How "mainstream" are meal replacement products in 2023?

Browsing on the internet, maybe in a filter bubble priming someone for information on such products, I get the impression, that products like Huel have entered the mainstream, that lots of people replace their meals with it, and the number was exponentially increasing.

Having looked at the nutrition patterns and habits of collegues and friends in the last weeks, I get a totally different impression, though. I’ve brought RTD bottles to work for others to try, but no one felt the need to try them. All of them said “I prefer regular food”, “I like eating”, even people who you think don’t have the time for that. They have partners that they cook for them. Lots of take aways are just the same price as good meal replacement shakes. And “normal food” is still perceived as healthier, it seems that people prefer to take some supplements instead, but also only in relatively rare cases, and mostly only “evidence supported” Vitamin D.

So what do you think? Is this region or country specific? What is your impression?

(I live in Germany.)

Good question @mbs!

From my point of view it definitely varies by region. Having Huel in retail not only makes it easy to pick up Huel when you’re in a tight spot but it gives us a presence too and I think that could be the next thing to keep an eye on in Germany :eyes:

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Well, I offered non-vegan RTDs that are available in German retail, that is something that is maximally “mainstream”, smooth, palatable - but they nevertheless refused. Why get so many calories from a drink? It seems that people want to “enjoy” every calorie they ingest if they want to loose weight, defining this term as “something savoury, something to chew”. - and see no need to have “diet shakes” when they don’t. Peoplle realize, that law guarantees them a relatively long break every day, 30min for 8 hours, and that they have to stay these 30 minutes longer every day - even if they don’t take a break. Doing this “because there is so much work to do” seems to become a thing of the past. Cooking seems to be a social activity and/or hobby for relatively many people - especially if they have a family.
Maybe it is possible in theory to live on 100% meal replacement shakes if you’re married with children, but in practice I can imagine that it is far from easy…