Original v2.3 recipe changed – with added salt?


#1

Hello all, I have been giving Huel a try for the past couple of months or so and I am enjoying it overall. Just recently I have run into a problem though.

My most recent order contained a bag of Original (Vanilla) which I had assumed would taste the same as the Original that I had had before. However, when I first tasted some from the new bag (albeit with some Banana flavour boost), it tasted distinctly different. So then I tried some just on its own and… yuck. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the difference, but it tasted sweeter and the flavour was generally overpowering.

I had previously rather enjoyed Original (although Berry is my favourite), so I was very disappointed but most of all, puzzled. Had my taste buds changed somehow since I last tasted it? Was it a bad batch? Had the recipe changed?

I initially ruled out the last possibility, as the packaging clearly says ‘v2.3’. However, on actually looking at the ingredients list, I was very surprised to see something that I’m sure was not there on my last bag of Original: ‘Sodium Chloride’. And indeed, looking at the Nutrition Information, the Salt content has increased from 0.7g per 100g (per the label shown on the Huel website, which shows the original Original formula without added salt: https://uk.huel.com/pages/nutritional-information-and-ingredients ) to 0.9g per 100g. The ordering of some of the other ingredients has also changed too as you can see in the photo below:

Original v2.3 with added salt:

Original-recipe no-added-salt Original v2.3 (for ease of comparison):

image

This raises several questions:

(1) Why has Huel made a fairly big change to the recipe without changing the version number and without communicating the change to customers? Surely the whole point of version numbers is to convey whether or not changes have been made. If in one order I receive Huel v2.3 and in my next order I also receive Huel v2.3, it is surely reasonable for me to assume that I am receiving the same formula and that no ingredient changes or reformulations have occurred?

(2) Why is it necessary to add salt at all? The minimum necessary intake level of sodium is estimated to be as little as 200–500mg per day according to the WHO [1]. Given that 500mg of sodium is equivalent to 1.25g salt, and Huel Original v2.3 originally contained 3.7g of salt per 2000 calories before the recipe change (therefore almost three times the highest minimum requirement), I can’t see any justification on health grounds for increasing the salt content. Surely there is enough sodium from the other ingredients already without having to actually add salt to the recipe?

(3) This one is obviously subjective, but I enjoyed the taste of Original (Vanilla) when I had it before, and now, with the added salt, I think it tastes pretty terrible and I won’t be ordering it again. Did taste testing really show that people prefer the new, saltier Original v2.3 as compared to the original, no-salt-added Original v2.3?

(4) Are you planning to add salt to any of the other flavours? Please don’t ruin Berry as well, otherwise I will have to give up Huel altogether.

So, what’s the story Huel?

[1] “Although the minimum intake level [of sodium] necessary for proper bodily function is not well defined, it is estimated to be as little as 200–500 mg/day”
http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/sodium_intake_printversion.pdf page 5

EDITED: To add second image once I was allowed to, a question about other flavours and a plea to leave Berry alone.


#2

Quite a few people complained it was quite low and were experiencing negative effects. Adding a little salt appeared to make it better if I remember correctly.


#3

Interesting. I was not aware the salt level had increased. My batch of bags are at the 0.7g per 100g level and I’ve always had salt cravings after my Huel breakfast.


#4

Thanks for highlighting this. I’m one of the people who discovered they had low blood sodium and has stared adding a tiny sprinkle of salt to each Huel. I’ll have to have a look at my next delivery to see if I need to adjust again.


#5

My recent batch I received last Friday also says 0.7g per 100g and so was the one I just finished.
When I do 100% Huel I do get a bit of a headache but if I have a sandwich I don’t, or it helps the headache. So I wonder if it is to do with the drop in salt.
God knows how much salt I would of had before Huel with the crap I had though, so in that sense there is a big drop for me.


#6

Thanks for your replies so far. In looking through previous posts, I did find this one explaining that the level of salt was increased dramatically in v2.0 but then decreased substantially after that:

Interesting, would you mind sharing the batch numbers? This added salt Original v2.3 was Batch 8175, delivered on 12 October:


#7

Mines an older batch



#8

Hi @Andrew23

Thanks for raising this. The recipe for Original flavour Huel (only) has indeed been tweaked and this change happened 3-4 weeks ago. The reason for the change is driven by the flavour system and not the addition of sodium chloride and it is only Original vanilla that’s been changed.

