A Case for Two Huels: Why v3.0 Should Be an Option, Not the Default

I wanted to take a moment and address each of the “benefits” of the new v3.0 and why I’m making a case for Huel continuing to manufacture v1.1 alongside v3.0.

From Julian:

“The good news is that v3.0 is our seventh improvement since launch and our best ever Huel which I think you will love. We have improved the taste and texture, it has all natural flavours, more natural vitamin sources, plus added probiotics and kombucha.”

Taste

Of course, taste is subjective, and there’s no way to confirm the taste is improved without knowing what kind of testing was performed, but just based on the feedback in the forums and the subreddit, I don’t believe the taste can honestly be said to have improved. It’s different, and while many people seem to like the new flavor, the general consensus I’ve seen is that for people who enjoyed v1.1, they prefer it to v3.0. Huel may pull in some new customers with their cake batter-flavored Vanilla or Tropical Life-Saver-flavored Berry, but for those of us that liked the old, this has been a rough transition. I’ve had to do 50/50 UU with all the new flavors just so I can get acclimated. I went back to the old Berry today after two weeks of the new Berry, and it was such a vast improvement, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do the new Berry again.

Texture

Once it has sat in the refrigerator for a while, it can be argued it’s smoother than the v1.1, but many of us make and immediately drink our Huel because, well, that’s what it was sold as. A quick food option. And when preparing it in this fashion, I can categorically say the v3.0 is much “clumpier” than the v1.1. I plan to do some side-by-side video comparisons for a full review article and will share them when complete, but it’s clear when I finish my bottle that the amount of residue left that won’t fit through the plastic mesh topper is significantly greater with the v3.0.

Probiotics

Huel has added Bacillus Coagulans MTCC 5856, a probiotic, to v3.0. While I personally have no problem with this either way, probiotics should only be taken after consulting with a physician, and individual dosage needs may vary. Adding it to a food source, particularly one that many people use exclusively or almost exclusively, does not allow those people to control their own dosage. For example, people with lowered immune systems, such as those recovering from cancer, or who have had surgery should not take probiotics. These are two specific times where an easy-to-prepare, healthy source of nutrition would be ideal, but having probiotics eliminates v3.0 as an option for these people.

Kombucha and Kale

Huel v3.0 has both of these ingredients. By adding them, Huel has removed a large chunk of the population from their possible customer base. People with shellfish allergies are not going to risk the exposure from the Kale. Those with religious restrictions from caffeine and/or tea who used to enjoy v1.1 will no longer be Huel customers due to the addition of Kombucha. According to Dan, the Nutrition Executive, the reason for adding the Kombucha is, “It’s a source of a natural B vitamins,” yet there are many foods such as black beans and spinach that are great sources of B vitamins.

Summary

It seems to me that with all the changes they’ve made, it would not be surprising to see a drop in sales that is equal to if not greater than the number of new customers these changes bring in. For this reason, I would love to see them continue to manufacture the v1.1 for everyone like me who prefers it and everyone mentioned above who cannot consume the v3.0. I don’t care about the price. Make the v1.1 the same price even if it’s cheaper to make. Hell, make it more expensive if you want. Just please don’t take it away from us.

Why Do You Care So Much

Not really addressing the changes, but I think it’s important for people to recognize that for many of us with bad digestive systems, Huel is literally a life saver. The food I had to eat before Huel was less-than-optimal in nutrition and had to be supplemented with vitamins and minerals. My lab work between my last two annual physicals is drastically improved, and I owe it all to a diet of almost exclusively Huel for the last six months. To go back to my old diet or reduce my Huel intake would significantly alter my standard of living. I will personally continue with my Huel diet, even if the v1.1 goes away completely. I will most likely buy the UU and take the extra time to blend it or let it sit in the refrigerator, but I sure wish I didn’t have to.

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Because the like/heart isn’t a strong enough signal…

This was an excellent post. I hope you find more time to share your thoughts. :slight_smile:

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Taste

I agree with you on all counts. Taste is subjective, and my preference is for 1.1 vanilla/original over Vanilla 3.0. I have no experience with other flavors.

