I’m a little late to see this as I’ve taken some time away from the industry for the Christmas/New Year period to relax.
I’m not going to delve into the pros and cons of this particular product - enough others have pointed out their issues with it that my take isn’t going to add much. I like the thought behind the product more than most here seem to, but there are obviously issues like others have said.
What I will go into a little more detail on is the question of whether a keto version of Huel is possible without other issues.
On the market currently (almost exclusively in the US) are three main types of complete ketogenic meal replacements (in powder form).
These options come with the protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes (tailored for ketosis) and a very low-carb content, but also a very low-fat content. The intention here is to add your own fats in the form of either oils (eg avocado, light olive, rapeseed etc) or double/heavy cream.
This leads to an overall cheaper price than fats-included options and allows you to customise your calorie intake without sacrificing nutrient intake, but this obviously comes at the cost of convenience, as you have to add more than just water, as well as purchase your fat source separately and choose which you want (as well as refrigerate if you’re using double cream).
Examples of this would be Ketochow and Keto Fuel. This is also our preferred type as, while it has its issues, those issues aren’t nutritional ones.
Powder + pre-bottled oil blend.
This ships as a powder with a bulk bottle of different oils mixed to give a good ratio of different types of fats. The oil you get with the powder is, I believe, enough to give you an intake of ~1800 calories per day. You can, of course, use more or less for a different calorie intake, but you’d then either have extra oil or extra powder at the end.
This has largely the same benefits and issues as the add-your-own fats type of product, with the exception of a) being more expensive, and b) not having to purchase your fat source from elsewhere.
As far as I’m aware, the only example of this type is KetoOne, but I may be wrong on that.
Fats included in the powder.
On the surface, this appears ideal for the consumer due to convenience reasons. However, I am opposed to this from a nutritional standpoint generally (sounds weird but I’ll explain). On a ketogenic diet, you want to aim for a macronutrient ratio with ~60+% fats. Fat sources suitable for a powdered meal replacement are surprisingly uncommon. The way most non-ketogenic products achieve this is by powdering oils with maltodextrin. Ketogenic options can’t do this because maltodextrin is a carb, and powdering enough oil to get an adequate fat intake for keto would require way too much maltodextrin to get into ketosis.
The only other powdered ingredients with a high fat content to my knowledge are nuts, seeds and coconut. Nuts and seeds can be great ingredients in smaller amounts if milled to a small enough size, but almost universally, with the intakes you need for keto, you’d see your omega 6 levels getting way too high (the exception to this is macadamia nut, which is low in polyunsaturated fat levels so is a perfect candidate here). Nuts also, obviously, increase the allergenicity of a product substantially. Coconut is another good option, but unfortunately you can’t use isolated coconut oil (for powderising reasons), which basically leaves the next best choice being coconut milk powder (desiccated coconut as per the low-carb hack works better nutritionally (same fat content, lower carb content), but the texture is extremely unpleasant when in a shake in my experience - coconut milk powder is the way to go here). This is usually around 60-65% fat and 20% carbs. Unfortunately, that carb content is too high to get the fat content you need for keto (~150+g per day at minimum).
The obvious benefit to this type is that it’s the most convenient - you just need to add water, you don’t need to worry about fat sources. The issues are as described above, and these are also the most expensive options.
Examples of this style include Biolent Keto (highest carb content of the options listed at 40g per 2000 calories as prepared, and over 30 grams of omega 6 alone) and Primalkind (which I really like - it’s one that uses macadamia nut meal so the polyunsaturated fat content is low. Unfortunately it’s completely out of stock due to the owner of the company taking time out to take part in clinical trials as he has cancer).
So that is a (not so) brief summary on the different styles of powdered ketogenic meal replacement on the market, and my opinions of the pros and cons of each. There are a couple of ready-to-drink options (one in the US, also by KetoOne, and one in Australia from Aussielent), but these are either not currently available or don’t ship to the UK at all (and they’re also by far the most expensive options I believe).