Congratulations, I firmly believe that Huel is an excellent product. I’ve been training (various modalities) for 10+ years, and, due to a prevailing interest in the science of body recomposition, I’ve been roughly up-to-date re: nutrition & supplementation research throughout. As you might imagine, I make quite a habit of nutritional pedantry – Huel is a product that I’m actually comfortable with using as a whole food replacement (unlike others on the market, which might satisfy macronutrient requirements, but leave much to be desired regarding micronutrients, phytonutrients, etc.). Moreover, the taste is quite excellent – I find that it strikes the balance between ‘sweet’ and ‘a savoury meal’, I actually look forward to my Huel! As such, I’ve been using Huel for ‘two lunches’ (400 cals each) for the past ~8 months. With all of this being said, I do believe that there’s some room for adjustments/further consideration – a few comments below:
Amino acid profile. I don’t believe that I’ve seen an official amino acid profile published for any of the Huel products? While I respect Huel’s decision to eschew all animal products, research has shown that, contingent on dose, plant protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS) less than animal-based counterparts. As an athlete with a focus on strength sports, this isn’t a concession I’d like to make. The caveat here, though, is that it appears that plant protein and animal protein elicit the same MPS response when the overall dose contains sufficient leucine above a threshold amount (off the top of my head, I believe it was 2.5g?). Thus, in practice, 10g plant protein < 10g whey protein… However, it seems that 30g plant protein = 30g whey (purely in terms of MPS). It would be excellent to see Huel’s amino acid profile, in order to determine whether this need is being addressed. As far as I know, Huel’s customer base contains many athletes who would be affected by this consideration.
EDIT: I’ve since found an amino acid breakdown, linked here: https://huel.com/pages/the-huel-powder-formula-explained
DHA. Huel contains 3-4g of omega 3 per serving. Working off of the information from the label, it would appear that this dose is sourced entirely from the inclusion of flaxseed? While the flaxseed omega 3 is a welcome addition, it only contains one of the two required omega 3 fatty acids – EPA (arguably the less important of the two, as it is more ubiquitous in diets). It would be excellent to see the addition of DHA in Huel’s formula – there do exist algae which can serve as vegan sources. Alternatively, given that the body can convert ALA to EPA & DHA (though DHA less so) if dietary intake of the latter is insufficient, it would be prudent to ensure that the ALA content is sufficient, if DHA is not addressed directly. The health effects of DHA consumption are profound and incredibly well documented, as you likely know. Personally, I address this need with fish oil supplementation, but this would be a further step (imo) towards making Huel a ‘complete’ food source.
Phytonutrient content. While I appreciate Huel’s efforts to cover all potential nutritional gaps with close attention to vitamin and mineral needs, I think that more could be done here to ‘complete’ the nutritional package. Time and time again, studies on vitamin and mineral supplementation fail to find any benefit in those who are not deficient – the bottom line thus far appears to be ‘vitamin and mineral inclusion is essential for maintenance of health, avoiding deficiency, but does not promote extra salubrious effects above a baseline’. However, studies on fruit and vegetable consumption nearly always find remarkable health benefits above a ‘baseline’ – reduction in various disease incidence rates, increased rate of injury healing, skin moisture levels, etc. etc. It seems (per the current nutritional zeitgeist) that the reason for this disparity is the veritable ‘textbook’ of understudied compounds present in fruit and vegetables – the phytonutrients, from the pigments, to the flavonoids, to the stilbenes. These are nearly impossible to successfully include via supplementation – they appear to be the primary driver behind a varied, whole food diet being the ultimate health prescription: we can’t yet mimic the power of fruit and vegetables. It is for this reason that I choose Huel over a competitor like Soylent (pea + oat + rice > maltodextrin + isomaltulose), but I do believe that Huel could do more here. Is there room to create a version of Huel with the benefits of a vibrant, multi-coloured salad? It would be excellent to see a version with spinach, pineapple, blueberry, kale, tomato, etc. I imagine that a good-faith attempt to incorporate the benefits of whole fruits & vegetables would require more than the industry standard (merely ‘pixie-dusting’ greens with a 100mg blend like Spectra or similar), but rather a genuine inclusion of fruit & veg as a nutrition source (i.e. 10g carbs from fruit + veg, 10g less from oats). I do understand that this would likely need to be a slightly more expensive, premium product, but I’d certainly be willing to pay for a version of Huel that I believe to be actively improving my health with every serving.
Irrespective, congratulations again, and please feel free to disagree if you have knowledge that contradicts the views above – always happy to debate/learn