Granted, I think I feel less strongly about it than most who really enjoyed 1.1 but I am planning on buying a number of bags of 1.1 so I can use up all of my flavor boost which seems mostly incompatible with 3.0 Huel. In fact the strong flavor of 3.0 makes me wonder if they plan to continue the flavor boost products at all.

Texture

I didn’t mind the texture of 1.1, in fact I kind of liked gritting my teeth on it. I think 3.0 mixes objectively worse than 1.1. Whether or not someone liked the texture of 1.1, it was at least possible to thoroughly mix it in a shaker bottle in 10 seconds as the directions indicated.

I shook the everliving crap out of 3.0 for a full minute, and still ended up with clumps that I could squash between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. I am not a picky eater.
I have been known to chug 100% psyllium husk and water without flinching. Thankfully, this ability has allowed me to endure the clumps and globs of Huel 3.0, but my wife is pretty distraught. She’s not in a position where she can run a blender at lunch time, and I just refuse to put that much work into the preparation of my nutrient slurry.

So would I like to see 1.1 continue to be sold? You bet.

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Thanks for your detailed feedback Randy.

You have to remember that the forums and Reddit are just a small section of Hueligans. Taste and texture are two of the biggest factors for people that no longer have Huel. The forums and reddit don’t capture many of these people.

I disagree with this. This is only true in special cases like you mentioned after recovering from long-term illness.

The points on kombucha and kelp are fair points. You’re right that other foods can provide vitamins but they need to match the nutritional profile required for Huel and not affect the taste and texture.

We absolutely do recognize this and it’s one of the reasons why we love Huel.

Thanks again!

Harvard Health Letter, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and National Institutes of Health disagree with you, for what it’s worth.

“Don’t start taking probiotics without talking to your doctor or pharmacist about whether probiotics might help you.” – (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-take-probiotics)

“Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you.” – (https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/probiotics-risks-benefits#2)

“As always, when considering taking a supplement, talk to your doctor first.” – (https://www.mayoclinic.org/prebiotics-probiotics-and-your-health/art-20390058)

“If you’re considering a probiotic dietary supplement, consult your health care provider first.” – (https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm)

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They actually echo what I have said.

“Many types of probiotics are on the market. Some have been well studied, and some haven’t. One theoretical risk of probiotics is if someone has an immune system weakened by illness or medication, that person could get sick from probiotics.”

“But it usually doesn’t hurt to take them, and adding them to your diet might help.”

“The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill.”

Mayo Clinic talks specifically about probiotics and health conditions so isn’t relevant.

“If you’re considering a probiotic dietary supplement, consult your health care provider first. This is especially important if you have health problems.” is the full quote. The NIH will always err on the side of caution but we consume probiotics everyday from foods which run into the same issues above for specific conditions.

The other main concern which is why these websites suggest reaching out to your doctor is probiotics are classed as dietary supplements. Therefore, they’re poorly regulated and a doctor can help to separate between the real deal and more trusted companies vs those looking to make a quick buck.

Hopefully you’ll consider that Huel is part of the former.

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Although this is an argument from silence, I will say this. I’ve been a hospital pharmacist for almost 20 years now, much of it at the largest hospital system in my state. I have never seen any patient admitted to the hospital for any issue regarding taking a probiotic. We routinely prescribe probiotics for a wide range of patients. Our infection disease doctors even use it on our immunocompromised and transplant patients. Never once have I ever seen any adverse effects from this. These are arguably the safest supplement/OTC product on the market. Granted, they are overused because in many cases they are probably not necessary, just my opinion. And the human studies have failed to show a real benefit in preventing C. Diff diarrhea. But certainly, probiotics are one of the least harmful products I have ever dispensed.

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I don’t quite understand the concern with the probiotics. Do you check with you doctor before eating live culture yogurt?

As far as the flavors go, I wasn’t crazy about the 1.1 berry, I look forward to trying the new one. The 1.11 vanilla to me tasted A bit like mini wheat milk, tasty but mildly sweet. A stronger flavor could be good, but I bought so much 1.11 a week before the 3 launch that it will be a while before I try it (especially with the 4 bags of Huel Black that just showed up on my counter​:sweat_smile::rofl:)

I don’t understand why everyone is trying to argue with the guy when he’s right? Literally every probiotic and supplement tells you to consult a doctor first on the label. Why not just admit he’s right but your profits or focus groups don’t care? Why argue against facts? It’s not a good look.

