Huel Ready to Drink Review – The Huel shake for the masses

 

Huel Ready-to-drink (RTD) is the long awaited product from Huel. RTDs have become trendy throughout 2018. We have seen the rise of Saturo; plus, many other big brands like Jake or Jimmyjoy have released their own ready to drink shakes.

 
As Huel is the market leader and favourite brand of many, expectations were set really high. Plus, everything Huel does is always carefully thought and meticulous. Thus, people were hoping to see the best RTD meal replacement from Huel.
 
In this Huel Ready to Drink review, I will try to explain why this is a good product, but not an excellent one. A product design to appeal the masses, and not so much the hardcore Huelers.

Huel Ready-to-drink at a glance

Flavours: Vanilla and Berry.

Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Gluten-Free Oat Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Flaxseed, MCT Powder (from Coconut), Chicory Root Fiber, Natural Flavouring, Micronutrient Blend (Potassium Citrate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin C, Magnesium Phosphate, L-Choline Bitartrate, Vitamin E (as D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate), Niacin (as Niacinamine), Vitamin K2 (as MK-7), Vitamin A (as Retinol Acetate), Vitamin D2, Pantothenic Acid (as Calcium D-Pantothenate), Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin), Biotin, Selenium Yeast, Copper Gluconate, Zinc oxide, L-Methylfolate Calcium, Chromium Picolinate), Brown Rice Flour, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin, Thickeners: Gellan Gum, Sweetener: Sucralose, Flavouring.

Opinion

Overall feeling: A good product, but facing strong competition

I have an split opinion. In one side, I cannot forget the disappointment I got when I first glanced at the product. However, after more careful examination and time, Huel Ready to Drink has grown on me.

The main selling point for me is the fact that is a no soy vegan ready to drink product. Besides that, it feels very similar to many of the competitors, which offer RTDs at a lower price point and have more flavours available.

Nevertheless, as this is the first iteration, there is much hope for Huel Ready to Drink.

What I like

1. Commitment to recyclable plastic and improving with time. I am not a big fan of ready to drink products. Well, I have tried them, I understand how convenient they are, and how lazy they make you. However, they produce considerably more waste than the powder alternatives.

Thus, every little helps and the commitment to used recyclable plastic is praiseworth it. I hope that they keep their promise and increase the amount of recycled plastic to 65% per bottle in 2 years.

2. Texture and consistency of the product. The key to ready to drinks is the texture and consistency. Huel ready to drink is smooth, well blended and a pleasure to drink. Once started, it will be hard to go back to the normal shakes.

3. First vegan ready to drink without soy. There are multiple vegan RTDs in the market (Soylent, Saturo, Mana Drink, Plenny Drink…) but none of those is soy free. All because they use soy protein as protein source.

I like the change in pace by Huel, bringing pea protein to the mix. Paired with rice protein, it should give a better rounded amino acid profile.

What I dislike

1. Protein content is lower than the usual. 20g per 400kcal mean 100g of protein per day. While this might be a fair bit for most and above the recommendations, it is not the Huel trademark.

All Huel products have at least 25% of the energy coming from protein (up to 30%). That is one of the reasons why I like Huel. Huel RTD has only 20%.

While this is down to manufacturing issues, I hope that they can bring it up. For now, YFood remains as the king of protein in the RTD market.

2. 400kcal in 500ml is not very compact. Huel is more watery than many competitors (Plenny Drink 330ml for 400kcal). While this might be nutritionally benefitial (forcing you to drink more water), it means that transport of Huel RTD requires more space and more fuel.

3. Pricing, particularly in Europe. I talk about pricing more extensively down below, but at the highest price point, Huel RTD is almost 3 times more expensive in the EU and almost 2 times as expensive in the UK.

While bulk discounts and subscription discounts are available, the prices in Europe and the US are never as low some of the main competitors (Saturo and Soylent, respectively).

Of course there are reasons for which this is the case (regulations, taxes, logistic costs…), but it would be good to see a reduction in price.

Improvements

1.Polishing in the ingredients and nutritional output. This obviously will be part of the natural process. I hope that they keep polishing the formula to reach similar standards to the powder version.

2. Continue to reduce the plastic. Part of their statement was that they would keep increasing the recyclable plastic content of each bottle (up to 65%) within the next two years, as well as, incorporate 15% bio plastic.

Those are ambitious goals. I hope they work towards them and achieve them.

