New Article - How Huel and the Huel Ingredients are Produced

We have a new article in our Guides & Articles section:

How Huel and the Huel Ingredients are Produced

This gives details of the Huel ingredients and how it’s blended; some of you will, for sure, find this useful! Please ask me any questions below.

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I’m curious as to how stringent Huel’s testing is of ingredients sourced from China. China isn’t exactly known for high standards in agricultural goods.

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Our quality checks for our ingredients sourced from China are no more strict than our ingredients sourced from elsewhere. Because they don’t need to be; because our quality checks are strict for all ingredients.

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Nice to hear, but how are the quality checks conducted? Are ingredients tested at the CoO by a 3rd party, or are they tested by Huel once they’re received at Huel processing facility, or some other variation? Is every batch of every ingredient tested or is just kind of random ‘here and there’? I’m just curious, I’m no expert in these things. If you @JamesCollier could point me into the direction of an article that goes over the process in detail I’d be happy to read it :slight_smile:

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Hi @Robat - the ingredients have quality standards from the supplier; this includes a CofA per order. As Huel uses a 3rd party blending copacker (who we have a very close relationship with), these guys too ahve their own strict quality standards which we (Huel) audit. Plus Huel also does some more random spot checks. All comply with strict legal quality regulations.

On the US site, we don’t have such an article, but we do on the UK site. It’s on our list to put together, but will be a little different to the UK one.

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Thank you @JamesCollier!

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Technologically challenged. Can’t figure out how to make a new post. I’m thinking of making cookies with the Vanilla. I’m thinking Huel, an egg, some nuts and sunflower seeds. Anyone else make cookies or bars. Thanks!

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Hey Ellen, I’ve linked you to other forum threads with cookie recipes below. You can also find some recipe gems on our website, here.




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Hi James,

I strongly believe in your product, and would respectfully ask you to seriously reconsider using any supplier in China (or India, in future) for Huel. I can appreciate the capability and cost elements at play, but I would gladly pay a higher price for the decreased likelihood of an issue discovery in the future. It is well documented that manufacturing facilities outside of the US, EU and Israel have poorer controls in place, and because Huel is not subject to regulatory review or approval, we cannot count on the same stringency in oversight as might apply to other types of products, like medical therapies.

I would feel a lot better if you could address the below, as it relates to Huel:

Can you confirm what contaminants your suppliers are specifically checking for?

Do you or your packaging vendor perform routine audits of these facilities? Have they been audited by the FDA or EMA?

Additionally, does your repack facility further perform batch level release testing against a specification that you at Huel have approved? I would be concerned if a third party verification does not test the final product for cumulative contaminants (even if individual elements of the product pre-blend are within acceptable limits).

Because you mention “legal limits”, under which specific governing body or country have these testing limits been established?

Your website is a terrific resource and model for transparency, and I hope these quality control elements can be incorporated into your messaging.

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Hey, I hope you don’t mind me answering this.

I’m not a massive fan of sweeping statements like this. China has a population of over a billion people there are great factories and those are the ones we choose to work with. One of the main jobs of our continually growing ops team is to choose suppliers, ensure they meet our specifications and check this regularly. Huel is food so it’s subject to the same laws as any other food which are stringent. Pharmaceutical products are a different category entirely so have different regulations.

There are many contaminants that are checked for from pesticides to heavy metals. You can see more here.

Yes, our factories our BRC accredited and have unannounced audits. The FDA themselves don’t audit food factories.

We conduct our own regular testing against a specification we have approved. Batch level release would add significant costs and time constraints that are not necessary.

In the US this is the FDA and the US.

I hope that answers all your questions, let me know if you have anymore.

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Hi Dan,

Thanks for this very thoughtful reply! I researched the question of worst food safety issue countries and the data does indicate that in 2019, China and India were in the top 10. (Source: https://www.cncahealth.com/countries-food-safety-violations/)

Additionally, your feedback that the FDA does not audit food production facilities is incorrect. Not only are domestic production sites under the purview and oversight of the FDA, but any country that imports food to the US is required to register with the FDA and allow for inspection. In the case of China specifically, please refer to this legal summary (https://www.vantageasia.com/chinese-food-producers-comply-us-fda-routine-inspections/) which addresses the relationship between Chinese food producers and the FDA more explicitly.

Most directly related to Huel, I note that the link you shared doesn’t include the most current version of your products, nor does it reference the acceptable limits for each heavy metal tested as context. Can these updates be added? This also seems to be representative of a single batch, and, as you say, Huel doesn’t actually test all of the final batches before they go out the door, due to cost. In the event of a potential product recall, how can you fully understand the scope of the issue if you don’t have release data for each batch?

You mention that legal limits for the US are established by the FDA in the US; does this mean you have different specifications for different countries where Huel is sold?

I saw only 2 individuals listed on your website with the word “Quality” in their title, in stark contrast to the number of folks with the word “Marketing”. It gives the impression that there is greater emphasis on selling Huel than making sure it is consistently optimized for safety.

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I’m with Dan on this one. “Most Bad Food Comes from China” is not the same as “No Good Food Comes from China.”

I trust a company like Huel, whose product caters to people that are obsessively concerned about their nutrition and health, to have the foresight to recognize we’ll care about the quality of the ingredients and source them accordingly. (Compared to say, Burger King, whose customers are on average less likely to be concerned with ingredient sources.)

