Huel Japan

TLDR; ordering Huel to Japan used to be done through the UK Huel website but in April 2019 Huel officially launched here with a bare-bones lineup – and then basically forgot about us (is how it feels).

Before I go into more detail I just want to say two things; one, this all comes from a place of love (I’ve been a Hueligan for years in the UK) and two, the Huel Japan Customer Support are great. My frustrations are towards the situation.

With that said,

Guys, what is going ON?! Huel Japan still offers only the most BASIC product line. We have the same five boring Huel Powder flavours (vanilla, banana, choc, berry, coffee), two Huel Black flavours, three ready to drink… and that’s it.

Salted Caramel? Nope. Mint Chocolate? Crazy talk. Strawberries & Cream? You’re getting out of hand.

And flavors aside, could you please give us something new?! Hot & Savoury? No. Huel Protein? Nah. I sure hope you’re not allergic to Gluten. Huel Bars? Can’t be having that. Flavor Boosts? They actually took those AWAY.

Of the 68 product/flavour combination Huel offers on the UK website, 11 are available in Japan. 11.

And what drives me so mad about this? Huel Japan products are shipped from the UK.

Look, hyperbole aside I’m not naive. I know international markets require label translations, FDA approval, logistics, etc. but please just do it. You’ve been saying it for (literally) years now that ‘big things are coming’. But nothing has happened. All the while Huel in the west gets more and more exciting.

Could someone at UK CE Team try and escalate this to a decision-making level? Please. Just send them a screenshot of the chart. It’s so incredibly frustrating that this has been dragging on for so long. I know they’re aware, but are they this aware?

Thank you.

A tired, hungry and envious Huel fan.

P.S. If certifications, labeling, approval etc are all too difficult or take too long, at least give us back the ability to order on the UK site and ship to Japan. It’s fine for any other international food orders I do. Japanese customers will be taken to Huel.jp.

Just so this isn’t all a rant, I do have some positive additions!

Marketing Suggestions for Hot & Savoury

For product lines like Gluten-free or Protein I can understand why there might not be product market fit. However H&S has the potential to be what Huel is known for in Japan.

My guess is it’s been difficult finding traction for Huel Powder. While Huel in the west has made the jump from niche to mainstream, Japanese consumers might still be confused. Most people I mention it to here think it’s a protein shake. It’s sweet too, so for those that don’t know what it is, it maybe has the connotations of a dessert not a balanced meal.

H&S however is a ‘real’ meal, with interesting foreign flavours. In the last few years there has been a boom in Indian and Nepalese restaurants, H&S would tap right into that.

As for when to consume it, I have two suggestions for secondary marketing. The first is camping. Since the borders closed due to Covid (they still are) camping has exploded in popularity. Japan has a population of 128m, with a healthy middle class unable to travel abroad. Camping, including ソロキャンプ (solo camping), has fully entered mainstream popularity.

Japanese people tend to pick one hobby and spend tons of money on it, buying all the best kit – unlike the UK where you have a few hobbies and make do with the basics for each. Marketed to the camping community, S&S would be seen as a clever solution for portable, nutritious food when out of the home.

The other scenario is for use in Emergency Kits. Most Japanese houses have a stash of food prepared for when disasters occur here, which they frequently do (earthquakes, typhoons, etc.), and marketing S&S as a healthy and nutritious addition to the ubiquitous pot noodles could be successful.

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Hey there, thanks for the message and I absolutely hear you. I’m going to chat to a few people and make sure I get you a good answer on this as I’m not fully up to speed on Huel Japan. I can see how frustrating this must be though. It’s worth saying that as we grow we must be careful not to bite off more than we can chew. Ideally we would be a big presence in loads more countries. However, the potential of Japan is not lost on us, you make some great points :jp:

Hi Tim, thank you for the response and for looking into it, much appreciated.

I totally understand about international markets and getting the product offering right. There’s very little awareness of gluten-free diets here for example. Obviously H&S would be amazing but even if we could just get a few more flavours to tied us over until then that would be great. :pray:t2:

Thanks for bearing with me! I’ve chatted with a few people who are closer to this than myself. One of the main things is the extremely strict food regulations Japan has. To get Huel approved we have needed to work with experts in this area from Japan who can help us get products approved and compliant with Japanese authorities. However it took a good deal of time to get those connections, but we now have a strong partnership! What that means is that (fingers crossed) we can make some really good progress next year.

Regarding the lack of range in Japan, it’s because initially prioritised our best selling flavours, in the hope we would be able to meet most of the demand in Japan. We’re hoping that next year (again,:crossed_fingers:) with bring a bigger range to Japan as it is really key to our long term plans!

The other good bit of news is that it’s not just about getting Huel into Japan but overall improving your experience. The plan is to stop fulfilling Japan orders from the UK and have local fulfilment, i.e. a big ol’ supply of Huel ready to be picked, packed and delivered to you faster than before. This will also help with stock. We also will have better customer experience support coverage by making sure it is aligned with the Japan timezone.

I hope that all makes sense. As I’ve said, Japan is a big part of our plans and we are really excited to bring more good Huel stuff to you guys!

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Hi Tim. Thanks for taking the time to look further into it and get some answers. I will continue to wait and hope!

In the meantime, would it be possible to put the flavour boosts back on the Japanese site? They used to be available but disappeared when Huel came back online after corona last year. I figure if they were there before then it shouldn’t be an issue regulation-wise. Thanks!