3. Look to reduce the cost. This is always what customers want but it is hard to achieve without compromising quality. Hopefully, with more warehouses and better logistic apparatus it will be doable in the future.

4. Integrate the RTD in a sample box or taster. I think one of the biggest things that is missing in Huel is the ability to be able to sample the different products. 12 bottles might be a big purchase, particularly when you need to choose a single flavour for those 12 bottles.

I think a starter kit, integrating a couple of bottles, with some Huel Powder, bars and granola would be very interesting.

Otherwise, we could also hope for a free sample with you standard delivery.

5. Sell Huel Ready to Drink in stores. While I do not talk about it much in this Huel Ready to drink review, this is the main goal behind this product. It is much easier to sell to retailers that can sell it in the stores, supermarkets,  gas stations… Plus, it is much more first time consumer friendly.

Nutritional breakdown

Macronutrients per serving (g)
  • Protein(g)
  • Carbs(g)
  • Fiber(g)
  • Fats(g)

% of Energy from each macronutrient
Carbs 38%
Prot 20%
Fats 42%
% of Recommended Intake per serving
  • RI based on 2,000kcal
  • RI based on 2,500kcal

Nutrition Overview

Energy

Each Huel RTD bottle comes with 400kcal (500ml) with most of the energy coming from fats 42%. In fact, this is above the recommended by the EU, UK and US governements; even WHO, with an upper boundry of 35%. However, this high fat profile is very common among the RTDs, including Soylent Drink, Saturo or Plenny Drink.

Consequently,the energy from carbohydrates is lower than the recommended, with only 35% (+3% from fiber) coming from carbs. This is 10 points lower than the lower end of the EFSA recommendations (45-65%).

Most curiously, “only” 20% of the energy comes from protein. I say only, since Huel products tend to have at least 25% of the energy sourced from protein; up to 30% in Huel Powder.

Protein Content on different Huel products

% energy from

Fats

Prot

Carbs

Powder

30

30

37+3

Bars

22

25

42+12

Granola

26

26

42+6

RTD

42

20

35+3

Carbs

Per serving:

  • Total carbs: 33.9g, 13% of RI.
  • Sugars: 4.3g, 4.8% of RI.
  • Fibers: 5.7g, 28.5% of RI.

The main source of carbohydrates are tapioca starch, gluten free oat powder and brown rice powder. All three are complex carbohydrates that are harder for the body to digest, thus they have lower inpact in blood glucose levels. In fact, the overall GI of Huel Ready to Drink is only 25, which is really low.

All three ingredients have been finely powdered in order to become soluble. Of these, brown rice flour and tapioca starch are new ingredients for Huel. To be more precise, brown rice is used for both, the bars and the powder, but as a protein source and sugar source.

Tapioca starch comes from the south american vegetable cassava and it is similar to corn starch. It acts as thickener as well as carbohydrate source.

Perhaps, it is worth noting what is not in Huel Ready to drink: maltodextrin or isomaltuose. A pair of carbohydrates very common in both powder (Next Level Meal, Plenny Shake) and RTDs (Jake Drink, Soylent, Saturo). It is because of this (partially), that the GI of Huel is so low.

Fats

Per serving:

  • Total fats: 18.6g, 26.6% of RI.
  • Saturated fats: 3.9g, 19.5% of RI.
  • Monounsaturated fats (MUFA): 6.6g. This is 14.8% of the calories per serving.
  • Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA): 7.2g. This is 16.2% of the calories per serving.
  • Omega-3 (ALA): 2.1g.
  • Omega-6: 4.0g.

Huel RTDs main fat sources are rapeseed oil, flaxseed and MCT powder (from coconut). Rapeseed oil is higher in mononusaturated fatty acids (mostly omega-9), than flaxseed which is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly omega-3 in form of alpha-linolenic acid). Lastly,  the MCT powder from coconut is high in saturated fatty acids.

MCTs are a nice addition.

In fact, the medium chain-triglycerides (MCT) from coconut are often seen as lower quality, since it is mostly lauric acid (C12:0). Lauric acid is the longest of all, and it does not behave as the other shorter chains, which are more rapidly consumed and might have beneficial cardiovascular effects.

However, James Collier (Huel Nutritionist) stated that most MCTs in Huel are caprylic acid (C8:0) and capric acid (C10:0). Less than 2% is lauric acid.

Despite the addition of MCTs, increasing the amount of saturated fats, the levels are below the upper boundaries. Regarding, MUFA and PUFA levels, the latter are a little higher than the acceptable macronutrient range set by WHO (6-11% of the energy).

