Runtime is a brand focused on providing meals to gamers and eSport enthusiast. Next Level Meal is their powder meal replacement designed to enhance performance and provide a balance nutrition. Now, Runtime also offers the same incredible taste, but in a more convenient format: Liquid Meal. A chocolate ready to drink meal with 20g of protein! This is my Liquid Meal review, a product that I had high hopes for, but unfortunately felt short. Let’s see why.
Liquid Meal Review
Runtime’s Liquid Meal has a very similar recipe to what I consider the best RTD, YFood Chocolate; thus my expectations were very high for this review. Despite having a great consistency and nice texture, the flavour just was not there. On top of that it has 21g of sugar, but what I noticed was not the sweetness. It was something else, a flavour that put me off.
Therefore, while the recipe looks OK, and 20g of protein per 3300kcal is fantastic for an RTD; I think there is room for improvement.
What I like
1. Tons of great quality protein. Milk and whey protein are some of the best protein sources you can get. 36g of it will help you with your fitness goals and overall health.
2. 2nd non-vegan RTD. While I do not have anything against the vegan options, it is great to see milk based options, too.
3. Texture and consistency are top notch. Milky and silky; the Liquid Meal is a pleasure to drink.
4. Balanced and easy to drink. For people who struggle to eat healthy, this can be a very good alternative. No need to cook or even prepare anything. Just open the lid and enjoy a full meal.
5. Vanilla is a great addition. The newest flavour is the best out of the two. Not overly sweet or artificial, it’s a very easy shake to drink and enjoy.
What I dislike
1. There’s something off with the chocolate. I love to try the different chocolate RTDs, in the task of finding the holy grail. I thought Liquid Meal could be it, but unfortunately it has an undefined flavour that threw me off.
2. 21g of sugar per serving. I know that the biggest part is isomaltulose and lactose; but that is a significant amount of sugar. I wouldn’t drink more than one a day.
3. Only two flavours. One of the strongest points of their powder is the variety of flavours. Looking forward to see if they can bring that to the RTDs!
4. Price. This is not the cheapest RTD you can buy. Even with the subscription discount it’s a little expensive. On top of that, the prices have increased due to the smaller size of the bottle.
5. 330kcal per bottle. With the new rebrand Runtime has changed the Liquid meal bottles from 500kcal to 330kcal. I wish they have kept the bigger option available.
1. More flavours. Next Level Meal (the powder) Coconut is one of my favourite, together with Original. Thus, I am excited to see more flavours!
2. More affordable pricing and bring back the 500ml bottles.
Liquid Meal Taste Test
As previously mentioned, my main issue with the product is the taste. Not that it is awful; quite the opposite, it is pretty good. But that it has a taste to it that confuses me.
Liquid Meal Chocolate Review
While the overall flavour resembles a very milky chocolate shake, it is but it has a somewhat bitter taste. It keeps you drinking the shake, but it does not leave you with the most agreeable aftertaste. I should give them the benefit of the doubt, since it could be something to do with this specific batch.
On the other hand the texture is great; silky and smooth, so no complaints in that regard. I felt quite bloated after drinking the whole bottle, so it does a really good job at filling you up.
Liquid Meal Vanilla Review
This is was the positive note. Despite the fact that I tend to like chocolate flavoured drinks better, I would say I like Liquid Meal Vanilla better. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but a pretty milky shake. In fact, it’s not as strong or sweet as I would’ve expected. However, this makes it really easy to drink and leaves you with a nice aftertaste.
I would say it is a 7 out of 10. Good base layer, but there’s room for improvement.
Liquid Meal Nutrition
% of Energy from Each Macronutrient
The most “shocking” feature is that more than half of the carbohydrates in Liquid Meal are sugars. These are mostly isomaltulose (a low GI sugar) and lactose; but still there is 36% of your RI intake per serving.
Even if the GI might not be as high as you would expect, sugars are too high. Particularly in the case of sedentary people -gamers-; and from a carbohydrate standpoint it almost looks like a pre-/post-workout drink.
It’s also sad to see that there’s very little fibre. While this is quite common for RTDs, I hope they can add some more in the future.
For me this is the highlight of Liquid Meal. 20g of protein from milk. The benefits of milk protein are countless; but it particularly shines due to its composition of fast- and slow- absorption protein.
Whey and casein are complementary protein sources, even though, whey might be better for muscle growth when consumed straight after exercise.
|High in leucine||Yes||No|
|High in glutamine||No||Yes|
|Duration of elevated blood amino acids||Short||Long|
Adapted from Precisionnutrition.
Runtime also adds extra branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), including L-Leucine, to boost your performance even further.
What Does This Mean For You, Gamer?
While the BCAAs might be a little over the top, or unnecessary for most; it just means that you will be supplied with 50% of the protein that you require. Unless you have any fitness goals, in which case, it is still a great boost.
The primary fat sources are milk and sunflower oil. It is due to milk that each serving has 4.1g of saturated fats, which is on the high end. Sunflower oil mostly provides you with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
My main concern when I look at the fats is the lack of any omega-3 source. They are essential fatty acids, often lacking in the Western diet, and necessary for the body to function properly.
