The 9 Best Meal Replacements in the UK (2019)
Looking for a healthy quick bite? Tired of your meal deal sandwiches? Looking to lose weight and improve your health? Struggling to find meals that are high in protein and you can consume on the go? Struggle no more with this list of best meal replacement shakes in the UK.
I have often found myself in similar positions, while I was studying at the university or while I was travelling, for instance. Complete foods have allowed me to eat healthy, keep my budget in check and have a positive mindset.
In order to make it easy for you to get started, I have made this list with the top complete foods available in the UK. I have taken into account my experiences over the past 3 years; and shared my expertise on the topic by creating this best of UK list.
Latestfuel’s Top 3 Meal Replacements in the UK
Why Should You Replace Your Meal Deal with a Shake?
Because you are sick of eating the same sandwich everyday.
In all honesty; there are many pros to consuming a shake:
- Healthier and more complete nutritionally than your average sandwich.
- With 400kcal costing you around £1.3 on average; most complete food shakes will be cheaper.
- Personalized nutrition. Looking for high protein? Enjoy a fully nutritional shake with 30g of protein per 400kcal! Looking for a low carb option? Drink your meal replacement shake with under 40% carbs.
- Struggling to find vegan options? There are plenty of shakes available in different flavours; chocolate, vanilla, berries, bananas…
- Achieve your health goals by being able to easily count your calories and tailor the macros.
Furthermore, meal replacement shakes are suitable to replace any meal. Breakfast, brunch, elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper… There is a shake for every moment.
Not convinced yet? Let’s have a look to Latestfuel’s best meal replacement shakes in the UK. I am sure you will find what you are looking for.
Best Powder Meals in the UK
1. Powdermatter Original
- Great nutritional values and high quality ingredients
- Top 2 most affordable shake available in the UK
- 30g of protein available in Vegan and non-vegan version (soon)
- Texture of the shakes is quite gritty and thick. Not beginner friendly
- Price for small purchases is not as cheap as bulk
Powdermatter Original is the best meal replacement in EU when it comes to price/quality ratio. Despite having high quality ingredients, it is also the most affordable shake. You can buy it for as little as £0.9/400kcal.
Furthermore, many of the ingredients used in Powdermatter are from organic origin, and all of them are non-GMO.
The vegan version has 30g soy protein isolate, which makes it ideal for anyone with sporty lifestyle and for those looking to lose weight. In the near future, expect to also see the same shake, but with whey protein instead.
Powdermatter Original’s texture is not as smooth as many other here. You can almost bite into the shake, due to the amaranth and quinoa bits on the drink. I found this rather enjoyable; but might cause discomfort to some.
Overall, it feels very natural, the flavours are fairly subtle and the sweetness level is medium-low. Great for daily use and to customize it to your liking.
Carbohydrate sources include amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat. There are very little oats in Powdermatter Original, when compared to other oat based products.
Regarding fats, flaxseed and sunflower oil are the main fat sources in Powdermatter Original. This product has a very good balance of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, includes plenty of omega-3s per serving.
With 30g of protein per 400kcal, Powdermatter original is one of the shakes with most protein per calorie. The vegan version uses soy protein isolate. The whey version will use whey protein concentrate, instead.
While some of the ingredients include micronutrients, Powdermatter ensures you get at least 20% of your daily needs per serving (400kcal) with a synthetic vitamin and mineral mix.
Soy is the only allergen found on Powdermatter Original.
Other Products from Powdermatter
Powdermatter also offers Nuts Mania, a shake based in nuts; with a little less protein, but more real food ingredients.
Good For: People looking for great nutrition at an affordable price.
|per serving||Powdermatter V||RI (%)|
2. Ambronite Complete Meal Shake
- Real food based shakes
- Great bulk discounts
- Vegan, non-GMO, lactose-free, wheat free
- Only 3 flavours available
Ambronite is one of the most premium brands out there, and Complete Meal Shake is their best product.
Available in 3 flavours; my favourite is Ginger & Apple, incredibly refreshing taste.