Plenty of omega-3, as usual for Huel products.

Huel chooses to load their products with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, to counteract the lack of it in the western diet. While 2.1g of ALA might seem high, ALA conversion to EPA and DHA is really low (8-20% and 1-9%, respectively). The conversion rates can be dependant in many factors including:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the system.
  • Saturated fat intake.
  • Insulin levels.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Availability of enzymes and other components.

0.25g to 0.5g of combined DHA plus EPA is recommended. Thus, Huel RTD ensures you will have enough omega-3s with one or two servings!

Protein

Vegan and unique: pea with rice and NO SOY.

Up until now, all vegan RTDs (Saturo, Soylent, Feed.) contained soy as protein source. This is due to the effects in the texture and taste that other sources (pea, rice, lupin, oats…) tend to have.

However,  following the recipie from Huel Powder, Huel Ready to Drink uses pea protein (mainly) and brown rice flour as protein sources.

These two work very well in combination with each other, because they balance out the amino acid deficiencies of their counterparts. This is, pea protein is low in methionine (when compared to other protein sources), but rice has plenty.

Table comparing Huel RTD’s amino acid profile vs Huel Powder’s

Amino Acid (mg)

RTD (400kcal)

Powder (400kcal)

Tryptophan

222

359

Threonine

723

1127

Isoleucine

807

1269

Leucine

1661

2568

Lysine

729

1162

Methionine

515

780

Cysteine

346

565

Phenylalanine

1062

1661

Tyrosine

1036

1554

Valine

1076

1690

Histidine

453

1252

Arginine

1626

1986

Alanine

1126

1745

Aspartic acid****

1677

2642

Glutamic acid*****

3658

4365

Glycine

243

1356

Proline

957

1524

Serine

985

1527

Total Protein (g)

20

29.3

The amino acid profile of Huel RTD is very similar to Huel Powder’s, but about 63% of the content at the same amout of calories.

20g of protein is plenty, but not as much as your usual Huel

Thi is because the protein content is lower in Huel RTD; when comparing to the other Huel products:

% energy from

Serving

100g

400kcal

Powder

29.5

29.5

29.5

Bars

15.4

23.7

24.8

Granola

14.1

23.6

26.5

RTD

20

20

20

In total, you will get 100g of protein a day, which is above the recommended intake for adults not to suffer muscle loss. If you are a more active person, you should consume around 1.6g of protein per kg of bodyweight.

This might suit better those who have fairly sedentary lifestyles.

Micronutrients

Each Huel Ready to Drink bottle will give you at least 20% of all the vitamins and minerals that you require. The Huel RTD is particularly rich in vitamin D (100% per serving) and vitamin C (75% per serving), but this should be of no concern. Upper limits of these vitamins are considerably higher and whatever is not absorbed will be washed down.

Huel RTD vitamins and minerals
Huel RTD vitamins and minerals (based on UK formula).

The micronutrient blend is really similar to that of the powder and includes many of the optimal sources.

*Micronutrient Blend: Potassium Citrate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin C, Magnesium Phosphate, L-Choline Bitartrate, Vitamin E (as D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate), Niacin (as Niacinamide), Vitamin K2 (as MK-7), Vitamin A (as Retinol Acetate), Vitamin D2, Pantothenic Acid (as Calcium D-Pantothenate), Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin), Biotin, Selenium Yeast, Copper Gluconate, Zinc oxide, L-Methylfolate Calcium, Chromium Picolinate

Allergens

Huel ready to drink is gluten free, lactose free and vegan. Hence, it is free of most major allergens.

Huel Ready to Drink Testimonials

What are people saying about Huel Ready to Drink?

A lot of customers were concerned about the use of plastic early on:

By u/theandyguthrie:

I’m so disappointed in Huel. I was a customer from the start because I really believed this was a sustainable alternative to normal meals (vegan, minimal packaging). And now they want to generate and release massive amounts of plastic bottles onto the world, most of which won’t be recycled (and those that are will require a huge energy cost).

Another user added:

By u/emma180:

In a time when we should all be moving from plastic you are moving towards with statistics on veggies having less footprint (true) but the plastic for me negates that, I hear what Huel are saying that you want new converts and a new angle to reach new people but to me that’s just hollow feeling statement.
This feels more like greed and marketing/pr spin.

There was also some initial backlash regarding the price. Most people thought it was excessive.

