I’ve been using Huel at home and at work for a little over a month now and I think it is great. The problem I have found is the awkwardness of getting a portion out of the bag without any mess, especially at work.
I noticed another thread discussing a particular brand of dispenser that was aimed for commercial use and is both too expensive, and not opaque which Huel needs as a storage condition.
Being an engineer I am obviously offended by the lack of availability of a solution and so I wish to fix that.
I’ve got some ideas on how to do this and its close enough to start thinking about doing a kickstarter.
I’d appreciate feedback though as the biggest issue with an item like this is it simply cannot be done in small quantities - 1000 is pretty much a minimum run for several of the parts that would be needed, so unless there is at least moderate interest from the forums then it would not be worth continuing.
So the specifications:
Black food grade plastic (to keep the light out), some parts in stainless steel.
2 different versions for serving size (2.5 scoop or 3 scoop) - possibly optional extra for having both sizes available.
Single twist of knob to dispense portion
Would hold approx 1 bag of huel
aprox 110mm diameter and 320mm high
The important bit - cost:
Allowing for parts, assembly, fees and processing I think I can make this project manageable for £35 plus shipping (£5 within UK for standard shipping, slightly more internationally) - subject to having enough backing to cover initial tooling costs.
Of course it would be great and that’s a very good price for it. How would the powder be dispensed and weighted exactly? I would think it would be an essential feature to allow for adjusting the dispensed quantity. Apart from dispensing would this device also include a “blender” or a function to mix the powder with water?
It would be dispensed by volume - the part inside the dispenser that moves would allow a fixed amount of powder to leave the machine in a single twist.
I did consider making a single scoop size (70ml) per twist, but because Huel can be quite slow to drop out of a scoop due to its consistency I thought best to have a single twist per serving.
The 2.5 scoop vs 3 scoop would be set by changing the part inside, this would be fairly simply as that disassembly would be needed for washing the dispenser properly.
It wouldn’t blend or anything like that - I simply could not produce something at these type of quantities at a sensible price which also did that.
The design of this is that it would live on the desk or kitchen side, you would fill up your shaker, blender, nutribullet, etc with water, lift the dispenser over the container, twist the handle one notch and the right amount of huel will drop out of the bottom. put it back on its own mat on the side, no mess, no fuss.
Simm, I think it’s a great idea and if the price was right would certainly be something I’d buy, however for me I would very much like a 3 scoop and 1 scoop size option. Reason being that 3 scoops is my standard meal size but quite frequently I’ll have 4 scoops, or sometimes I’ll have a day where I’ll have a larger number of 2 scoop drinks.
My point being that like a lot of HUEL users the quantity of HUEL that I use in each drink changes quite a lot and so effectively restricting somebody to 2.5, 3 or 5 scoops as your product would could be a problem for a lot of people.
If you’re concerned about HUEL being a bit tricky to get out of the scoop sometimes might it not be possible to design your dispensing mechanism to have a bit of horizontal play, so if you turn the handle and find your HUEL is being stubborn you can give it a bit of a tap and the mechanism will physically move backwards, it wouldn’t need to be by much, literally a couple mm of play would be enough to give the scoop a good enough jolt to shake loose whatever HUEL was stuck in it.
IMO it is impossible to get Huel out of the pouches without making a mess. The new pouches are much better than the old ones from a seal and size perspective but no easier to extract the powder.
I applaud this quest and would be interested to see the result, although being realistic you can solve all of the problems with a £2 BPA free plastic container stored in a kitchen cupboard which blocks the light out.
Seriously, how is scooping the powder out of the pouches Huel is shipped in such an issue? I would have absolutely zero need for a dispenser like is being duscussed on this thread - scooping from the pouch without making a mess is easy.
Step 1: Stick your hand in the bag and pick up the scooper
Step 2: Scoop product into the scooper
Step 3: Put your free hand on the outside of the plastic bag and through the plastic, use your finger to remove the excess on top of the scoop and pat it down a bit
Step 4: Take the scoop out and turn it upside down (it should slide out of the scooper as a cylinder, not loose powder)
Step 5: If you made a mess, wet a paper towel, run it over the mess, bin the towel
I wouldn’t use this because I weigh Huel with electronic scales. I find the weights using the scoop wildly vary, and I suspect the weights would vary quite considerably here too…if it was produced and found to be pretty accurate I may change my mind…but don’t think so. I generally weigh Huel on Sunday for the whole week - 2 meals a day (into opaque containers) and store them in a dark cupboard. Works well for me.
The only flaws I see in making this product is that Huel is extremely fine powder, and if you ask any WWII and later tank crewman what happens to anything mechanical in the desert, they’ll tell you that sand is an absolute nightmare it gets into anything and everything mechanical and locks it up, Huel is even finer than sand, congeals in water, even a humid atmosphere seems to be enough for it to swell. I don’t see how you’d be able to stop it either with it being so fine that it can penetrate seams.
My other problem is the measuring application, scooping is already inaccurate, with many of us deciding to weigh instead, with the dispensing machine if the huel settles to the side and doesn’t flow without tapping, you’d have an uneven ammount of huel, I see this problem with coffee machines, you sometimes have to shale or tap the bean dispenser to get them to flow even in the steep funnel bottom.
Sorry for picking apart your idea I do want an easier dispensing device, and I think that most mess comes from just the stuff that becomes airbourne