I’ve been told numerous times that “it’s in the works” and I’ll be notified when it becomes available, but after more than two years I’m starting to doubt if it ever will. The reps are apologetic but it feels more like a brush off than a tangible answer. I don’t understand how we can manufacture it here in Canada for the US, but cannot purchase it ourselves here? It’s available in basically any country globally except Canada, which when you consider the history between Canada and the UK it makes even less sense. All I want is some Huel that I don’t have to pay a crazy amount on shipping for by routing it through someone else in another country first. What do I have to do to help this become a reality?
Unfortunately, the rules regarding what is considered food is different in Canada to many countries. Whilst in the USA and Europe Huel is categorised as Food, in Canada, we would be categorised as a meal replacement.
This issue with this is that meal replacements have extremely strict requirements to be available to sell in Canada.
For example, the minimum amount of Vitamin D per serving in a meal replacement is 1.25mcg and the maximum is 2.5mcg. Huel contains, 5mcg per serving. So we do not meet the classification of a meal replacement, and thus would not be able to sell in Canada.
This is not the only point where we would be held up, but it is one of the most stark. The Vitamin D content in Huel is what it is because it provides an optimal amount to help people avoid vitamin D deficiency. Lowering this amount would make Huel an inferior product.
We are exploring different options to try and allow Huel to be sold in Canada, but these take a significant amount of time, and potentially product re-formulations. Concurrently, we are always reviewing our formula and trying to optimise Huel. Any change would reset the process.
It’s as frustrating for us as it is for you. It makes no logical sense to us that Huel can be made in Canada, but not sold. Or that massively unhealthy fast food is fine, but Huel isn’t. But we can only work with the legislation that is there.
Thank you for the in depth response. That’s a much more satisfying answer for me. It’s very unfortunate that our stupid legislation here is holding us back. I guess I’ll have to keep bringing it in the way I have been until something can be worked out. Maybe I’ll start a petition or something lol. Either way, I appreciate the detailed feedback and I look forward to the day I can actually purchase Huel directly from the website.
Keep fighting the good fight.
I just checked my other two “complete food” shakes I ordered from European companies, and not one of them has a vitamin D content below 2.5. Perhaps a Huel trial run is in order?
I can’t speak for other products, but if that’s the case then they likely aren’t compliant, as we know that we are not. We could have Huel shipped over into Canada, and it would likely get through fine to start off with. But we would be found out and stopped from selling, with potentially worse consequences. We do not want to subvert the CFIA and want to go through the proper channels.
I can appreciate that. However it just seems that we’re both going to lose indefinitely at this rate because of outdated legislation. Clearly the rules of what constitutes ‘food’ here need to be updated, because no one is gaining from the current arrangement here. I guess I’ll have to take the fight to them. Either way, I appreciate you taking the time to liaise with me. Now that I properly understand the scope of the issue I can stop harassing your service reps lol.
No problem Korbin. Let us know if you have any other queries.
Good luck & do let us know if you get any responses.
How about the bars & granola? Is pre-bottled also classed as a meal replacement?
One step at a time!
Lol, I just meant if Huel has problems due to being powdered food classed as a meal replacement, would you be able to sell the granola as it isn’t & so on with the bars & maybe even the pre-bottled?
I appreciate even if the rules let you, you probably wouldn’t want to launch in Canada without including the main product lines but still, it seemed an interesting question.
This is the extent of my dialogue with the CFIA so far:
1:58 PM (1 minute ago)
It just boggles my mind that we literally manufacture Huel here for the US and ship it to them, but we aren’t allowed to have it ourselves.
I have spoken with the company recently, they are definitely still interested in selling here, but are frustrated by the tight restrictions not allowing them to, which doesn’t seem to affect any other country but us. My attempt here is to foster dialogue to help overcome what seems to be largely a red tape issue. Due to the length of time this has been ongoing it just seems like we’re not making any real progress.
They mentioned the CFIA as who they’ve spoken with in the past and gotten this information. Should it actually be Health Canada? I just want to know what I have to do to make some progress on this and hopefully find a solution that works for everybody
On Wed, May 2, 2018 at 1:44 PM, CFIA Enquiries / Demande de renseignements ACIA (CFIA/ACIA) <information @inspection.gc.ca> wrote:
Unfortunately, it would be up to the company to comply with the regulations that Health Canada has written and CFIA enforces. The company would need to communicate with CFIA and discuss why their product does not meet Canadian regulations. I understand you are the consumer who wishes to be able to have this product available to you in Canada.