By u/huelme

£5.83 for a bottle!!??

I was really looking forward to this but even at a 50% reduction, I wouldn’t be considering this. I’m a big fan but sorry Huel :frowning: I’m sure they are good but my wallet is not sustainable.

Or

By u/lloyd_af

I really want to use Huel RTD as it would obviously be easier. But the cost is too much for someone doing 100%. It would be around £288 a month compared to £158 for powder.

There were also queries about sample packs (since the minimum order is 24 bottles), to which the answer was negative.

Huel does not intend to offer any samples of the RTD or any other products, currently.

There were positive reactions as well, regarding:
  • Price not being so bad when compared to standard lunch options.

By u/smalljc

I’m all for this and have pre-order placed already.

I for one think price point is bang on per bottle and commend Huel for this. Just look at the price of a cup of coffee or bottle of water from your local shop both of which come with limited nutritional value!!

  • Desing of the bottles.

By u/raymondcal

Nevertheless, I should add that I really like the layout of front-label of these bottles. Yes yes yes.

Huel RTD bottle design
Clean design by Huel.
  • Convenience and making easier for people to start with Huel.

By u/ukaskew

The RTD end-game is surely to penetrate the mainstream, to end up as individual bottles on a shelf in your local Tesco (supermarket brand).

Huel RTD at work
A lot of users implied that they were looking forward to consume Huel RTD at work.

Also,

by u/jeffy89

They see this RTD bottle, it reminds them of a smoothie bottle —> it’s like a smoothie but nutritionally complete.

It’s a lot easier to fit it into the minds of people who aren’t already consuming it, such as people who buy smoothies in meal deals. I can definitely see this product reaching a much wider customer base, and hopefully we’ll be able to buy it off shelves in the near future!!

Huel at stores
Huel Ready to drink is already available at certain stores. More especifically Selfridges. No doubts more retailers are to follow.

Huel ready to drink vs

Huel Ready to drink is not the first of its kind. As discussed in another article about RTDs, there are up to 9 products available in EU and more companies are looking to create their own.

Huel, however, is not any other company, but a referent in the industry. Thus, every product they release it is hold to very high standards. Let’s see how it fares:

Huel RTD vs Huel Powder

Both are vegan meal replacement shakes produced by Huel. Let’s start by looking at the nutritional output.

Nutrition:

per serving Huel Powder
RTD
Energy (C/P/F) 40/30/30 38/20/42
Energy (kCal) 400 400
Fats (g) 13.1 18.6
Saturated (g) 2.3 3.9
of which MCT (g) 1.1 2.8
Monounsaturated (g) 2.7 6.8
Polyunsaturated (g) 7.4 7.1
Of which O3 (g)
3.2 2.1
Of which O6 (g)
3.1 4.0
Cholesterol (mg)
0.0 0.0
Carbs (g) 37.1 33.9
Sugars (g) 1.2 4.3
Fiber (g) 7.7 5.7
Protein (g) 29.5 20
Salt (g) 0.7 0.7

The biggest differences are the protein content being a third lower in the RTD and the fat content to be around 40% higher, when compared to the Powder.

Regarding fats, the RTD has more MCT fatty acids as well as considerably more monounsaturated fatty acids. Only omega-3 fatty acid quantities are lower in the RTD.

The RTD is also lower in carbohydrates and fiber. In fact, fiber levels are a little low.

Taste, texture and flavours available

The main differentiation between both products it will be the texture. The ready-to-drink will be silky smooth, whereas the powder is grittier. Particularly, when recently made.

This is due to the industrial blending process, which involves longer slow blending to achieve, honestly, a very satisfying texture and consistency.

Huel Powder is available in 6 flavours in EU (Vanilla, Unflavoured & Unsweetened, Original, Coffee, Berry, and Mint Chocolate) and 4 in the US (Vanilla, Unflavoured & Unsweetened, Original, and Chocolate); whereas the RTD is available in Berry and Vanilla in both regions.

Huel Ready to Drink is considerably more expensive

Prices of Huel products in US and EU
  US ($/400kcal) EU (€/400kcal)
Powder 1.89 1.54
RTD 4.5 4.4

In the UK both the Powder  (£1.29/400kcal) and the RTD (£3.08/400kcal) are cheaper.

So which one is the better; Huel RTD or Huel Powder?

Huel Powder has few strong points, that make it, in my opinion, the better product for daily use:

1- Price.

