In the News

Fancy a glass of gloop for lunch?

Penny Brooks

2nd May 2017

Is this a new market opportunity, feeding time-poor young professionals with a liquid lunch? Huel is a powder which is made up into a meal-replacement drink. It is a blend of vegan protein made from brown rice and peas, among other ingredients, and apparently tastes like digestive biscuits - and has been reviewed by Jonathan Margolis in the FT, whose son is a keen customer. Following the introduction of Soylent, a Californian nutrition drink conceived by techies for techies too busy to eat. there are now almost 100 rival, mostly liquid, products globally, aimed at the same demographic.

Margolis's son is a 35-year old tech entrepreneur who fits precisely into the target market for Huel whose customers are mostly educated men aged 24 to 35.  “Otherwise lunch would be a Tesco ham sandwich, crisps, a Coke and a Mars,” he says, “which isn’t very healthy, plus I find it a bit sordid eating at my desk.”

The business is a UK start up based in Aylesbury, in south-east England, and producing in Devon, in the south-west, and has sold more than 5m meals in 55 countries in less than two years. Co-founder Julian Hearn, who started the business with £250,000 of his own money, expected techies to be early adopters of the food - “They’re more progressive, more open to new ideas, more willing to accept science,” Mr Hearn says. They are now aiming at the finance sector, where workers no longer take time for business lunches but look for a quick method of refuelling during the working day.

The Huel website shows that Huel comes in two flavours, Vanilla and Unflavoured & Unsweetened. They also offer a range of nine powdered flavours - Strawberry, Chocolate, Banana, Matcha Tea, Cacao, Pineapple & Coconut, Mocha, Toffee, Rhubarb and Custard - so customers can blend their own preferred flavour, and perhaps vary the taste a little. 

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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