Huel versus World Hunger?

I have just mentioned Huel to a friend in UNICEF with whom I worked on a project which concerned combating severe acute malnutrition in Africa and that got me thinking that it might be a good idea for Huel to approach organisations like UNICEF and potentially contribute to solving the problem of world hunger. Huel is purely vegan so it eliminates wasteful energy transfers between trophic levels and thus should be very economical to produce (thinking globally). It also seems potentially very easy (and thus cheap) to transport and store (certainly much easier than fresh food). Have you guys thought about it and investigated what would be the minimum cost of producing Huel provided the economies of scale would come into play (and the actual production was moved out of the UK)?


I was thinking very much the same myself - personally I think it’s a ‘no-brainer’ but no doubt there’s some red-tape to cut through to get these things going.


Ever heard the phrase “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” (interestingly sexist, but never mind). Huel is not a good solution for people in parts of the world with chronic food supply problems as Huel is a processed food stuff that relies on plenty of infrastructure.

Parts of the world that are suffering from chronic lack of food will often also have very poor infrastructure. There may be unreliable or non-existent electricity, poor road networks and little safety for those travelling on the roads. Can you see how in this situation a complicated operation like the one that produces Huel might not work? While we could just produce Huel somewhere else and move it to where it is needed, that’s not really a good long term plan. This would be the “give a fish” route.

Perhaps the best thing that Huel could do to give more people food security would be to join a certification scheme to ensure that the people who farmed the ingredients for Huel had enough to live off. Huel needs to ensure that everyone in its supply chain is being paid a liveable wage. This will lead to less hunger. This is the “teach to fish” route.


Also makes one think of the Nestle baby milk scandal…nevertheless I certainly think Huel could possibly be a useful tool for deployment in emergency situations where a lot of people need valuable nutrition…say following hurricanes, floods, etc. but I agree for long term solutions self sufficiency needs to be the answer.


Agreed, it could make an excellent disaster response tool.


It already exists, it is called “PlumpyNut” :
But that is not a good idea for them, because they need autonomy and independance, and to be able to manufacture their own food.


Well, I am sure we all know the fishing metaphor, @Quidditch. Some agree, some disagree, so I am not really going to waste our time and start a discussion about that, mostly because I am certain (or at least hope) that none of us here would tell a five-year-old Musa and his hungry friends that they have to starve to death to help their compatriots understand that fishing rods are more important than just eating fish :wink:

For now, food is needed in some parts of the world and Huel seems like a perfect match.

Plumpy’Nut does not seem to be an alternative to Huel as they state on their label that: Plumpy’Nut is not a substitute for a varied and nutritious diet. It can also cause allergic reactions.

Anyway, it was just a thought I had, if no one likes the idea I am fine with that.

I was thinking disaster relief rather than long term. People need to be back on their feet to create the infrastructure for long term, Huel could certainly help in that process in my opinion.


You right, the problem is not that the worlds hungry don’t know how to farm (or fish in that metaphor). Enough food is produced to feed everyone. There are many people who cannot acquire their share of this food, either due to lack of income or resources to produce income. So you can farm as much as you like, but if the person who buys your grain won’t pay a fair wage you can’t pay for all the other things that are required to farm, and eventually you will go hungry.

Emergencies account for less than eight percent of the worlds hungry. While Huel might be useful here, it seems horribly pretentious to say that this would be “Huel versus World Hunger”.

Sorry if I’m coming of a bit negative here. Its just frustrating to read about schemes to tackle the symptoms of a problem, without talking about the cause.

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I was wondering this about hospitals - when you get fed on a drip to replace nutrients … would Huel work for that? Or even just as an easily-digestible replacement to help people get the right amounts of nutrition while recovering in a hospital.

Would love to see some kind of partnership with hospitals!

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I was thinking about this the other day. But if we can ship food over to other countries, is Huel much more complicated to ship? Huel are doing a £5 referral scheme, if I had the option of saving a fiver, or putting that fiver into a “Huel for Hunger” campaign, I would certainly consider donating that £5. After enough fivers are in, Huel could organise a delivery to countries that have water, but are unable to sort the food problem (all funded by the fivers). Some say I’m a dreamer ;-).

There are obviously lots of logistics with this kind of thing, but I wonder if it is something Huel might want to tackle one day, it will get headlines and get the word out there about Huel too. I would certainly volunteer my time to help as, although I appear to know nothing about third world hunger struggles, someone at least has to have a go at it right?


The problem here is I think Huel may clog tubes. There would be no problem in using a syringe in feeding someone through an enteral tube, provided that it’s flushed well with water immmediately afterwards.

@lifehacker great idea about the £5 referral scheme, I would also just like to check a box to donate anything earned either to supplement Huels 1% campaign or a separate Huel for Hunger campaign.
A campaign could focus closer to home on refugees, homeless, in addition to global disaster relief perhaps.
I acknowledge all the arguments for an against delivering food to developing nations, but a focus on disaster relief on global basis perhaps delivered through a partner organisation with the appropriate resources and on supporting local national poverty will do good without getting into difficult discussions ?


Just wondering, if Huel is so good and compact, why is something similar not used by the army and the space missions?

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Imagine if they slightly raised the price of Huel and said for every bag we buy they’ll give a bag to those in famine impoverished third world countries, such as parts of Africa. That would be amazing.

However @Quidditch brings up some really good points about why this wouldn’t be sustainable, unfortunately :frowning:

The astronaut/army idea is a good one, although I think in those situations the variation of flavours and textures and sweet snacks is probably a highlight to their day! But disaster/emergency situations is a great shout!

Good thinking all

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Great thinking of huel to reduce acute malnutrition in Africa. Almost 15% of African infants are born with a low birth weight and African children are so underweight they are considered to be wasted. Many infants in Africa suffer from malnutrition because their mothers do not breastfeed them and this causes several different health problems, such as pellagra. Many programs like mission humanitaire afrique see this are organized to control the malnutrition rate in children.

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Great to see this topic being discussed. Does anyone know whether Huel is “safe” for children who are normally under/mal nourished and are now facing a very bad hungry season because of drought? I am wondering if it is too rich for a young digestive system used to a very limited diet. Perhaps a weaker commuting would be very the solution. Grateful for any feedback.

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Check out this article on the Huel website :wink:

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