You can buy them in individual pouches (great to consume on the go) or 4 meal (400kcal) bags. While initial price is high, you can easily lower it by buying in discount and using the code LATESTFUELS for 25% OFF.
Complete Meal Shake is ideal for those looking for the least processed option and are concerned about their health. Because most ingredients come from real food, Ambronite products come with extra nutrients (phytonutrients) to boost your focus and performance.
Complete Meal Shake is smooth, with a fairly thick consistency when following the recommended guidelines.
While not the tastiest shakes in the market, they offer a very smoothie like flavours.
Complete Meal Shake will satiate you for about 3h when you consume a 400kcal serving (this will vary depending the person and the amount of exercise you do).
Oats, berries and fruits are the main source of complex carbohydrates and fibers. This does mean that there will be some sugar (mainly fructose), but the GI of the overall shake is below 40.
Looking at the fats, Ambronite’s Complete Meal Shake comes with an adequate dose of omega-3; well balanced with omega-6 and monounsaturated fatty acids. The shake is low in saturated fats, and contains no trans-fats.
Most of the protein comes from oat protein. With 24g per 400kcal, you will easily achieve the daily recommended.
Complete Meal Shake is also able to provide 29 vitamins and minerals purely from food; a feat that it is easier said than done.
Nuts and traces of gluten might be present in Complete Meal Shake.
Other Products from Ambronite
Ambronite also offers Balanced Meal Shake, a cheaper alternative; ultra-smooth shake. However, this does not contain all the vitamins and minerals you need per serving.
Good For: Those who are looking for the least processed shake.
|per serving||CMS||RI (%)|
3. Queal Standard
- Many flavours available
- Thin easy to drink shakes
- Very good pricing and discounts
- Awesome starter pack
- Contains maltodextrin and isomaltulose
- Thin shakes might fail to fill you up
Queal Standard is one of the golden standards of the industry and king of flavours. The Standard is part of Queal’s range of powders (Athletic, Agile and Vegan); and the one that will suit the most (best price).
Perhaps, because of that, Queal’s Shakes are some of the most exciting to drink. Thin, smooth and tasty. On top of that, you have up to 7 flavours to choose from. All unique and different from each other. I recommend Chocolate Hazelnut Happiness and Awesome Apple Pie.
Furthermore, being a Queal customer is a delight. Fast delivery, great subscription discount (up to 15%), and a really cool dashboard where you can monitor your orders, progress; plus get superb rewards.
Thanks to the maltodextrin and isomaltulose combo, Queal has one of the thinnest shakes in the market. Perhaps, it is not as smooth as Soylent or Saturo; those which contain no oats.
Without a doubt, some of the tastiest shakes in the market. Unique, different from each other and fairly sweet. My preference: chocolate flavours.
This might be one of the weaknesses of Queal, because each shake is 700kcal, but you can fit it in a pint. You will drink it fast, and almost not notice you have eaten. Should help you staying full for 3-4h.
Queal Standard contains oat flour, isomaltulose and maltodextrin as primary carbohydrate sources.
As for fats, it has sunflower oil and linseed mix to provide you with all the necessary omega-3s and healthy fatty acids.
As far as protein is concerned, Queal Standard uses whey protein as main source. However, they also offer a vegan version with soy protein isolate. If I were to choose, I would stick to Queal Standard, though.
You will get all the vitamins and minerals you need with Queal’s shakes.
Soy, gluten and milk are present in Queal Standard.
Other Products from Queal
Queal also has many other products, including meal replacement bars (GO bar), a chewable breakfast option (Queal Ready) and a nootropic to enhance your focus (Flow).
Good For: Those who consider taste the most important factor.
|per serving||Queal Standard||RI (%)|
4. Huel Powder
- Great nutrition
- Very professional company
- Available in gluten-free and drug tested versions
- Top UK based product
- Flavours can be bland
- Gritty shakes
- Huel farts
Huel is one of the most professional and successful companies in the market; and Huel Powder is where all started and the key to their success. A very well rounded product, with a subtle flavour profile and a focus on nutrition.
