Huel - stealthily sustainable
Huel, at first glance, could be written off another productivity hype for stressed out technology execs. It’s a meal shake, a concept that’s been around for decades, fulfilling dual objectives of weight loss or management, and a big time saving around lunch time. It’s nutritionally optimised and contains all your essential vitamins and minerals, no sugar, and the right mix of protein to carbs. It’s popular with busy professionals, anyone needing a quick dinner or top up before the gym, and those looking to quickly lose some weight post holiday.
Take another look though, and you start to see that Huel is incredibly timely. It’s vegan, with vegetable protein from sustainable sources, meaning they are in essence making part time vegans of unsuspecting carnivores (many Huelers replace 1-2 meals a day with a Huel shake). This is big accomplishment, given the heavy reliance on meat (and dairy) in the Western diet. Moreover, replacing 1-2 meals a day with Huel, which comes in large bags lasting weeks, you are reducing your everyday waste creation by quite a lot. And there is naturally no food waste either from your meal.
Though Huel has only made a small dent in the market, and seem to only focus on the Western world at present, it’s an interesting concept at a time when we are grappling with the need to drastically change diets. According to the EAT Lancet report, the new ‘planetary diet’ allows only four servings of animal protein a week. Many of us struggle with a quick transition to vegan or vegetarian diets, after lifetimes eating meat and fish at much higher levels than we now know if sustainable. Solutions like Heal, which are tasty and come with a host of other convenience and nutritional benefits, could help shift that balance quicker.
Perhaps a future for Huel could also imagine a ‘one for one’ model - imagine a nutritionally complete meal for refugees that is easy to ship, prepare and store.