2- More protein and better balanced nutrition.

3- More ecological (less waste and less space needed). Also less transportation emissions.

4- More customizeable. You can easily change the flavour by adding cinnamon, peanut butter or a banana, for instance.

Huel RTD will, therefore, appeal to those who are looking for the ultimate convenience food and are not so worried about the extra cost. Plus, the bottle looks really cool.

I would also say that the RTD is a better long term, frequent consumption food than the bars. These are not very tasty, and nutritionally are inferior to the RTD.


Huel Ready to Drink vs Soylent

Soylent was the first company releasing a ready-to-drink product, which now has become the best selling and most widely available option in the US: Soylent Drink. They also have Soylent Cafe, the caffeinated version.

  Soylent Huel RTD
From USA UK
Ships to USA & UK EU & US
$/400kcal $$$ $$$
C/P/F 38/19/43 38/20/42
Allergen Soy  
kCal/meal 400 400
Serv/day 5 5
Suitable Vegan Vegan
Flavours 5 2
Products 3 4
Subscription 5% 10%

Label:

Price per 400kcal without subscription:

$– Below $1.5 $1.5 = €1.3 = £1.15

$$– $1.5 to $3 $3 = €2.6 = £2.3

$$$– $3 to $5 $5 = €4.3 = £3.85

$$$$– over $5

Nutrition

per serving Soylent Huel RTD
Energy (C/P/F) 38/31/31 38/20/42
Energy (kCal) 400 400
Fats (g) 21.0 19
Saturated (g) 2.0 4.0
Monounsaturated (g) 15 7.0
Polyunsaturated (g) 3.5 7.0
Trans fat (g) 0.0 0.0
Cholesterol (mg) 0.0 0.0
Carbs (g) 37.0 37.0
Sugars (g) 9.0 3.0
Fiber (g) 3.0 6.0
Protein (g) 20 20
Salt (g) 0.3 0.7

Looking at the data, they look pretty similar; fairly high in fats, medium protein and low carbohydrate content. However, there are some main differences:

  • Soylent has significantly more monounsaturated fatty acids, and less omega-3 and -6 (polyunsaturated) per bottle (not shown).
  • Huel RTD has more saturated fats, due to the inclusion of MCTs.
  • They have the same amount of carbohydrates, but Soylent has more sugar (isomaltulose) and significantly less fiber.
  • Soylent Drink’s GI is 44 (medium-low), while Huel Ready to Drink’s GI is 25.
Main Ingredients:
  Soylent Huel RTD
Fats Sunflower oil, canola oil Canola oil, flaxseed, MCT
Protein Soy protein isolate Pea protein, brown rice flour
Carbs Maltodextrin, Isomaltulose Tapioca starch, gluten free oat powder

While both are vegan shakes, they use very different ingredients.

I would consider Huel’s choice of protein than Soylents usually (pea+rice>soy), but the rice protein seems to be fairly low.

Soylent uses the fairly common maltodextrin plus isomaltulose, as opposed to tapioca starch (which GI is lower). Isomaltulose is the reason for which the sugars are apparenly higher in Soylent.

Pricing and availability: Each king of their own turf

Soylent is cheaper in the US than Huel and can be bought in stores

Truth is, each brand dominates their country of origin. Soylent is widely available in the US, not only online (Soylent.com and Amazon); but also offline, with 7-Eleven, Walmart, Costco or Target selling their products.

Soylent Drink costs $3.25/bottle and you can get a 5% subscription.

Huel is only available in the US through their store (Huel.com). The price per bottle is $4.5, but you can get a 10% subscription discount.

Get 10% off in your fist order! Use our link to get 10% off.

 
Huel is the cheapest in the UK and Soylent is not available in the rest of EU

Soylent is only selling in the UK via Amazon, and their shakes are not available in Europe. However, the price per bottle is £3.71, as opposed to Huel £3.08.

Pricing is slightly more expensive for the rest of  Europe for Huel, but you can purchase it without any issues.


Huel Ready to Drink vs Saturo

Saturo is an Austrian manufacturer that followed Soylent’s model in Europe and focused on soy based ready-to-drink meal replacements. They have currently added a powder version, but their start products are still the RTDs.