On top of that, Huel is at home in the UK, with plenty of advantages for the UK customers, when compared to everywhere else. You can enjoy the cheapest pricings (down to £1.19/400kcal); the best catalogue; fastest deliveries and best shipping terms.
Huel Powder flavours include UK classics like Chocolate Mint, Vanilla, as well as, Berries, Coffee or Chocolate among others.
Huel Powder is known to be thick and gritty, partially due to the oats and flaxseed. Many tend to leave it overnight to soften the drink. However, I think it is quite pleasant.
The flavours vary a fair bit, and finding your favourite option will be part of the journey. Overall, they will not be as exciting as Queal or Feed, and they will have an oaty background. I go for Vanilla or Original when using Huel fairly often.
Huel shakes have plenty of fiber and protein which will help you to fill full. Usually, a 400kcal shake keeps me full for about 3h-4h.
The main carbohydrate in Huel Powder is oats; a great way to consume complex starch. There is also some soluble and insoluble fiber in the shake.
As for fats, it has sunflower oil and linseed mix to provide you with all the necessary omega-3s and healthy fatty acids.
Huel is a vegan shake, but does not use soy protein as source; but instead a mix of pea protein and brown rice protein. This ensures a balanced profile of amino acids.
The micronutrients in the shake come from a synthetic vitamin and mireral mix.
Huel Powder contains oats (gluten); but you can purchase the gluten free option for a little extra.
Other Products from Huel
Besides the powder, you will be able to purchase Huel Ready-to-drink (the most convenient Huel option); Huel Bars and Huel Granola.
Good For: People that want to support high quality UK products.
|per serving||Huel Powder||RI (%)|
5. Feed Light
- Interesting flavours
- Available in bottle and bags
- Only 300kcal per shake
- More expensive than normal variations
- Some flavours might feel watery
- It is a French brand
If Huel is the UK giant, Feed. is the French counterpart. With exceptional range of products and particularly good tasting shakes; it is hard to choose one. However, I believe Feed. Light stands out among them, and offers a delightful alternative to bigger shakes.
It is available in 4 very interesting flavours: Raspberry-Mango; Chocolate-Coco; Banana-Chocolate; and last. but not least, my favourite, Peach-Green Tea.
On top of this unique selection of flavours, you will be able to purchase them in bags of 15 meals (300kcal) or in bottles with powder on them (you just need to add water to them). Convenient, tasty, and healthy.
Feed Light is in the middle of the spectrum; it is quite thin, but has many particles (like coco flakes and/or oat fiber) that make the shake not smooth.
In my experience, some flavours like chocolate coco feel a little weak and empty (but you might be able to fix with adjusting the water); but the true star is Green Tea & Peach. Unique, refreshing and really tasty.
This is not the shake that will make you feel bloated. If you are used to bigger meals, you will feel hungry within 2h of consuming the shake.
Feed. Light uses gluten free oats as main carb source. They also include acacia fibers.
Fats mostly come from yellow flaxseed, which is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. The shake also has sunflower oil powder.
Regarding protein, pea protein is the primary ingredient. A source that is slightly deficient in some of the amino acids, but should be solved by the sheer amount of protein in the shake.
Vitamins and minerals are mostly from a synthetic mix.
Feed. Light does not contain any major allergens.
Other products from Feed.
In addition to Light, Feed. also has Sport, “Normal” and Bio (organic) powders; bars (great tasting); and ready to drink meal replacements. Moreover, Feed. has some of the weirdest complete foods; a chocolate spread and Maltesers like chocolate balls.
Good For: People that want a smaller, convenient meal.
|per serving||Feed. Light||RI (%)|
Best RTDs in the UK
I have made a separate list for the ready-to-drink options, because I believe they appeal to slightly different audience and comparisons between powder and RTD will be biased due to the different formats.
What do I mean by this?
- RTDs will be smoother, better blended and will have a more pleasant consistency for the most part.
- There are significantly less RTD options, less flavour options and less nutritional variety/
- Powders will be cheaper than RTDs, significantly cheaper.
