Moving to Huel Essential, any losses?

Hi there, since beginning my Huel journey this year it has honestly changed my life. I used to struggle to eat relating to anxiety and also being a bit of a fussy eater too. Every morning I now have a Powder shake - much more calories than my previous oats / weetabix or toast was. 400 calories easy. Then at lunch I’ve found the Madras hot and savoury is something I look forward to as much as I used to look forward to other convenient / tasty but salty and unhealthy options. Another 400 calories, perfect. I’ve stuck to normal food for dinner sticking to some form of meat, and boiled veg both seasoned to my liking (been fun trying different seasonings and marinades too).

I’ve tried most of the flavours on Powder 3.0 / 3.1. Vanilla worked best for me, seconded by Cinnamon Swirl. I went and tried more, but Banana initially wasn’t what I expected (personal taste), same with the coffee one (I thought it’d be more like the RTD coffee one) - I managed to finish the bags and I got used to / started to like them enough, but they weren’t for me. I just finished salted caramel now, and I was given a bag of mint chocolate my girlfriend tried but didn’t like - again, not for me. Though I will say that across the various flavours, I bet there is one that will float every kind of persons boat in terms of taste - whether it’s sweet, bland, fruity, minty etc. I’m not complaining about any of them, but long story short, the flavours aren’t for me. In the mornings, or on the go, I’m quite fussy about what kind of flavour I like and some of them are too rich or heavy feeling. Plain keeps me happy.

So, I’ve also found I go through the Madras H&S a lot. Ordered them by about 3 bags at a time lately. Had tried the spaghetti carbonara and Mac and cheeze too - and again, I got through the bags and they weren’t bad, but again not for me, not the things I can have often without feeling a little sick of them or not in the mood for. Madras for me (for some strange reason) hits the spot, every time and months later, I’m not fed up with it. If anyone internal is reading PLEASE never change this recipe! (and also, does it sell well? I hope it does because then it’ll likely last forever).

I’m spending more on the H&S Madras - and I’m going to keep doing that unless there was to be a price increase. It’s a little hard to justify, I wish there was bigger options or bulk options since the bags don’t last as many meals as the powder. However, this is my secret weapon now to having enough energy - any time, at short notice - and on the go if I must. It goes down well, and feels like it ‘burns clean’ in my system (no stinking burps or bloating etc for long after). Other than the price, it’s too good to be true in my nutrition / eating journey.

Back to the point… to justify what I’m spending on the Madras, combined with my experience of the flavours, I’m going to move to Huel Essential. It’s cheaper, by a large margin really when you look at it across months and years.

Initially I’d have been put off by the lack of options, but having tried this for months, plain is for me. The vanilla, I can see, being for me. What is the difference?

Look, I know I can find the technical breakdown on the site - it’s all very good and informative. But I’m no nutritionist. Part of why I favour Huel is that it’s NOT specifically focussed at weight loss or for gym-nuts. Secondly, how plain and simple it is “This is food” and “Nutritionally complete”. I’m probably flushed with a tonne of nutrients now that I’ve missed my entire life. I couldn’t tell you the ins and outs, and I’d be bored getting too into the science behind it.

Is it any different powder / mixing wise? More lumps? Less lumps? Easier to avoid lumps or need to shake it more?

Does it lack any major benefits of the more expensive Powder 3.0 / 3.1?

Does it fit certain people / groups better or less? (e.g. I hear that the Black Huel is better for diabetics - even if it’s not explicitly marketed as such)

Is it as easy as I think about moving toward it to save money and favour the H&S, or am I making a choice that will impact the nutrition I receive from the current shakes I’ve tried?

Simplifying it – the main reason Essential is cheaper is because there is more of the primary ingredient (oats) that are sourced without testing to confirm if they are gluten free. There are some other changes to the smaller ingredients but the upshot is it still has the vitamin and mineral benefit of the other powders but with much less protein and much more carbs. If your diet and lifestyle is fine with getting that amount of carbs then the choice is up to you. Having tried it, the increase in oats also gives essential more of an oaty taste and grainier texture and it reminded me of the older version of Original which I liked.

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Sounds like Essential will be good for you taste-wise. Mild flavours and feels lighter to drink compared with other powders. Vanilla is nice but do try Chocolate - highly recommended!

I switched from 3.0 vanilla to Essential vanilla. The flavour is different but not really better or worse, and I’ve forgotten how 3.0 tasted now. The significant downgrades I’ve noticed are:

It mixes worse. I consistently get more/larger lumps. It doesn’t bother me though.

It’s less satiating, probably because it’s lower in protein. This one does bother me. It’s harder to stop myself snacking between meals. And if I don’t snack, I’m generally less happy than I was in my 3.0 days. Yesterday I caught myself thinking “I hope there’s a nuclear war and we all die horribly” but then I had a Twix and cheered up. So I recommend you try it, but have a Twix handy.


Maybe just try a set of two bags - one Vanilla, one Chocolate - and see if the taste suits you?

The Essential bags are slightly larger - 2 bags = 45 × 400 kcal - compared to the Powder bags - 2 bags = 34 × 400 kcal - so you’ll get a “longer trial period”.

Content-wise, as far as I’ve understood, all essential (←) vitamins etc. are there, it’s just the protein/carbs percentages that are different (less protein, more carbs),
and depending on “what you’re after” this might just be what’s “right for you”.