  Huel RTD
Saturo
From UK AUT
Ships to EU & US EU & US*
$/400kcal $$$ $$$
C/P/F 38/20/42 36/20/44
Allergen   Soy
kCal/meal 400 330-500
Serv/day 5 6-4
Suitable Vegan Vegan
Flavours 2 5
Products 4 3
Subscription 10% 10%

Label:

Price per 400kcal without subscription:

$– Below $1.5 $1.5 = €1.3 = £1.15

$$– $1.5 to $3 $3 = €2.6 = £2.3

$$$– $3 to $5 $5 = €4.3 = £3.85

$$$$– over $5

Saturo all products
Read more about Saturo!
Flavours available

Huel

  • Berry
  • Vanilla

Saturo

  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Strawberry
  • Original

Nutrition

per serving Huel RTD
Saturo
Energy (C/P/F) 38/20/42 35/20/44
Energy (kCal) 400 330
Fats (g) 19.0 16.0
Saturated (g) 4.0 2.0
Monounsaturated (g) 7.0 12.0
Polyunsaturated (g) 7.0 2.5
Trans fat (g) 0.0 0.0
Cholesterol (mg) 0.0 0.0
Carbs (g) 37.0 29.0
Sugars (g) 3.0 8.0
Fiber (g) 6.0 4.0
Protein (g) 20 16
Salt (g) 0.7 0.25

Note that the serving sizes are different, thus the numbers are smaller on Saturo’s side (they are not scaled to 400kcal).

  • However, Saturo is fattier than Huel. Even then, it has less omega-3 content.
  • Saturo shows high sugar content due to isomaltulose (a sugar that is slowly absorbed). The GI of Saturo is probably still below 50 but higher than Huel RTD.
  • Both have same protein content.
Main Ingredients:
  Saturo Huel RTD
Fats Sunflower oil, canola oil Canola oil, flaxseed, MCT
Protein Soy protein isolate Pea protein, brown rice flour
Carbs Maltodextrin, Isomaltulose Tapioca starch, gluten free oat powder

Saturo’s composition is very similar to Soylent’s even if the ingredient quantities might vary slightly. See comparison above to compare it with Huel.

Pricing and availability: Saturo reigns in EU

Saturo is cheaper (€2.39 vs €4.4 per 400kcal), has more flavours available, and it is available in all Europe. Perhaps, a case can be made that Huel is more readily available in the UK, but otherwise Saturo has a better offer.

In the US, Huel has the upperground, since they manufacture the product there and distribute it themselves. On the other hand, Saturo US ships the products from EU and uses Amazon to store and deliver.


Huel RTD vs Plenny Drink from Jimmyjoy

Plenny Drink is the RTD option of the best budget meal replacement brand, and one of the cheapest out there.

  Huel RTD
Plenny Drink
From UK NED
Ships to EU & US EU & US*
$/400kcal $$$ $$
C/P/F 38/20/42 54/23/33
Allergen   Soy, Gluten
kCal/meal 400 400
Serv/day 5 5
Suitable Vegan Vegan
Flavours 2 1
Products 4 4
Subscription 10% 15%

Label:

Price per 400kcal without subscription:

$– Below $1.5 $1.5 = €1.3 = £1.15

$$– $1.5 to $3 $3 = €2.6 = £2.3

$$$– $3 to $5 $5 = €4.3 = £3.85

$$$$– over $5

Plenny Drink Review

Flavours available

Huel

  • Berry
  • Vanilla

Plenny Drink

  • Vanilla

Nutrition: Huel is the superior quality product.

per serving Huel RTD
Plenny Drink
Energy (C/P/F) 38/20/42 54/13/33
Energy (kCal) 400 400
Fats (g) 19.0 14.4
Saturated (g) 4.0 1.0
Monounsaturated (g) 7.0
Polyunsaturated (g) 7.0
Trans fat (g) 0.0 0.0
Cholesterol (mg) 0.0 0.0
Carbs (g) 37.0 53.0
Sugars (g) 3.0 6.9
Fiber (g) 6.0 5.9
Protein (g) 20 12
Salt (g) 0.7 0.5

Clearly, both products differ more than the previous comparisons.

  • Plenny Drink is much higher in carbohydrates and substantially lower in protein and fat content.
  • Plenny Drink also has more sugars than Huel RTD.
  • Saturated fats are also lower in the Dutch product.
  • I consider that Plenny Drink has just the bare minimum protein content, Huel RTDs being more balanced.
Main Ingredients:
  Plenny Drink
Huel RTD
Fats Rapeseed oil Canola oil, flaxseed, MCT
Protein Soy protein concentrate Pea protein, brown rice flour
Carbs Maltodextrin Tapioca starch, gluten free oat powder

The main ingredient in Plenny Drink is maltodextrin, a high GI carbohydrate. There are some oats (3%) as well, plus some oat fiber. However, the higher carbohydrate content, plus maltodextrin, probably equate to medium high GI.