But you can read more about this in our guides comparing the pros and cons.
1. Huel Ready-to-Drink
- Cheapest in the UK
- No soy, no major allergens
- Slick bottles
- More expensive than powder
- Only available in two flavours
Huel Ready-to-Drink is the Huel product for the masses. The one ready to be sold on the major supermarkets, in the meal deal section. Smooth, tasty and good looking are its calling shots.
While there are only two flavours available in the market, Vanilla and Berry, they are distict enough to appeal different palates. I would consider them more pleasant than the powder counterparts, too.
Starting price is a little high, £2.79 per 400kcal bottle, you can get them as cheap as £2.36/bottle with free delivery.
Expect a smoother, more milky drink; without the lumps or bits the powder version might have.
Huel Ready to Drink can be a little more artificial than the powder, slightly sweeter and more pronounced. I would go Vanilla over Berry, but it will ultimately come down to personal preference.
Huel RTD will do well on keeping you full, while I for me it is not as effective as the powder doing so. One bottle can fill you up for about 3h.
Instead of just oats, Huel Ready to Drink has tapioca starch (because this is more soluble) and some gluten free oat powder. The GI of the drink is 25; which is even lower than the powder.
When looking at the origin of fats, Huel RTD uses rapeseed oil, flaxseed and MCT powder from coconut. This ensure a healthy balance, as well as some quick energy source in the form of MCTs.
Unlike the powder, the RTD version only uses pea protein. Even if pea is deficient in certain essential amino acids; the RTD has a well balanced profile.
Most of the micronutrients come from a custom blend that will provide you with 20% of your daily needs per bottle.
Huel Ready-to-drink does not contain any major allergen.
Good For: convenience and on the go consumption are top priority.
|per serving||Huel RTD||RI (%)|
2. Yfood – Chocolate
- Only non-vegan RTD
- Highest protein RTD
- Milkshake-like taste
- Brand focused on Germany
- Acesulfame K as sweetener
Yfood is a German brand focused on ready to drink products. Their Alpine Chocolate meal replacement shake is one of the thickest and smoothest RTD; reminiscent of good chocolate meal shakes.
They have other flavours, too, including: Banana, Strawberry or Coffee. They come in two formats, 330ml and 500ml bottles. Personally, I find the bigger bottles more suited to my needs.
The price for the 500ml bottle starts at £2.5/400kcal; with an option to a further 15% discount with subscription. Perhaps, the best way to start with YFood is their taster box, though.
Yfood’s texture is as thick as smooth; even if the newer iterations are a little thinner than the originals. Most similar to the already made protein shakes sold on stores.
Milky chocolate taste, without the soy background other RTDs (Soylent, Saturo have). It will be very familiar to you, if you have consumed chocolate protein shakes or milkshakes.
The 500ml (500kcal) version will keep you full for about 4h, thanks to the high protein content.
For carbohydrates, YFood uses milk (sugars derived from lactose) and maltodextrin. The second is not the most nutritional ingredient, but allows the shake to be smoother. Fiber comes from oat and rice starch.
The milk used is 1.5% fat (low-fat), thus the fat content needs to come from elsewhere. In this case, it comes from coconut powder and canola oil (omega-3 source).
Guess where the protein comes from? Yes, milk plus they add some extra milk protein. Great source, as it contains a well balance amino acid profile, as well as, slow and fast release proteins.
Each 500ml bottle will provide you with 25% of the daily micronutrients.
YFood contains milk but no lactose (they use lactose free milk).
Good For: Those dreaming with chocolate milkshakes.
|per serving||Yfood||RI (%)|
3. Saturo Drink -500ml Chocolate
- Available in 330 and 500ml
- Vegan, soy based
- Great chocolate taste
- High amount of processed ingredients
- Soy taste in the background
Saturo is the European Soylent. The Austrian brand is focused on ready to drink products that have soy protein isolate, high fat and low carb formula. The reason why I put them higher on this list is because they are cheaper.