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Thanks Randy! It’s good you guys keep us on our toes and ask these questions. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to go away and do some research before coming back with a confident answer which helps us improve and look into new areas.

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I saw only 2 individuals listed on your website with the word “Quality” in their title, in stark contrast to the number of folks with the word “Marketing”. It gives the impression that there is greater emphasis on selling Huel than making sure it is consistently optimized for safety.

We also refer to out ‘Quality’ staff as ‘Technical’; there are currently five Huel-employed individuals who are in this role, plus one interim plus another additional vacant role. On top of this, there are several individuals at each of our copackers who are involved in the quality checks. Then, as well as this, there are three Huel-employed individuals plus one interim who are involved in procurement and supply chain. The area is well covered as it’s a crucial area for us.

Sorry, I’ve checked with the quality team and you’re absolutely right. All of our Huel products going into the USA are from FDA registered manufacturing sites and they are inspected by the FDA.

Audits of our Chinese and Indian suppliers are to the same standard as the EU/USA suppliers. These audits are carried out by the technical team at Huel as well as suppliers within the supply chain.

Absolutely we are in the process of having this page updated and will include results on Black Edition too. It is just a single test report as it’s to give an idea to Hueligans some of the work that the quality teams put in. The work that would be required to constantly update the page with the new results that we do is not worth it and we need some confidentiality with what we do.

Each batch of Huel comes from ingredients that have been tested and conform to the parameters we have specified with suppliers. Testing of the ingredients, suppliers, manufacturers, final product and fulfillment centres is regularly carried out. We conduct shelf life analysis of finished product from start to end of life. The sites also carry out their own organoleptic, microbiological and shelf life analysis.

This is on top of post-consumer feedback too. It’s not as easy as saying if you don’t do X then Z will occur when we do A, B, C and D to monitor and prevent Z.

This is correct to meet the legal requirements of each country. However, there’s a lot of similarities between countries and we also have our own internal specifications so all Huel products, wherever they’re sold meet our own high standards…

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I agree with what you have written and I personally have canceled my subscription due to the use of China processing huel. It is just my personal view In how I consider my food I ingest twice daily and what I want to be exposed to . I have enough health problems and trying to better them not get worse. History will show how China has notoriously adulterated food , for example honey , baby food . I mean these are considered important and yet they take the opportunity to mess with the purity and quality for the profit ! I’m saddened by this because I enjoyed huel. I won’t be a hueler for life as planned . Maybe if they someday change these handling practices .

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I’m really sorry to hear this. Let me see if I can clear up your concerns.

Honey is adulterated throughout the world not just China, see here.

Baby food and melamine was truly horrible. However, that was 12 years ago. As mentioned we have strict specifications in place and a variety of control and testing procedures.

We don’t select any old supplier they have to meet our standards from quality right through to nutrition. All our suppliers are BRC accredited and can be subject to external and unannounced audits.

Huel has a very specific nutritional profile and we have a narrow range that the nutrients of each ingredient must meet to be able to be used in Huel. This instantly narrows down the number of suppliers, climate, growing conditions and species of crop we can work with. You then need to factor in how the ingredients are processed to maintain the nutritional profile of Huel and ensure it is allergen free (especially the oats for gluten-free products), which cannot be done by everyone.

Add on top of this our own quality and safety standards that we require suppliers to meet and third party accreditation organisations’ standards and this places further constraints on the suppliers we can use.

Therefore the suppliers that we do use are sound in order to produce the high quality product that Huel is.

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Hi Dan,

Thanks again for your reply; as you can probably understand it is concerning that Huel does not have an established product recall procedure, particularly as you declined to implement final release testing of every Huel batch due to cost. In so trusting your individual vendors, you potentially expose yourself to liability if a problem is ever discovered later on - concerningly, this discovery would have to happen as a customer reaction rather than a preventative step prior to putting material to the market, based on that lack of Huel testing.

I would suggest working with your QA team to confirm if this is indeed true as this would be identified as a potential risk/process gap, should Huel ever be audited by the FDA or implicated in a product quality issue. You mention: “It’s not as easy as saying if you don’t do X then Z will occur when we do A, B, C and D to monitor and prevent Z.” But, this is exactly how your supplier agreements and internal procedures should be structured - again, you operate under the remit of federal agencies to whom you are ultimately accountable to as the seller of Huel. And, we as your customers who very much want to replace our regular food with a viable substitute need to know that we can trust you to not only formulate a good product, but to routinely re-confirm its quality and be able to quickly and effectively trace any problems. In doing so you can achieve an additional layer of trusted status in the marketplace.

I realize this is a very operationally focused topic, and if a member of the QA team would be better positioned to address this, perhaps they can field this for you to avoid any additional confusion or misunderstanding.

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I never said we don’t have an established product recall procedure, we absolutely do.

You’re right this isn’t my background but QA don’t have the time currently to be on our forums - January is our busiest month.

From my understanding, I don’t see why this is necessary and most companies do not implement this for every single batch of final product. If we’re testing our ingredients, comparing this to our supplier’s testing and then doing the same through every stage of the production process, including final release testing and shelf-life then we have all the steps in place to make and monitor a high-quality product.

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Forgive me but I’m still confused.

If one of your Chinese suppliers supplied a substandard batch of ingredients (with high pesticide levels, for example) how would Huel know to omit these ingredients from your product?

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