Pricing and availability: Plenny Drink is cheaper

Plenny Drink’s starting price is €2.5/400kcal in Europe and $3.25/400kcal in the US. In both cases, cheaper than Huel ready to drink. The subscription discount is also bigger, 15%.

Huel is still the better option in the UK, since delivery will be faster and the price can be fairly similar.

Other brands that you might be interested are:

  1. YFood. One of our favourites and a top choice for protein lovers.
  2. Feed. The French brand is one of the best options is France.
  3. Mana Drink. Fairly similar to Soylent and Saturo.

Huel Ready to Drink Extra Info

Huel Ready to Drink is available in both EU and US since December 28th 2018. Currently, they deliver 2 different flavours, Vanilla and Berry, in 500ml bottles that provide you with 400kcal.

Packaging:

Boxes of 12 bottles

Huel RTD comes in boxes of 12 bottles, and it will cost you about $54 or £37 or €53 without the subscription discount.

Huel RTD box
Huel RTD comes in boxes of 12.

There are no samples or opportunities of buying individual bottles, just yet.

25% recycled plastic bottles and 100% recyclable

The drink comes in 500ml plastic bottles, rather slim and long, unlike the wider less tall bottles that other competitors are using.

Huel RTD size

Huel is using a 25% recycled plastic bottled due to manufacturing restrictions. There is currently a shortage of recycled plastic, which makes it impossible to create 100% recycled bottles.

It is, however, 100% recyclable, including the lid. The plastic is PET.  They hope to increase the amount of recycled plastic to 65% in the next two years and include 15% bioplastic (bio-PET).

Reminder: The issue with plastic bottles

One of the main issues with RTDs is that they come in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are costly to produce, often not recycled,  populate the world oceans, and have a negative effect on fish according to The Guardian.

The amount of plastic produced and consumed it is on the rise; and it is threatening to become as big of an issue as climate change.

While this might be a topic to discuss another time, it is worth having a thought over it and considering Huel Powder as an alternative.

If you are interested in the topic, read Huel’s statement on the matter.

Pricing

I have mentioned multiple times over the article, Huel RTD at its base price is more expensive than most competitors, everywhere but in the UK. According to Huel, this is due to some sale taxes and logistic costs.

Bulk discount and 10% subscription discount available

There is a small discount for buying the product in bulk.

Huel RTD Price
Interesting that the bottle starts more expensive in the US, but becomes cheaper when comparing to EU.

Important! The reason for the different discounts and pricings are not random. There are complex calculations that go behind scenes to ensure a fair pricing (taxes, country laws, transportation costs…)

  • UK.   £222 -> £170 which is 23.5% off.
  • USA. $324-> $255 which is 21.3% off ($255 = £193.56).
  • EU.   €318 -> €262 which is 17.3% off (€262 = £227.23).

Remember you can get an additional 10% off in your fist order! You also get a free T-shirt in orders of 24 bottles or more.


A comparison of the price of Huel RTD with other brands that offer similar products.

  £/400kcal £/Day
Soylent Drink 3.33 16.65
Saturo 2.14 10.75
YFood 2.49 12.45
Plenny Drink 2.23 11.15
Mana Drink 2.30 12.5
Feed. 2.69 13.45
Feed. Organic 4.34 21.7
Trinkkost 4.74 23.7
Jake Drink 3.00 15.00
Huel RTD 3.08 15.40
Huel (powder) 1.61 8.05

Huel Ready to drink FAQ

1- Where is Huel RTD manufactured?

Huel Ready to drink is manufactured in the US for orders from USA and the UK.

For European orders, Huel uses a manufactory in Austria.

According to Huel staff, this is due transportation costs being lower this way, as well as more eco-friendly. There are supply and manufactoring limitations that make this the case, as well.

2- Where are the ingredients from?

Huel uses ingredients from all around the world to manufacture their products.

3- Why are the ingredients in Huel Ready to drink different to Huel Powder?

Many ingredients used in the powder are not suitable for liquid format due to solubility issues, long term storage, as well as, effects in the taste and consistency.

4- Can I live solely off Huel Ready to Drink?