Saturo Chocolate is my favourite (besides the limited editions they had in the summer); but they also have Original, Coffee, Strawberry and Chocolate flavours to choose from.
You can buy a 330ml starting from £3/400kcal (as cheap as £2.43 after bulk discounts); or go for the bigger option, my preference, £2.79/400kcal for the 500ml bottle (cheaper with bulk buys).
Very fatty and smooth; similar to soy milk but slightly thicker.
Most of the shakes will have a very similar background taste (soy milk), with very sweet artificial flavours on top. Pleasant, particularly the chocolate.
The bigger bottles will do a better job keeping you full; but overall you will feel quite satisfied due to the fat content.
Saturo uses a combination of maltodextrin and isomaltulose to achieve maximum smoothness as their carbohydrate sources. These are not optimal; but do an OK job providing you with carbs.
In order to provide you with the fats that you require, Saturo uses high oleic sunflower oil and canola oil.
Soy protein isolate is the only protein source in Saturo Drink.
Each bottle will provide you with enough vitamins and minerals per serving.
Saturo contains soy.
Good For: People that want the most affordable RTD.
|per serving||Saturo||RI (%)|
4. Soylent Drink – Cacao
- Original RTD
- Smooth, silky and pleasant to drink
- Available via Amazon
- Just like Saturo, but more expensive
- Manufactured in the US
Soylent Drink is the original; the one that started all and America’s favourite. Is it good enough to become UK’s best too? For me it makes it to the list, because its silky smooth texture and easiness to drink. A good vegan RTD to start with meal replacements.
Even if there are more flavours in the US, only Cafe Mocha, Cacao and Original are currently available in Amazon. Of those, I would particularly recommend the first two, since I find the Original too bland and lacking on personality.
Note: You will also find Soylent “offline” in WHSmith stores. Have a look when you are travelling to get a healthy meal in!
What’s the difference between Saturo and Soylent? Well for me it is like deciding between Pepsi and Coke. However, in the UK, Soylent is a little bit more expensive, starting at £3.25/400kcal. Students might be eligible to extra discounts, though.
Not much different to Saturo, smooth, fatty and silky.
Similar to a chocolate soy milk, but a little fattier.
On average, Soylent will keep you full for about 3-4h.
Some of the ingredients in Soylent are from genetically modified origin, such as the soy protein.
That is the trend for this RTD, highly processed ingredients; such as maltodextrin and isomaltulose as carbohydrate sources.
Similarly to Saturo, the fats come from high oleic sunflower oil and canola oil.
Soylent Drink will provide you with the necessary vitamins and minerals with a synthetic mix.
As the name suggests, Soylent contains soy.
Good For: Those who believe the original product is the best.
|per serving||Soylent Drink||RI (%)|
How I evaluated the products
Quality of Ingredients and Origin
Because my bias to analysing each product from the nutritional standpoint, the quality of ingredients is fairly important for me. Particularly, because it allows me to compare them from a less subjective point of view.
In this case, ingredients that are closer to food (not ultra processed) and contain more of the initial nutrients are valued higher. Not just simply because they are closer to the original form, but because they will have a wide array of nutrients and chemicals including some that we might not know about (particularly important with vegetables and grains).
I also look at the origin of ingredients, preferentially being from the UK or the EU, because I believe that this are hold to higher standards; as well as, helping the local producer.
Closely related to the last point, I think nutrition is one of the most important (if not the most important) quality to judge. However, judging this is not as straightforward as you might think, because even if there are guidelines (NHS, European Food And Safety Agency or WHO); what perfect nutrition is remains unknown.
It is also mildly subjective, as some will prefer lower carbohydrate diets; while others will tend to fall in the high protein diet trend etc. I personally prefer high protein products, which might cause a mild bias in the list.
All things taken into consideration, I have evaluated the quality of ingredients, the nutrients in the meal replacements (fats, sugars, protein, carbs), their compositions, scientific knowledge about the benefits etc. when deciding which ones are “the best”.
Taste and Texture
Now, for many this might be the most important point when deciding which meal replacement to buy. However, the issue is that this area is incredibly subjective.
