Huel is Nutrition Technology

I consider nutritionally complete products such as Huel to be nutrition technology. They are a more efficient way to deliver nutrition into the body. I believe we are in the early stages of something that will one day be considered the norm.

Consider it in comparison to other technologies:

  • When the WWW was new in the early 90s, only geeky weirdos used it. Now most people do.
  • When mobile phones were first invented, only Del Boy style posers had them. Now most people do.
  • When cars were first invented, not many people drove them. Now many people do.

So, just as it’s now considered normal for people with busy lives to drive cars and ride on trains because they just don’t have the time to ride everwhere on horse and cart, it will one day be considered normal for busy people to save time by drinking nutritionally complete shakes rather than spending time preparing and/or eating traditional meals.

That’s not to say people of the future will NEVER eat traditional meals. They will when they have the time, just as people walk, cycle and ride horses for fun during their leisure time. But in a busy work day, why would someone ride a horse to their job in the city? Of course, some people do cycle to and from work, but those people are in the minority.

In the future, you will still get some people who will insist on eating traditional meals all the time, just as Ranulph Fiennes still insists on writing his books with a pencil. But most people probably won’t.


Highly unlikely

It isnt technology either, it is simply blending some food together

Your comparisons are nonsensical too

Huel remaining a niche product is a much more accurate prediction

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On the other hand I’d agree Huel is food technology. I wouldn’t want to see something similar but made without “techniques, skills, methods and processes” (wikipedia’s definition).

I have no idea at what level food like Huel will be used in the future but it’s an interesting discussion.

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I agree too, that Huel is Nutrition Technology; whether it remains a niche product remains to be seen.

There are a lot of protein powders around now; there was an article in the Metro yesterday about vegan protein powders, yet 10 years ago there were very few. You can buy them in Boots, H&B, off Amazon and loads more places.

Veganism was niche…there has been a 350% increase in the UK in a decade.

Having said that, at the moment meat consumption globally is actually rising. As huge countries like China and India become more prosperous, the population is increasingly turning to meat.

In 33 years, the United Nations predicts there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet (world population is currently around 7 billion) …so unless we wipe ourselves out, or there are plagues/famines etc. the World must sustainably produce 70 per cent more food by then. A meat-based future won’t be sustainable, and a product like Huel which is nutritionally complete could be a way forward…although the enjoyment of eating “real” food/"proper"meals is something that many will find hard to transition to.


I see where you’re coming from, but by “technology” I just mean it’s an advancement in terms of how it enables us to get our nutrition more quickly and conveniently.

You could say that a computer is just a bunch of wires, circuit boards, etc. But if those electronic components were just randomly thrown together, the computer would be useless. It’s the way they are put together that makes the computer.

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Any idiot can just blend a bunch of food in a blender, but can any idiot put the exact right quantities of macro and micro nutrients together just as quickly? That’s all I’m referring to, the convenient way to get the nutrition quickly. The technology is the whole product made from the individual parts. I agree that no new part has been invented, just that the way they are put together is what provides the step forward.

It’s like if someone invented a faster aeroplane, it might be made entirely from materials that already exist, so no new material has been invented. But the new technology is the way they are put together.

All new products are niche when they first enter the market. So, just because it’s niche now doesn’t not mean it will stay niche. New inventions don’t tend to get adopted by everyone immediately. There is an evolution of their popularity.

Imagine what it would have been like the first time someone discovered you could get milk from a cow’s udders. Yet these days almost every shop that sells food sells milk, which is the baby food of another species.

Assuming you understood the concept I was trying to get across, what comparisons do you think I should have used? Unless of course the issue is that you failed to understand what I was saying, in which case I apologise for not explaining it well enough.


Oh, and just to clarify something, when I say that this will become the norm, I don’t mean just Huel. I am referring to nutritionally complete food products in general. In the future there will be far more variety, so most people’s tastes will be catered for.

It’s this idea that to be healthy you have to eat a variety of different foods, that’s what’s going to become less popular I think. Once it gets to a point where you can get any flavour you want, in either solid or liquid form, and it have all the nutrients your body needs, it’s likely it will be a more attractive option for people than buying food that’s not nutritionally complete.

I just wanted to clarify that because my prediction is not that that everyone will be consuming Huel specifically, just as not everyone who eats bread eats Hovis or whatever brand. There will be a whole bunch of companies that make a wide variety of nutritionally complete foods.

That’s my prediction anyway. I could be wrong, but it’s what I’m thinking at the moment.


When I started using social media before my friends and co-workers were using it I could explain what it was and why I did it, but I kind of made excuses, along the lines of ”I know I’m weird and obviously this is just a fringe thing”. I find myself talking that way about Huel now.

And I think you’re right and that this market will grow rapidly.