Each bottle of Huel Ready to Drink provides you with 20% of your daily needs. It packs with all the necessary nutrients in order for you to live (based on a 2,000kcal diet).

However, both Huel and Latesfuels, we advise against 100% use. There might be nutrients that are yet to be discovered that might be essential, which might not be included.

Huel RTD is designed as a comodity drink.

5- Which one tastes better, Berry or Vanilla?

I have yet to try both, but I suspect I would prefer the vanilla version. However, both have received praise, the Vanilla being compared to vanilla cake batter.

Most people seem to enjoy the silkyness of both drinks when compared to the powder.

6- What is the shelf life of Huel Ready to Drink?

Currently it has a shelf life of 6 months, which is comparable to other similar products.

7- Does it need to be stored in the fridge?

No, it can be stored at room temperature. However, you might consider chilling it before consuming for a tastier experience.

8- What is Huel Ready to Drink’s GI?

The GI of Huel Ready to drink is 25.

Verdict

Huel Ready to Drink is finally out, and it is a good product. It has some unexpected features, such as, lower protein than usual for Huel (but still plenty); and some unique features, such as, being the first no-soy vegan ready to drink product. The price is a little high for my liking, and this product does not seem to be aimed to the hardcore enthusiast, but to beginners and casuals.

If you value convenience, are taken aback by the shakers and powders, and do not mind the price; Huel RTD is the product for you. If you are used to the standard Huel, I would only recommend Huel RTD for a rare treat or ocassion (e.g. travelling).

Check out other alternatives


Other Alternatives

There are many other interesting products out there. Starting with the full Huel line-up: Huel Powder (Gluten-free); Huel Bars and Huel Granola. If you like the idea of a convenient ready-to-drink product but Huel is too expensive for you, look at Saturo(EU) or Soylent (US) or Plenny Drink.

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2 Comments
  1. Ren says

    Thanks for the comprehensive review – it’s certainly improved my view of the product, and likelihood to buy!
    I’ve cross posted this to my blog [OPLETE.co], where I’ve previously compared Huel’s RTD to other vegan EU alternatives in this post [https://oplete.co/nutritionally-complete-rtds-compared/], and each Huel foods (briefly) with each other by price [https://oplete.co/huel-foods-comparison/] and nutrition [https://oplete.co/comparing-nutrition-profiles-of-huel-foods/].

    A few comments –
    * Huel have promised single add-ons to orders in the near future [https://oplete.co/huel-will-soon-let-you-add-samples-onto-your-normal-order/] (e.g. try out a bottle when you’re ordering other foods).
    * As hidden in the image caption, Huel recently launched the RTD in Selfridge’s (£4.50 each) [https://oplete.co/huel-rtd-hits-londons-shelves/], but only in London, UK. No response to my enquiries if they’ll soon be available in other Selfridge locations or stores.

    A few questions –
    * How does RTD taste compared to the same flavour shake?
    * Have you been in my kitchen? We have exactly the same tiling hahaha
    * Do you think the RTD has the best nutritional profile, compared to others?

    1. Enaut Irazabalbeitia says

      You seem to be everywhere, Ren. Glad to have you here.

      Q1) The RTD can be more pleasant to drink mainly because of the texture. The vanilla flavour is also stronger. It is more like a milkshake, while the Powder it feels more like a homemade mix of oats with vanilla extract (more neutral).
      Q2) Perhaps…
      Q3) No. I much prefer the powder, and the higher protein content (subjective). I am also not a big fan of so many fats (which seems to be almost a requirement for any RTD). Fats are good, but remember that most organizations put the recommended daily below 30% of the total energy (Huel RTD has 42). I’m not saying that higher fat diets are not doable, though. Huel RTD does also have more sugars and less fiber, which it is not the best. Huel Powder also has a 1/1 omega-3/6 ratio which is consider ideal. Perhaps, the one thing I like about the RTD more is the MUFA content being slightly higher.

      Regarding the rest of the comments, the samples are just a natural process. In fact, I am surprised that they didn’t offer them from the get-go, particularly to the subscribers (something like get one for free). Seems like a good marketing strat.

      The fact that they are already in retail is not surprised for me. They have been on talks with different chains for a while, and I suspect the only reason why they are not in any yet is because the powder is not that appealing (reasons here). Hence, I suspect Huel was very motivated to release this product. It is something I wanted to cover in more detail, but I do not think I did.

      As for the comparisons, I have compared them here and all RTDs in other articles, but I see you have done a good job in an in-depth coverage.

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