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That’s because they’re supplements so come under different laws to food (which is what Huel is). They also serve different purposes, such as claiming the curing of a disease. Again, Huel is simply food.

Supplements are poorly regulated so you will often see this statement on the label “Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.”

The regulations around foods are much stricter.

You can find out more here and here.

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I can understand for manufacturing and supply chain reasons why having fewer products makes business sense. I also really want to see 1.1 continue as an offering and may not have any reason to do any further business if 3.0 is the only option. I find the mandatory change over very unsettling. If we’re using Huel as a primary food source these changes become very significant in daily life so forced changes may be much more significant than they would be with occasionally consumed items. For example if this was food for my dog I would not make a diet transition so quickly with so few fallback options, it’s too risky for my dogs daily well being. I just want some ability to stay the course here with what was working so well for me.

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Thanks for understanding Andrew.

This is a fair point, so I can have your feedback what changes are you not a fan of?

I am devastated by Huel 3.0 and I left my experience here: V3.0 is destroying my digestion

Dan,
I don’t have any technical or nutritional reasoning that I don’t like the 3.0, I simply have a strong preference for the 1.1 chocolate vs the 3.0 chocolate. I find the taste very different and find 3.0 incompatible with the suggested mix method.
I started my Huel experiment to see if I could stomach a “sci-food” in day to day life and gain all the benefits or if I’d fall back to more conventional foods. I was a little surprised at how easy the transition to Huel was and consider it a success overall. I never anticipated that the food source I had so much success with would simply be discontinued. When I learned of the upcoming 3.0 change I assumed that the changes would be small with regard to texture, cost, and flavor with the most significant changes likely to be nutritional improvements. Having consumed it I still have no issues with the nutritional improvements but the taste and texture changes have me looking for alternatives or using Huel less and that is a bummer dude.

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You don’t need to! What you’ve put is more than enough, thank you. Even things like “it’s too thin now” or too sweet" can be fed back to the development team.

What is it about the taste and texture you struggle with?

I can’t quite place it or put it into words, just an unwelcome different taste from the new chocolate. I expect the food scientists at Huel have a good understanding of the specific differences causing this.
I find the new texture less of an issue but I’d describe it as smoother while much harder to mix. I prefer to mix as needed in the shaker with cold tap water. With v1.1 I was using 13oz of water for 2 scoops and shaking with the grill in the bottle for 10-20 seconds and getting a good blend. With v3.0 and all 17oz of water for 2 scoops I can use the same bottle/grill and shake very hard for 60 seconds and still have clumps to either chew or wash down the drain.
I’d like to just get used to it and move forward trusting in the nutritional scientists but I’m currently concerned I’ll wander off to lower quality food sources over the taste/blend issues.
I appreciate the opportunity to give some input here and hope the 1.1’ers are being heard and we’ll have a solution again soon.

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This is my biggest issue since I’ve given up on the new Berry. If I use the strainer, I’m literally rinsing 10% of my huel down the drain after every meal. If I don’t use it, I’m chewing dry clumps of huel.

When I get near the bottom I like to add a little extra cold water and shake around to get some of the extra left on the strainer. Makes cleaning later a little easier as well.

I always do that, whatever the texture, to get every last bit :slight_smile:

Things I’ve tried to make v3 not clump:

  • shaking and sifting the dry huel so it goes in the bottle unpacked
  • packing the huel tightly in the scoop before dumping in water
  • ice cold water and tap cold water
  • various amounts of water before shaking from 10 oz up to a full bottle
  • with ice and without
  • with metal ball from my other blender bottle and without
  • stirring with a spoon before shaking
  • stirring with a small whisk before shaking
  • running dry huel through food processor
  • making it the night before
  • a blender

The only thing that works is the blender. Even making it the night before, I still had clumps. There’s simply something about the new formula that causes the huel to “seal up” as soon as it gets wet and not dissolve in water. I have to assume it’s the tapioca starch. No amount of shaking will break up these clumps without physically attacking them with a blender blade.

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