You have highlighted the fact that the label image on the website hasn’t been updated. This should have been actioned. It will be done asap. Massive apologies for this.

  1. The reason for the change is this: we launched new Vanilla at the same time as the v2.3 change in December 2017. We were kinda hoping that we would phase out Original vanilla over the coming months. However, Huelers still love Original (myself included) so it absolutely must stay.

However, here enters an issue for us … when we launched Huel in 2015, we used an off-the-shelf flavour system (ie the one used previously in Original vanilla). The flavour system was all-in-one: flavours, carriers, sweeteners and flavour enhancers. We had no control over the components of this and we’re not happy about that. So, when we had more resource, we worked with flavour houses to develop our own flavours. These are the other flavours, you’re seeing and enjoying in Huel now (more to come :wink: ). The flavour system used in Original was higher in sucralose than others and we are striving to reduce sucralose where possible. We also knew that for supply reasons we couldn’t stick with this flavour system. So, for many months, we’ve been working to replicate the flavour system used in Huel Original. We tried many iterations and when we thought we’d found one that tasted the same. We trialed this one with what is known as a triangle test (where a cohort blind test and select or - if they can’t - guess the odd one out). Significantly more people got it wrong, which indicated that there was no appreciable difference. So we ran with this.

As Original is the only flavour that’s been tweaked, it is not a version change. A version change would be a notable difference to the nutritional profile and affect all flavours. The sucralose level of this Original is now in line with the others too (as shown here).

  1. As part of the flavour profile replication, sodium chloride is also added. This is the reason for the inclusion and why Original has a slightly higher salt level than the other flavours. The sodium chloride is not added with nutritional motivations.

  2. As explained, significantly more people could spot no difference. However, either some subjects did or some some simply guessed correctly. You are obviously someone who can tell the difference. Note, the addition of salt is not the reason why we changed Original, but it was a necessary part of the change. The level of salt in Huel Original is still very low albeit slightly (16%) higher than the other flavours.

  3. No.

I hope this addresses your very valid issue, and apologies that this has marred your Huel experience. If you would like your Original swapping for another flavour, please contact our Customer Service team.


#9

Can I check -I think you’re saying you’ve changed the recipe without telling anyone and were hoping we’d not notice?

The recipe you changed is the one that’s had a lot of confirmation that people love it, in comparison with its replacement.

The one where people have said they consider going elsewhere if you stopped selling it.

I’ll simply say that appears underhanded and deceitful and so I’m sure I must have misunderstood - right?

I have a shipment due in 13th that’s mostly original - you were going to ship something different and not tell me - wow!


#10

I would love to experience that development phase, it should be really amazing yet difficult


#11

Hi @rtrt

Can I check -I think you’re saying you’ve changed the recipe without telling anyone and were hoping we’d not notice?

To answer your question: yes the the first bit and no to the second bit.

The recipe you changed is the one that’s had a lot of confirmation that people love it, in comparison with its replacement.

Correct and - as explained above - that’s exactly why we did this exercise.

The one where people have said they consider going elsewhere if you stopped selling it.

While that’s quite possible, I am not aware of anyone saying this.

I’ll simply say that appears underhanded and deceitful and so I’m sure I must have misunderstood - right?

Sorry that you’re unhappy with this. I’m unsure if you have or haven’t misunderstood. I would have thought that most people would not been able to tell the difference; however, now you’re aware, the likelihood of you noticing is higher.

I have a shipment due in 13th that’s mostly original - you were going to ship something different and not tell me - wow!

I suppose, in a sense, you might be correct, because the label on the site wasn’t updated when it should have been. Once again, I apologise.

Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make you feel better about this situation.


#12

Hi @airiartev

We work with some flavour houses who are experienced with this sort of thing. They come up with ideas and our NPD team report on feedback. In a way it is fun, I guess!


#13

You guess? Hahaha that should be very funny…

Looking for a new member of the NPD team?