(image below from NEW Huel Essential Powder for just £1 a meal! )

If you find that you “need the probiotics”, or some of the other stuff that makes Essential differ from Powder or Black Edition, maybe compromise - buy both, and mix them?

Also: Don’t forget to try mixing the two Essential flavours (try Vanilla, try Chocolate, but also: try ½ Vanilla + ½ Chocolate). :wink:

Good shout!

Thank you for sharing your experience with Huel so far!

I am the same with Pasta Bolognese, it’s my lunch every day and so far not fed up of it! As far as I’m aware we don’t have any plans to change this formula so no need to worry.

As @Phil_C & @pSE have shared, those are the core differences between the powders. If you wanted to give Essential a trial to see how you get on you can always add the Vanilla flavour and build your own bundle with your usual Madras or Vanilla v3.1.

Black Edition as it’s lower carb is suitable for those with type 1 & 2 diabetes, but it’s worth noting Huel can be included in your daily intake if you have diabetes (type 1 or type 2). However, you do want to review the nutrition facts label to be sure it is suitable for you and your nutritional requirements both per meal and overall.

Huel Hot & Savoury, Complete Protein, Powder and Ready-to-drink can be consumed freely, however we suggest limiting all Huel Bars to one per day.

If you were after any more specific nutritional information about our products, we have a great comparison which you can view online here as well as a questionnaire to help find a product that works for you.

One bar per day? That’s a new one on me. Why?
I eat the standard bars (not protein) and often have a couple.
Please explain.

not sure either - the nutrition advice on the main site says that for any of the bars you can ‘Consume one to five bars per day, as desired’

again the - packaging and website nutrition advice is 1-2 meals per day only?

Just to confirm this is advice for those with diabetes, due to the sugar content we would only recommend 1 bar per day, however that is of course down to the individual and what suits them.

This is still our recommendation, when I say consume freely I just mean providing it fits within the diet of someone with diabetes. But as always it’s down to the individual and what works for them personally.

Sorry for the confusion caused guys!


The main problem is the high grain/carb content - it’s also very rich in gluten. You may have a fortified cereal instead and it won’t make much difference. This would even be cheaper, if the price is your main concern.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there is no bulk discount for this product. If you place large orders you’re not better off then than with the standard powder.

no, it isn’t.

Hello it’s me, THRIFT BOY. :man_superhero:

Correct. Huel Essential is £1 per meal, regardless of order size.

Incorrect. Huel Powder with maximum discount (16 bags) is £1.26 per meal.

And 16 bags is a heavy, very expensive order.

Would you be able to expand more on why you believe that the carbohydrate content in Huel Essential is a problem? At 2000 kcal, Huel Essential provides 105% of the recommended intake of carbohydrates, which falls in line with the official government guidelines, meaning that the macronutrient ratio is appropriate, and not out-of-balance.

To expand on this, taking protein as an example, 2000 kcal of Essential Powder provides 100 grams of protein, which is more than enough to cover the necessities given current research indicates a daily minimum consumption of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This simply reinforces the emphasis around this range providing the essentials, while being nutritionally complete.

Would love to know your thoughts :grinning:

Having read the discussion, I might just stick to the Powder 3.0 over essential. I’m happy that it’s gluten free and less lumpy - I had a really bad time with the salted caramel being lumpy regardless of how much I shook it and first thing in the morning when it’s a struggle to eat anything I definitely didn’t enjoy that.

My current order for end of this month is now 3.0 Vanilla, 3.0 Cinnamon Swirl and 3x Madras for lunches.

Thank you for all the discussion. Hope it proves to be useful for others long term

Just chiming in late in the game as have just tried Essential (chocolate).

For me, it’s a massive hit!

Firstly, not sure what’s going on but I find I’m getting a much smoother, silkier drink than with the standard white and black powders (and all I’m using is the shaker).

Secondly, I’ve only tried chocolate but I’m loving how mild and low-key this flavour is, it reminds me of Ovomaltine. I can imagine this would be very easy to ‘hack’ and rework into whatever flavour I want.

The standard white and black powders for me are
A) Sometimes incredibly thick, and for someone who has issues swallowing, that can be challenging.
B) Sometimes just way OTT in terms of sweetness and flavour intensity (Salted Caramel, I’m looking at you).

This Essential chocolate hits the spot in terms of a kind of mild ‘natural’ tasting flavour, which I had found in a Huel competitor (beginning with F…) but was missing from Huel.

Mixing with U/U is the best way around that. It’s nice to have the option of either going full-strength or to dilute the flavour/sweetness.

Agree 100% about the massive hit!

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I should have said that the quality/price ratio is worse than for the other Huel Powders. Looking at the ingredients and nutritional values, you could as well have a normal oatmeal or porridge plus a multivitamin/mineral supplement and you would have the same - at a much lower price. You could even add fresh stuff and still pay less.
Apart from that, it is offered in only two flavours, and I hate both.

Thanks for a great discussion.

I ended up ordering some 3.1 Powder this week. Vanilla and Cinnamon Swirl. Other than Cinnamon, the flavours just aren’t for me.

There’s too many question marks over the benefits of Essential, so thought I’d be best just sticking with the regular stuff to ensure I’m getting the best nutrition. I cut out hot and savoury due to the expense so I can justify 3.1 Powder now, two bags a month - even 3 if need be.

Only two bags per month? That would be only 1-2 meals of 400kcal each.