Building a Customer Base

You guys built a customer base and a brand on basically 2 products, the U/U and the OG. Vanilla. There’s more options like flavor packs, flavors, and ready to drink available now which is awesome because it means your company is growing. I’m sure you’ve made slight changes to the vanilla flavor in the 2 years I’ve used Huel, but it’s been relatively the same. Huel has been 80% of my diet for a long time. I talk about Huel to everyone I can because I believe in the product…

But this new change to the vanilla flavor feels like you’re sweeping the rug out from under the feet of all the older customers. The product that was the backbone of your company now tatses very, very differently. I do not think it was smart on your part, and I do think you guys should listen to seemingly everyone on the board who have taken time out of their day to say this change was not a good one.

If you guys wanted to add this new “Vanilla” huel in, couldn’t you have just called it Cake Batter and made it a separate option like berry? Leaving the original flavor, that all of these people bought that help you build the company into what it is today, the same.

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Thanks for a well-written post.

I don’t even use vanilla because the old was too sweet and cake batter sounds awful. I appreciate the insight that all these product options suggest growth. I wonder if the move away from the old vanilla was a cost related to sustainable sources of ingredients, and that’s the real reason it isn’t offered anymore.

That would be an honest admission of the reality of business at the scale Huel has become. That transparency would be welcomed from this community, rather than the sense of “pulled the rug out”

Also, even if I am not invited to participate in a poll, I would be very interested in the numbers that were used to confirm the preferences/choices that drove the change. Surely Huel makes data-driven improvements and not arbitrary “try it and see” guesswork.

Share with us the how/why - understanding could replace the confusion and resentment. ??

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Really sorry you feel that way Chris, hopefully I can try and explain.

Nothing to do with this at all. Flavours are a relatively minor cost compared to all the other ingredients, if we wanted to cut costs somewhere, it wouldn’t be with flavours. There’s less sucralose which is what people have asked for and a more natural flavour.

This decision has partly been made based on the UK and EU. The UK and EU has both original (old vanilla flavour) and vanilla. Similar to the US original is dwarfed in popularity compared to vanilla which is the best selling flavour and so we made the same decision in the US.

Initial data shows that we have made the right decison has the vast majority of people are preferring vanilla and new customers are more likely to continue with Huel too.

U/U is a funny one because I would say vanilla is one of the hardest flavours to match using home ingredients. So making the new vanilla “cake batter flavour” from U/U is near impossible. However, you can get pretty close to the original flavour by sweetening the new vanilla flavour.

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unifying the US and European version of Huel powder

We are working on this in some areas but not for others e.g. unifying flavours doesn’t make sense because of varying tastes The US prefer a sweeter product.

Hi Dan,

Quoting you from the UK forums because its relevant, and I was hoping you could explain. I’m confused as to how it doesn’t make sense to unify the flavors. I’m pretty sure a good number of us in the US would love coffee/mint chocolate/Original huel. All of these flavors work very well sweetened! You also mentioned something about regulations but I’m hard pressed to believe that the formula couldn’t be tweaked to comply and think that was a separate thought.

The UK and EU has both original (old vanilla flavour) and vanilla

What prompted the decision to completely remove the Original in the US instead of keeping it alongside the new Vanilla like in the UK?

vast majority of people are preferring vanilla and new customers are more likely to continue with Huel too.

I feel like more new customers sticking with huel could be influenced by your recent deals and not just the flavor change… (Free flavor boost, free sample flavor boosts, previously $10 now $15 referral bonus)

you can get pretty close to the original flavour by sweetening the new vanilla flavour

Can you explain how to do this easily/cheaply? I’ve tried adding sweeteners but the strong nonvanilla flavor still comes through. I’ve tried adding vanilla extract but again to no avail (and that stuff isn’t cheap even if it were to work…) Can you go into more detail as to what was changed within the umbrella terms “natural and artificial flavors”?

Thanks in advance

This makes me regret my order. I tried the vanilla almost 2 years ago. I liked it. UK/ EU foods and tastes are different. Why even change anything about the U.S. formula… or any part of the world. Sell what is selling well in that market to that market. Great business sense to make that market happy vs doing a global flavor and people start hating it. I hope the new flavor of vanilla is still good to my tastes now. But at the same time. Why change what is working unless you are making the product better for the market. Losing commited clients to gain try clients doesn’t make for a long term investment.

Sorry for the confusion I didn’t mean in terms of the variety of flavours but between the same flavour. US vanilla tastes different to UK vanilla, they’re not the same despite the name. We will release new flavours in the US don’t worry about it!

I can’t go into too much detail because of what we have to come for you guys in the future. Watch this space.

That’s a fair point. However, when we compare this against unflavoured and unsweetened which also works with flavour boost additions vanilla is doing better.

Personally I find sugar-free syrups work. It’s the stuff you put into coffee to make all those fancy frothy coffees. Hopefully that works for you.

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I guess a half response that I don’t like is better than the non-response we’d been getting from other huel members…? Still disappointed and can’t imagine what the reason would be that you can’t answer it more clearly.

I would hope so! U/U literally has a disclaimer that you might not like it! Also I feel the new “vanilla” is a waste to use flavor boosts on. They largely get lost/overpowered in taste. Will there ever be a vanilla flavor boost to add to U/U? I would be annoyed that I would need to buy it to get back to something similar to Original but it would be better than not having it at all.

Not going to lie I don’t think I’ve seen sugar free syrups, though I haven’t been looking for them. Do you know which sweeteners these usually use? (and/or which sweeteners the ones you use have) Still skeptical that I’d be able to reach anything similar to the Original flavor.

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When did/does the new vanilla start shipping? I received my first shipment a couple weeks ago but have not yet opened the vanilla. Just curious!

Sugar-free syrups are available at Sam’s Club, Walmart, TJMaxx, etc. These are typically sweetened with Splenda.

If you are a new subscriber, you will only receive new vanilla! So I bet yours is set for new vanilla if you ordered recently.

Where does this data come from? Based on what we’re seeing in the forums, I think a lot of us miss the OG Vanilla. Are you basing that statement on the sales of new vanilla? Because of course you’re going to have more sales of new vanilla as Huel continues to grow in popularity. And new customers may love new vanilla because they were never able to taste the magic of old vanilla.

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I wouldn’t put too much stock into what we’re seeing in the forums. I imagine those of us who didn’t mind the change aren’t raising our pitch forks and torches and rushing in here to proclaim our love for it. Seems to me those upset about it are the more likely to voice their disapproval here.

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I agree with you on this, I only use flavour boosts with U/U.

That’s a good question. I will pass it onto the development team, but from what I understand not in the near future.

I have syrups from a brand called Monin which use sucralose and potassium acesulfame. I’m from the U.K so the US version may differ slightly.

It comes from our own e-commerce data, this allows us to look into the nitty gritty. Completely agree with @gsenteno that what you see on the forums is a small selection of the overall results. A key difference is recurring orders. Someone could order once but if they don’t like the flavour they won’t order again.

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