The only way you could expedite/assist in the process would be to put in requests to the company to discuss with the CFIA to help them understand the regulations they would need to comply with or to request that they communicate with Health Canada to have the regulations reviewed.
They may have already done this and come to the conclusion that they did not want to comply or sell in Canada. Whether or not they have done any of this already, you would need to discuss with the company directly.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
From: Korbin Uhlman
Sent: 2018-05-02 12:21 PM
To: CFIA Enquiries / Demande de renseignements ACIA (CFIA/ACIA)
Subject: Re: FW: WEB RESPONSE / REPONSE DU WEB ID# 2018/4-928: Classification of imports (food vs meal replacement)
It’s because here in Canada we classify their product (Huel) as a meal replacement, when it is actually just nutritionally-complete regular food but in powder, bar, and granola form (most other placees including the US and Europe classify it as food, and have no restrictions allowing it to be imported). Because of our strict meal replacement ingredient guidelines (in this case vitamin D dosage needing to be between around 1 and 2.5 micrograms per serving, whereas Huel contains about 5 micrograms per serving), we apparently do not consider the product in compliance, and do not allow it entry through the mail. They said there are other similar issues but the vitamin D content being the predominant one. They have been trying to figure out a way for it to be reclassified or allowed in for some time but apparently with no luck. They also tweak the formula to improve it fairly regularly, which apparently restarts the process, and that’s why it’s been well over two years without them being allowed to sell in Canada.
I have no doubts it could cross the border unhindered, but ordering from a person in another country first is very tedious and costs way more for shipping. Huel has stated they are not willing to take the chance themselves until they get the official go ahead from the CFIA. I’m simply inquiring here to figure out why exactly it’s taking so long, and what we can do to expedite the process, make an exception for them, or reclassify them from meal replacement to food so as to allow them to sell to folks here. It just seems strange that a vegan food which can healthily sustain a human being isn’t allowed in citing health rules, but stuff like fast food and who knows what else is allowed in.
My apologies for the long post, I just want to make sure the context of my request is understood and that I can hopefully speak with the right people who can help us sort this out, which would be a win-win for everybody.
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out. I look forward to continuing the dialogue.
Has anyone tried sending Huel to Canada via the USA or different country? This is what I’m considering and will eat the cost but don’t want it confiscated… Thanks!
I echo the gratitudes for the lengthy explanation of why Huel can’t be sold in Canada. Thank you.
I routed a few shipments through a friend in Austria who agreed to help me out, and they all got through without issue. The biggest problem with this method is you pay way more for shipping than if you were able to order direct. Not only that, but if customs decides to be an asshole that day, they could probably hold your shipment for as long as they want, citing our regulations which cause this problem in the first place. Ideally, we could arrange some sort of compromise between them and Huel, but it seems like negotiations have been stalling for quite some time now with zero headway being made. That being said, in the meantime I have made several orders from Jake, that have arrived in mere days without any border issues. I understand the difference between the two and the marginal superiority of the Huel product overall, but in lieu of a more cost-effective solution, I don’t see any other option at this time.
If you have a friend willing to repackage and send to you directly, and don’t mind the added shipping costs, then that is certainly your best bet until some sort of arrangement between our government and Huel is reached (if it ever is). Either way, fingers crossed, and best of luck to you.
KJDU is right, you’ll be able to cross-ship or ship to US and bring in using a car, etc.
Just come back and declare it and say it’s nutritional shakes, whatever.
CFIA in Canada is a joke… better off talking to your MP and chasing it there and see if they’ll go after it after you buy a membership for whatever party won in your riding.
I read the same about Soylent and told my mates at work about it and we all laughed at how you can eat endless garbage, buy a bunch of supplements, vape till your lungs fall out, smoke pot and the rest… but meal replacements with more than 2.5mcg in a northern climate that has long nights and little sun in a lot of areas… no go.
Honestly, the whole thing is utterly hilarious to me. Look at the side of an Ensure bottle in Canada and barf in your mouth a little - while they expect $25+ a day for something that would make you ill eventually for the average adult.
Soylent and Huel both can be sold in a ton of places and Canada is busy worrying about the same laws that made Red Bull and Mountain Dew unlawful to sell in Canada forever (caffeine in citrus beverages). It’s really irrational.
Lets have that since in for a moment… You can buy and smoke pot, drink alcohol every day till our healthcare kicks in, but Huel and Soylent - not saleable. Haha
Grow plants in your basement, but healthy eating in shake form, no go!