Ok you wrote lots of things

  1. You agree it isnt an actual technology, this is good

  2. You compared huel, which lets face it, anyone with a brain can make (see that website where everyone creates their own lents) to things like mobile phones and cars etc, quite insulting to the people who made those actual great technological advances to be compared to someone who has mixed a few foods together. A tiny hand held device that allows you to speak to someone on the other side of the planet is a legit technological advancement, blending oats and peas etc is not even in the same stratosphere

  3. Those comparisons you made, lets say a car. If i wanted to go to London id have to get on a horse or before that walk and it would take weeks. With a car it will take hours, its obvious why the car caught on… the same can be said for your other points. Now in relation to huel, huel isnt up against something worse like the car was against a horse, it is up against something amazing that is ingrained in us as humans since the dawn of man - eating, it is also up against the pleasure of eating. Eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life, to expect people will just stop this and turn to a gloop drink is madness imo. The choice, variety, taste, textures etc of all different foods and combinations etc vs a bland huel drink ? some peole like yourself will, but the majority wont

  4. There are no studies that huel is even any better for you than eating a healthy balanced diet full of rich taste and variety. If there was a study showing huel fights cancer free radicals, helps fight dementia etc then it would catch on, but it isnt even any better than eating food, unless there is some proof i have missed ?

  5. Do we even know how much of the product is being absorbed ? How well these vitamins and minerals are being used by our bodies. There are studies showing vitamin and mineral tablets arent very effective, and thats all huel does add in vitmains and minerals just like a vitmain and mineral tablet just huels are in powder added to the powder and the other is compressed into a tablet

Those are my points

With regards to point 5 - a Dietitian understands those things. There are plenty of articles here and elsewhere about exactly this sort of thing. If you play down the role that scientific thinking plays in designing and producing something like Huel then that is how you get to you point 1.

What constitutes an actual technology?

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Whilst it’s not difficult to make something that meets the RDAs and provides calories, there is still a difference in quality between recipes, and it takes someone with a decent understanding of nutrition and bioavailabilities to craft a high-quality product. For example (and I’ll go onto this more when I respond to your point 5), many multivitamins consist of poorly absorbed forms of vitamins and minerals, whilst a lot of 'lent companies aim to provide these micronutrients in better forms (and quantities) than a multivitamin would.

This is why we’re going to see more and more different form factors and flavours as the market develops. It will likely never compare to a sit-down meal in a restaurant (at least not for several decades), but various different flavoured solid form factors would allow the replication of more basic meals that one would eat with family at home. But as I said, even that is a long way off for now.

So this is an important point and one I wish more people were curious about. There are various different forms of each micronutrient, and there is a wide degree of variance between the bioavailabilities of some of these (the amount that is absorbed). Studies that have been conducted showing no benefit (and even negative effects sometimes) of vitamin supplementation have been in one of two main forms: multivitamins consumed with no food, or fat-soluble vitamins consumed without fat (or, in the case of vitamin E, with fat but with only one of the eight forms of vitamin E in very high doses). These have often been compared to consuming these micronutrients in a natural form - a form which generally involves fruit or vegetables (for multivitamins) which contain not only water but fibre and phytonutrients, or nuts for vitamin E (which are high in fat and have a range of the vitamin E forms).

There is good grounds to believe if multivitamins were consumed with fibre and phytonutrients, they would be a lot more effective. Additionally, the forms used are pretty poor - often inorganic and not taking account of competing absorption of micronutrients - this can be dealt with, for example, by chelating various minerals (which both increases bioavailability and limits competition for absorption). As for vitamin E, the form used in tests is generally alpha tocopherol - this form competes for absorption with gamma tocopherol which has many beneficial properties. When alpha tocopherol is taken in large quantities, the benefits of gamma tocopherol (and also delta tocopherol) are limited.

Regardless though, the reason it is important to have a good grasp of nutrition to form a good 'lent product to sell (and the reason Huel have a doctor helping formulate their recipes) is to be aware of all of the above. There’s a lot more to it than the typical DIY move of adding a crushed multivitamin to a few macronutrient ingredients (a good balance of which is also important and requires a good understanding of nutrition).

Anyway, onto the topic in question:

The data here backs you up pretty well. For the past two years, KetoOne (formerly KetoSoy) of the US have conducted surveys of both their customers and visitors to the subreddit and other places to get an idea of the market potential, and what customers want to see from the market.

2016’s results backed up those from the 2015 survey pretty well, and after analysing the data - via some statistics and economics I won’t pretend to understand - they concluded the following:

  • Market has more than tripled in the past year, now a $80-100mn market serving an estimated 1 million people a year. Potential market estimated at over $7bn

This is one of the highlights of the survey, and is expanded upon further with the following:

"Integrating the data from this year we can come up with another potential future market size. Last year we estimated 10% of people eating 50% of their calories to get to a potential market of $65 billion. This year we’re adding a few more variables to the calculation and revising down that estimate, but the order of magnitude stays the same.

In the pessimistic scenario: 10% of people try soylent/future-food, 30% of those stick with it and eat 40% of their calories from soylent/future-food with soylent/future-food costing 1/2 of what would otherwise be spent of a $1.3 trillion market we get: $7.8 Billion.

