Huel for hospitals and prisons?

Probably been brought up before but wouldn’t it be great if Huel was supplied to hospitals and prisons to feed the patients and inmates? Instead of costly prepared meals? It’s gotta to be nutritionally better than the stuff that’s served at the moment and would save the governance a ton of money I imagine? Has Huel looked into this? Not that I plan on going to prison or hospital any time soon but if I did I would enjoy being given Huel for free since I have it almost everyday at home!

I would expect the Daily Hate and Piers Morgan would have a field day with that.


School dinners as well?

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Why not ?


This kind of move would create an out-cry I’m sure - mainly because of peoples misconceptions of what Huel is and it’s ingredients.
I guess there would also need to be larger and long-term studies into Huel as a sole diet over a long period of time, before it could be provided as the sole source of nutrition to people who do not have any other choice.
It would be great if it could be provided as an option though that people could choose instead of the cooked meals. I would certainly opt for it.
I’ve had a number of hospital experiences recently and most recently I was in over the entire weekend Friday to Sunday and had to live on chocolate from the vending machine because they were unable to provide a gluten free meal (‘outpatients’ get offered sandwiches only, even if you are there overnight :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) I was seriously wishing I had a bag of huel with me.
Less recently I had a 3 week stay and I was provided with cottage pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner as this was the only gluten free meal in their freezer. I had to have that (even tho I normally do not eat meat) or go hungry. Bizarrely they were not willing to let me consume Huel as an alternative, mainly because they were unfamiliar with it and weren’t sure how it might interact with any medications (it doesn’t, but I think they just didn’t have time to read the ingredients properly and they assumed it was some kind of supplement powder).

Personally I think it’s a great idea to serve it as an option in hospitals. In reality I can’t see it happening any time soon…

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Huel would be too expensive for Hospitals and definitely too expensive for Prisons. In Hospitals in the UK the budget for food per person is around £2 per day, not per meal and I believe it’s even less in Prisons.


I have read the daily budget for prison food is £2 per head while in some hospitals it is less than a fiver.


@Bee if I have to go in hospital or prison for a while will you sneak some Huel in for me?


Cost-wise I think it would probably be possible as it would reduce staff costs in preparation time, reduce energy costs of cooking etc. Plus if it was bought in that kind of bulk quantity it would be cheaper.
I think most people wouldn’t be impressed though.

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Haha wonder if this actually happens? :grin:

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Thinking on it from the replies I think it would be a bad idea to try and introduce it to prisons as it would have a really negative impact I reckon on the Brand, like this is the slop they give people in prison :rofl: . But seriously I think replacing it with all the food cooked in hospitals is an awesome idea, loads of money saved by the NHS that can be put back into the hospitals and it’s got everything the body needs in it to get better, they have cafes etc in hospital receptions so it’s not like you can’t go and buy yourself something if you want and the NHS job is to get you better not feed you. I remember when I was in basic training the Army would have all the underweight people (me included) neck a can of Dunne’s nourishment milk after our regular meal :rofl::rofl:
Huel could be provided to family’s in poverty so they get all there nutrients and kids don’t go hungry?

Wouldn’t equating Huel with ‘hospital food’ give a negative impact too? I reckon it would have to be U&U with no flavours as flavouring would push the price up.

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No I don’t think so because the notion of ‘hospital food’ conjure up those images of miserable pre prepared food but Huel would be like… space age stuff , like this stuffs so good they give it to patients in hospitals instead of this stuff they give to patients to save money etc
Coz it kind of is miracle stuff, like just add some water and you’ve got all your nutrients and it fills you up, I remember when I first downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and started tracking my food and I was overwhelmed with how difficult it was for me to hit all the macros vitamins etc I just couldn’t keep up with it, and then you got Huel and your sorted, the most tiresome thing is having to explain to people that it’s not the same as a slim fast shake or any of the other sugar milks the companies try and pass off as healthy meal alternatives.

And yea unsweetened unflavoured is the bomb I actually can’t believe people like the flavoured versions :face_vomiting:

Huel is great as long as its an option. The moment that huel becomes the norm, the problems will start. Like in Soylent green

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With healthcare experience and lecturing in the field I can answer the question regarding food in Mental Health Hospitals and Adult (general inpatient) hospitals. In general, NHS trusts outsource catering to a company who cook the food which is provided by another company. The cost per meal per patient per day is now about £7.00 on average but the range is £4.00 ppd to £18.00 ppd depending on the trust. Food is provided on dietary need and calorie intake is calculated by a dietary clinician. In general in an adult setting on medical and surgical wards, vulnerable groups (elderly or complex care needs) should be provided with a calorie excess and liquid substances if required eg fortisip/fortijuice. Energy dense food should be considered. On surgical wards it is usually more important to consider a calorific excess for the purposes of wound or fracture healing.