Have you ever been in a curry house? Trick question, the answer is yes. Think about what people order: some will go for Tikka Massala; the more adventurous will go for Madras or Vindaloo; and the sweet tooth will go for Korma.
Similarly, there are shakes of all different kinds of textures, consistencies and sweetness levels. I tend to prefer thick and gritty shakes; not overly sweet when possible. There might be a small bias towards this type of shakes.
Shipping and Availability
Let’s not lie to each other; we come to expect next day free delivery on almost all items on the internet (Amazon, what have you done to us!). Thus, speedy service and products being on stock continuously is an important feature for this online retailers.
Must say, that for the UK, European brands do best (at least before Brexit). This is were Huel might have a huge advantage.
For some, this will be the breaking point between one brand and another. We all remember when we were broke students. Every penny matter, every penny saved was another pint in a night out.
Thus, I have put value to those offering cheap meal replacements; most of the times.
Other Factors Also Taken into Consideration
Environmental friendliness is an area of great concern for the early adopters of complete foods, since they provide a way for minimal food waste. I have considered the effort the company puts towards making a smaller impact in food and general waste when ranking the products.
Convenience is another key factor. Here is where RTDs shine over the Powders, but even between powders there are different formats, such as individual bags, big tubs or one day pouches.
Customer experience is mayhaps an area that I have undervalued. All these companies have great customer support, but certain brands shine more than others when making shopping more enjoyable.
Before You Buy
Whether this is your first time buying meal replacements or you are simply trying something new; there are few key factors to consider before you purchase.
- Vegan or not vegan? This is usually one of the main differentiating factors between the different shakes.
- What is your budget? As I have shown above, there are multiple price tags starting from £1/meal to over £5. Price is not always synonym of quality either.
- Thickness and texture of the shake. The wrong brand/product might be almost undrinkable. Think carefully about your preferences and take them into account when buying.
- What sort of nutrition are you looking for? What are the allergens on the shake? Low carb, high protein, keto… there are products for every type of user. Also, different foods will use different ingredients (soy, oat, milk, peanuts…); therefore make sure you check the allergens!
- Look for taster versions or starter packs! They are usually the best way to start with a brand (e.g. Queal).
After taking all into consideration, you are now ready! Do not be scared of trying new meal replacements out; there is a product for you out there!
No, there is plenty more brands that deliver to the UK. These are just our top picks that we believe will suit your needs best. For more, check our best of pages or browse the list of brands that deliver to the UK.
Meal replacements are the perfect solution to replace those troublesome moments of the day where you have limited options. They are ideal food, with all the nutrients that you need, including healthy fats, plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates; together with vitamins and minerals. For more in the topic, check our guides section.
Most manufacturers do not recommend doing so, since there might be nutrients in food that we have not discovered yet vital for a healthy lifestyle. However, many people live in diets close to 100% and do fine. Furthermore, there are some brands like Huel, which have done studies of them consuming only Huel for a month and prove no health issues.
Most people prefer to replace breakfast or lunch, since they have more time at dinner to cook. However, almost every meal replacement will be suitable for any occasion, unless it contains caffeine.
Most of the brands mentioned above are from the UK or the EU. Usually, the delivery will be between 2-5 days; but some brands like Huel might offer next day delivery. Check individual reviews for more info.
I think that it is a great time to be a complete food consumer in the UK. There are a lot of brands out there, besides the above mentioned, that deserve a chance (Jake, Vitaline, Satistlent, Runtime). These brands often have starter kits, which allow you to test all their different products.
The same way you do not always eat curry, and sometimes you order Chinese or a Domino’s because it is Tuesday (or 3 am and you are hungry); I encourage you to try out different things.
With all said and done, I hope that you found this list of the best meal replacement shakes in the UK useful. However, make sure to comment if you did not or you have any suggestions.
5. More in: latestfuels.com/resources. A compilation with different governmental guidelines and references.
6. Ultimate Meal Replacement List. List with all the brands that deliver to the UK.