A Taste Test of Huel, a Plant-Based Meal Replacement Beverage

Image: Huel

Plants have been with us pretty much since the beginning of life on earth. Now, due to global food shortages and a desire on the part of many eaters to consume less animal protein, plants are becoming increasingly a part of our diet. Back in 2017, AppleEats’s Margaret Whitfield conducted a taste test of faux gras, a foie gras substitute. In 2018, we told you about White Castle’s “Impossible Slider,” so named because it is 100% meatless. Earlier this month, we informed readers about a new line of plant-based frozen delights now marketed by ice cream moguls Baskin-Robbins.

Now we’re back to report on the latest “plant” food. It is a nutrient-dense beverage made from plants that constitutes a meal in a glass. Huel contains all 13 essential vitamins, plus a wide array of minerals, making it the perfect meal whether consumed on-the-go, at home, in school, or at the office.

Available either in powder form with a 1-year shelf life or as a ready-to-drink beverage, Huel produces zero food waste and contains no lactose, no soy, and no GMO. It is also affordable, with a base price of $2.35 for a 400-calorie nutritionally complete meal. Bulk and subscription discounts can bring the cost down as low as $1.95 per meal.

So the big question: How does it taste? Although the company recently introduced a ready-to-drink chocolate version our panel of ten taste testers were provided with access only to the basic vanilla version of the drink, along with a half-dozen or so “flavor boost” packets, more on which presently.

The consensus was that vanilla Huel, which is best drunk chilled, has a mild flavor (panel members into weight training described it as tasting like a protein shake) and the texture of a smoothie.

Some panel members found the product lacking in sweetness, a condition that can be ameliorated through the addition of any of the ten aforementioned flavor boost packets (chocolate, strawberry, banana, caramel, and more).

Image: Huel

Huel is now the fastest growing meal replacement beverage worldwide, having sold over 50 million meals across 80 countries, so the company must be doing something right.

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