I’ve been using Huel daily for a couple of years now and partly credit it for me losing 35kg during the first UK lockdown - although I think that was mostly due to the pubs being shut! The one and only thing that I (still) don’t like about the product is its name.
There’s nothing wrong with the word ‘Huel’ in itself, it’s the etymology (where the brand name came from) I don’t like. The official line is that it’s a portmanteau/shortening of the phrase ‘human fuel’ which I consider to be cringey Hoxton neckbeard hipster style naming (sorry - personal taste).
Consequently, whenever friends ask why it’s called Huel - which is a surprisingly common first question on learning that I drink/eat it (proving the branding is strong if cringesome) - I’m too embarrassed to tell the truth and just say I don’t know.
However… On reading a book on linguistics this morning (as you do) I discovered that ‘huel’ is also an ancient Aztec word meaning fully/completely. From now on I will use this as the explanation for the product’s name when people ask, even though I know it’s not the official line.
So my question to you, Dear Forum, is what do you say when people ask why it’s called Huel? Do you give them the ‘human fuel’ explanation? Say you don’t know? Or have you invented your own reason?
I’m sure the company probably wouldn’t mind (too much) if people did just make up their own explanation for the name, eg off the top of my head…
- It’s a phonetic shortening of the friendly greeting (and doctor’s opening line) “you well?”
- It’s an acronym for Healthy Upbeat Energetic Lifestyle.
- It was invented on Huelin Beach in Malaga when the creator wanted a change after two weeks of paella.
- It was named after the Brangelina-esque gossip mag name for the creator’s favourite past celebrity couple, HUgh Grant and ELizabeth Hurley.
- It’s the Klingon word for oats.
…and so on. I’m going with the Aztec explanation. You?