I’ve been looking for a decent meal replacement to use when travelling and when backpacking in the mountains. I also work as airplane crew and I’ve been looking for a replacement of the disgusting meals we get on the plane and something to occasionally eat on layovers.
My introduction to powder food was Mana since it’s a local company for me and I’ve heard a lot of recommedations. It wasn’t very practical for the following reasons:
Taste – It isn’t particularly delicious, okay maybe for just one meal per day.
Oil bottles – Unnecessary hassle and they’re 111 ml, which means you can’t bring them on a carry-on luggage (not good for travelling). It also makes the food really greasy which means the bottle is way more difficult to clean (not good for backpacking).
My second experience was Queal. The package size is perfect for travelling. It doesn’t have any of the sortcomings that Mana has but it still isn’t perfect.
Taste – It tastes alright. Flavours don’t taste too chemical but it’s extremely sweet for me and it leaves an aftertaste from the sweetener.
Glycemic index – While I’m not a diabetic or anything a GI of around 70 seems a bit excessive and unnecessary.
My third experience was Huel. I ordered the Original Vanilla and the UU and I am extremely fond of the UU version. Since the Vanilla is very sweet I mix it with UU and the taste is just perfect. Unfortunately not all things are perfect for me.
Package size – While I do like the big bags + flavour bags concept I’d also appreciate if I could buy smaller 1-day portion bags. It’s impractical to take the whole 1.75kg bag on a 1-day trip and it’s impractical when you go backpacking for 4 days and the bag only contains meals for around 3 days. Of course I can always just refill the Queal bags that I already have but that’s a bit of a hassle. Also it would be cool to have smaller flavour bags.
Thickness – My main problem with Huel. I need 150 ml of water per scoop of Huel while I only need 70 ml of water per scoop of Queal. This is a big thing for me when travelling and working. Basically I can barely fit 1/3 of my daily meals into one shaker with Huel while I can easily fit 1/2 of my daily meals with Queal. It feels like I’m just eating extra thickener. It’s impractical to take extra Huel in a small bag with me to the airplane and it’s extremely impractical when backpacking outdoors with limited amount of water available. With Queal I need 1 litre of water per day, with Huel it’s 2 litres just because of the thickener.
While Huel seems sligtly superior, right now I’ll keep ordering both Huel and Queal as each one has something different to offer. Queal has a decent taste, good packaging and a really good mixing ratio for travelling. Huel has a good taste, better ingredients and with UU it’s just tasty enough for me. I love that I can mix in only the amount of flavour that I want (so far tried Matcha which is great and Banana which tastes like a cheap bubble gum…).
Unfortunately both products still remain suboptimal to me right now.