to choose what they want in their orders (this requirement is to ensure that Huel doesn’t purchase too many ingredients). Then the ingredients are delivered to the Huel distribution center and in there the orders are assembled and shipped to the customers (users would also have the option to pick them up).
- Supports local farms.
- Would probably have reduced price compared to grocery stores if large enough order volumes are achieved.
- Huel has control over the whole user experience. And food quality.
- Profit margins would be small, but due to large order volume, long-term profits would be insane.
- Huel could use reusable containers for the ingredients due to the short supply chain.
- Setting up distribution centers would be expensive. And getting local farms as partners would be time-consuming.
- Some regions don’t have local farms which produce high-quality food.
- Would require a large customer base to be profitable. The recipe-sharing platform will be useful at this point, but conventional marketing would also probably be required in order to grow a largen enough customer base.
- Customers can’t buy ingredients for recipes from the whole recipe library.
Step 2. Conclusion
I think option 2 has a lot of potential and should be implemented in regions where business model like that could work. But for most regions option 1 is the better one if it is executed correctly, it could consolidate the whole shopping experience into one platform with recipes, and ingredients that could be reviewed by users and it could offer multitude of other benefits to the users.
If Huel decides to follow my easy two-step plan they would solve all of the problems outlined at the beginning of this post. The recipe-sharing platform would make it easy for people to find high-quality recipes and implementing step 2 would ensure that buying the food would also be easy, this would ensure that eating healthy would be easier than eating unhealthy food. The only minor problem with this easy 2-step plan is that Huel would need to be a part of selling meat since most recipes would probably have it in them, but I don’t think this is actually a problem since reducing average meat intake per meal would also be good for the world (and it would reduce it since in most good recipes meat isn’t that big of a part of the energy intake).
And I also think the effects on Huels current product range would be minimal since people who like to drink or eat Huel would continue doing what they are doing, though some of them would probably use Huel’s new service after step 2 is implemented. One other benefit of the recipe sharing platform is that Huel could get nearly free advertising for Huel’s current product range on it.
So Huel plz do this be the savior we need.