Hi @atrip and everyone
Hard to answer, especially when I’m not sure what you mean by ‘scale’. A few households together, a local community, or on a massive regional scale? If it’s the latter, then we’re already doing something like this.
If it’s the former, Huel is very reasonably priced when compared to what most people have, even during this time where people are at home and undoubtedly being more selective with their food choices and budget.
The key ingredients are on the ingredients list in the Nutrition section: oats, flaxseed, pea and rice protein, and sunflower oil & MCT powders; plus the flavours, gums and micronutrients.
I guess there could be a budget Huel but that wouldn’t be nutritionally complete. I could come up with something, sure. It would lack in some of the super cool stuff like the D3, K2 and phytonutrients, though.
Good quality calories can be found to make blends locally or at scale. This is great especially if you’re on a super-tight budget: oat flour, ground flaxseed, pea and rice protein powders are all pretty easy to acquire in bulk. Then you could add desiccated coconut for MCTs. You could also add some sunflower oil to a final blended product. Plus some fruit for flavour and I bet it would taste quite nice. That would supply a good chunk of the nutrition, though it may be a bit low in some vitamins and minerals. You chuck in a mutli-vitamin/mineral on top, you’d certainly be nearly there (note that most preparations lack potassium, phosphorus and calcium due to the amount needed to fit into a capsule).
I’m not sure if it would be cheaper when you factor in production costs, scale, shelf life, palatability, packaging, food safety, legal stuff that’s there to protect the consumer, etc. We’re already making this to scale. Would this cost less than £1.24? That’s the cost when you purchase 4 pouches of Huel.
Re-reading the above, I realise I have come across a bit salesy! That’s not my intention; I’m just pointing out that to develop something to come close to Huel is not that easy - though, granted, it could be quite fun!