Furthermore, omega-3s are primordial for brain health and repair; thus a must for all gamers to keep maximum focus and cognitive function at all times.
The only allergen found in Runtime Liquid Meal is milk.
Liquid Meal vs
I’ve talked about the features of Liquid Meal; what I liked and I haven’t. However, how does it compare to other RTD products in the market?
Liquid Meal vs YFood
Both are German brands that offer a very similar RTD when you look at the nutritional label; a milk based high protein complete meal. In fact, I would not be surprised if they were produced in the same factory.
Liquid Meal: Chocolate, Vanilla.
YFood: Chocolate, Vanilla, Berry, Coffee, Coconut and Banana.
|per 400 (expensive)||3.63||2.80|
|per 400 (cheapest)||3.27||2.34|
It is only fair to compare Chocolate with Chocolate. Needlessly to say that if you are not a fan of this flavour, and usually go for Vanilla or Berries you will do better buying YFood.
As for the chocolate flavour, in my opinion YFood tastes better. In fact, it is my top rated RTD for now. In my experience it had more sweetness and a slightly stronger chocolate favour, that make it the winner.
What Should I Buy?
8 out of 10 times I would go for YFood. Very similar nutritional profile, slightly better taste and pricing. If you are already buying from Runtime, then I would give Liquid Meal a chance.
Liquid Meal vs Mana
Mana or Mana Drink is one of the oldest Central European brands. They have a big focus on RTD products and produce one of the most popular drinks.
Liquid Meal: Chocolate, Vanilla.
Mana: Choco(Cacao), Original (Neutral-Vanilla).
|per 400 (expensive)||3.63||3.84|
|per 400 (cheapest)||3.27||3.54|
Mana Origin is cheaper than Choco.
The best Mana flavour is Origin in my opinion. This is arguably better than Liquid Meal Chocolate, but I think it is 60/40 to Mana.
If we compare the chocolate flavours, Liquid Meal has a more pleasant and stronger taste; and it is the clear winner.
Another thing to notice is that Liquid Meal has a better texture in my opinion.
What Should I Buy?
If you are vegan, you will have to go for Mana and if you are allergic to soy for Liquid Meal. That aside, I enjoy the different flavours Mana brings, but I think Liquid Meal tastes better than all of them, except Origin.
Liquid Meal vs Huel Ready To Drink
Huel is the biggest complete food manufacturer and has some of the best meal replacement shakes, especially when looking at nutrition. However, Runtime often has the better flavours. Huel Ready to Drink is the last addition, and one that I was positively impressed by.
Liquid Meal: Chocolate, Vanilla.
Huel RTD: Chocolate, Vanilla & Berry.
|per 400 (expensive)||3.18||4.42|
|per 400 (cheapest)||2.66||3.29|
|per 400 (expensive)||2.86||3.08|
|per 400 (cheapest)||2.39||2.13|
|per 400 (expensive)||4.03||4.13|
|per 400 (cheapest)||3.62||3.19|
I think that both are fairly close. Huel RTD chocolate is a little weird and not a superb shake; but Liquid Meal Chocolate is not the best either. Both Vanilla shakes, on the other hand, are quite enjoyable, and probably the flavour I would choose.
I would say it’s a tie.
What Should I Buy?
Huel RTD is vegan, thus obviously the choice if you want a dairy free shake. However, I like Liquid Meal’s protein content more; even though, overall Huel RTD’s nutrition might be better.
Despite that I do find Liquid Meal to be a good Huel alternative to drink them around workouts or if for you price is an important factor.
- Liquid Meal vs Saturo. Saturo has more flavours, better pricing and most taste really good. They are also soy based and vegan; but contain less protein than Liquid Meal. Saturo for the flavours.
- Liquid Meal vs Feed. RTD. Feed.’s RTDs where overly sweet, particularly Vanilla and Berries. The chocolate was OK, but I still think Liquid Meal tasted better. The prices are more competitive, too. Liquid Meal for the win.
Liquid Meal FAQ
No, Liquid Meal contains milk, therefore it is not vegan.
Yes, with 330kcal per serving you will get at least 15% of all the nutrients you need in a daily basis, including vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, you will not win more games just drinking Liquid Meal, but at least you will ensure your body has the nutrients that it needs.
I wouldn’t recommend it due to the high saturated and fat content. Liquid Meal is better as part of a balanced diet.
Yes, Liquid Meal does not contain any gluten.
Overall, Liquid Meal is a very solid ready-to-drink meal replacement. I enjoyed the taste and the consistency; but I was let down by the Chocolate flavour. While this could be an issue with the batch, it was enough to make me think twice before buying again.
Besides, even though I love the high protein content, the high sugar and saturated content are a concern. Particularly for more sedentary people like gamers. Therefore, I do think that it has room for improvement in the nutritional aspect.
I don’t think this could be my daily shake; neither I believe to be the best food for gamers, sadly. However, the convenience factor of the RTD paired with the pleasant texture is enough to recommend you having some Liquid Meal at the back of the fridge. Personally, I recommend buying Vanilla.