In the optimistic scenario: 30% of people try soylent/future-food, 50% stick with it and eat 40% of their calories with soylent/future-food costing 1/2 of what would otherwise be spent we get: $42.9 Billion.

Willingness to try and stickiness are the two least good numbers in these equations. We’re going to be looking to find better data on those assumptions in future years.

It bears mentioning that a potential market size of $X to $XX billion is consistent with a the growth from $30mn to $80mn we’ve seen in the past 18 months if soylent/future-food follows a standard diffusion of innovations model. If this is the case, we’ve likely passed the Innovators phase and are now in the Early Adoption phase Diffusion of innovations - Wikipedia"

The figures calculated above are for year 10 of the market - we are currently in the middle of the fourth year.

Of course, the above is quite speculative, but we’ll get an extremely good idea of how accurate the above calculation is when the 2017 survey is conducted and analysed.

For those interested, the results of the 2016 survey and its analysis can be seen here: Still not the end of food – KetoOne


@IcyElemental Thanks for that. Your grasp of this topic is awesome :grinning: :+1:


It seems I needed to in order to explain my point.

No, that’s not what I said. What I meant was it’s perhaps a different sense of the word “technology”, as in a new, more efficient way of doing something. Technology doesn’t necessarily have to mean electronic or mechanical things.

You’ve made a jump there. I never said there were on the same level in terms of capability or the brain power required to invent them.

I was comparing it to things like that to get across the idea that things are niche to begin with but then become the norm once people realise the difference they can make to their lives. I never said they were an equal achievement in terms of invention.

You seem to have got stuck on my use of the word technology, and in doing so seem to have missed the point I was really trying to make.

Okay, fair point, but what about preparing enough nutritionally complete food for your trip to London? How long would that take? And I mean nutritionally complete, not just throwing together a ham and cheese sandwich. I agree it’s not the same level of time saving, but it’s still a very significant time saving.

And let’s face it, convenient fast food is extremely popular. Just look at the success of places like McDonalds. Personally I would be interested to know what the ratio was of the number of people who eat McDonalds vs the number of people who drive a car.

And yet healthy eating is a hot topic too. So surely combining the time saving and convenience of fast food with the nutrition of a freshly prepared healthy meal is something many people desperately need?

[quote=“Baronsamedi, post:8, topic:5899”]Now in relation to huel, huel isnt up against something worse like the car was against a horse, it is up against something amazing that is ingrained in us as humans since the dawn of man - eating, it is also up against the pleasure of eating. Eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life, to expect people will just stop this and turn to a gloop drink is madness imo. The choice, variety, taste, textures etc of all different foods and combinations etc vs a bland huel drink ? some peole like yourself will, but the majority wont

I thought I had already explained this with my 2nd reply to you when I clarified that I wasn’t just referring to Huel. I am referring to the future of the nutritionally complete market as a whole. What if it gets to the point where it’s possible to have just as pleasurable an eating experience in a nutritionally complete product?

I thought I made it clear that Huel is just the early stages of a much bigger phenomenon. Even in my very first paragraph of my first message I say:

New emphasis added to clarify what I meant.

And again, you still assume I am referring to just Huel and how it is now, whereas I am referring to all nutritionally complete foods in the future.

You remind me of the former member known as Archemedes…


Not really - A blender for the kitchen was once considered an “actual great technology” and people lost their minds over the convenience and time savings of the microwave oven when it was first developed.

There are many different types of technology that progress at different rates; the value of which can only usually be defined by people who have an interest in the particular area it involves. With this in mind, comparing the transition from a landline phone to mobile device with the potential transition from one type of diet involving many components to a more advanced one where this number is smaller but more effective is valid.

Huel is in it’s infancy and is gaining traction much like other products with the same general ethos. It could progress to sit in the dry store area of people’s kitchens along with the bread as a standard staple! If you are someone who tires of making a sandwich for a snack this seems like a good deal of progress.

Also: We techies need to eat something to keep us going and Huel works better than pizza!


A statement with no argument.

You don’t understand what the word technology means. The tech is in the choice of items to blend & in some cases the production/extraction of those components.

Your tone is insulting. You come across as likely either arrogant or angry; hard to tell in a textual medium. Chill bro.

Again, a statement with no argument. Others have addressed the points you subsequently raised.

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Any response to my extensive reply or are you accepting my points?

and i guess computers aren’t technology, but just a bunch of components thrown together?

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100% agree.

From my time on Huel I’ve seen people go from being sceptics to users of Huel, after seeing the positive impact it had on my life.

I think humans are very much geared towards this way of thinking, as it served our ancestors well when trying to survive a more harsh environment.


Yeah blending oats and peas and throwing in a multi viatmin is on the same level as a computer mate :neutral_face:

Depends if you want to sum your points up into bullet points or not

I read your inital post when it was written, i have since forgotten it so i went up to re read it and seen a wall of text which i cba reading again