Within a private mental health setting, food is usually prepared on site by non-outsourced staff. However, it is good practice to have input from a clinical dietitian. The nutritional goal should be service user specific, but usually MH inpatients have more freedom to buy their own ingredients or to cook their own meals. In dementia in-patient energy dense foods are usually supplied. In general mental health inpatient units patients are encourage to choose and buy their own ingredients for at least a few meals a week to prepare for discharge. Usually with an adult MH inpatient we seek to have a calorie controlled intake because the unwanted effects of many psyco-active medications is to increase food consumption.

Food texture is is set to clearly defined guidelines. There are outdated but to my knowledge stiil relevant We need to observe how a patient eats food pre, peri or post admission to diagnose any associated conditions.

This means that a substitution to a complete meal like huel would be unfeasible from a socio-clinical perspective. Firstly, we need to provide meals the general populous consume in their home environment. Secondly we need to provide hot meals as per benefit of raising body temperature and improving patient comfort. The smell of food is considered important to promote eating. Thirdly, we need to provide food to assess how a patient is eating pre, peri or post admission or procedure. Fourthly, we may need to monitor the time taken for a patient to eat their food and to monitor their rate and amount of consumption. Fifthly, food needs to be specific to the patient group and varied in terms of taste and texture.

It is of course perfectly acceptable for patients in any setting to provide their own food sources such as Huel if they prefer. From my observations healthcare staff are generally reluctant to suggest food alternative that have little evidence base to support them. This is because we are now in the paradigm of evidence based research. As the evidence base for alternative complete meals grows it is more likely to be incorporated into the mainstream.


@D90019 Wow it’s absolutely not like that in any of the MH or Adult NHS inpatient hospitals in my area or any area / trust / ward that I’ve had medical treatment. No dieticians or nutritionists and definitely no personal diets catered for. It sounds amazing what you’re describing. I guess there aren’t the resources to individually calculate and cater for each person in a lot of hospitals.


Last time I was unfortunate enough to have a hospital stay, the food was… adequate. It provided some calories, but it wasn’t particularly appealing, and I didn’t eat much.

If I have to stay in overnight again, I will definitely be packing Huel!

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Thanks for the in depth replies! :smile:.
My hospital stay was the polar opposite! I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident a year ago and was in hospital for 3 days, I got lucky with the way it broke and was able to walk out albeit with a crutch, but on the first night I was served poached salmon with new potatoes and green beans! And the next day when the lady came around with the menu, again there was poached salmon! And I couldn’t believe it, I said to her, am I allowed that two days in a row? Is there a small supply so if I have it someone else will go without or it will cost them more money, and she just looked at me bemused, like she didn’t understand what I was saying and she just said you can have whatever you want, so for 3 days I ate locked salmon fillet with new potatoes and green beans, god knows what they were serving for breakfast and lunch because I had morphine on the button every 3 mins, but my point is as tasty as the salmon dish was I think I would have been much better off with Huel and all it’s nutrition and would have looked forward to home cooking when I got home, but in hospital I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my healing.

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We’d love Huel to be prescribed in the NHS (by doctors) or even if care-homes and wards had Huel to hand to quickly make up for patients, there would certainly be benefits.

As you’ve all mentioned case-by-case basis is key, in some situations Huel may be great and in others not so much.

@JamesCollier maybe able to provide a bit more information on this.

(NB, I haven’t read the whole thread)
It’s a great idea, but not an easy one. As I understand it (I could be wrong), there are three ways that a hospital could supply Huel for patients:

  1. Through pharmacy - ie ‘prescribed’ via ACBS. There is a lot of red tape here and would involve clinical trials on the efficacy.

  2. Through the catering dept. ie served as an alternative to meals but made up at ward level

  3. Bought by individual wards and made up at ward level

However, catering depts and wards can only buy things that are approved and getting on this list is not easy and decisions are made infrequently (2 yearly?). I cannot describe how much work is involved in getting to the decision makers, something which we do not have the resource for.

There’s also selling to the shops in hospitals and so patients can buy from them or the vending machines. This would only apply to Huel RTD and Bar though.