It's tipped as the new future of food. But what does powder for lunch taste like?
When this big ol' bag of powder landed on our desks, we weren't quite sure what we were seeing. This is a food website. Is this supposed to be food? Short answer: yes. It is supposed to be not just food, but all the food you will ever need to eat in the form of a "nutritionally complete powdered food."
We've already told you all about Soylent, but this kid on the block promises to revolutionise the way we eat. Craftily named Huel (that's 'human fuel', gerrit?) it promises to the the answer to all your prayers – if you're someone who finds knives and forks and restaurants and chewing a real drag.
"We live increasingly busy lives" promises the slightly eerie promo video, but now Huel is here to save you from the drudgery of putting things in pots and pans, when "it takes just two minutes to prepare".
But perhaps there is light in the darkness of this dystopian future? No more orange spag bol smile! No more salad dressing explosions. Plus, it's no great secret that all our gluttonous habits are essentially destroying the planet.
If all this doesn't make you feel like you are living in a terrifying sci-fi nightmare, then you're already one step ahead of the Homemade team, who were feeling pretty funny about it. So like all things we feel funny about, we decided to give it a try.
For something that is essentially powder dissolved in water there's been an awful lot of noise, albeit most of it on the Huel website. According to the package, it's, so this stuff has everything you'd need to nourish you in a day. Apart from joy, of course.
The website boasts that these powdered shakes are perfectly balanced to provide you with all the calories you need to function optimally (already sounds a bit robot-y, doesn't it?). As if you weren't salivating enough already, here's what your day in food would look like
Recommended number of calories needed daily by a human female adult: 2,000:
Breakfast (and mid-morning snack): Huel, 737 calories
Lunch (and afternoon snack): Huel, 737 calories
Dinner: Normal meal of approximately 737 calories
In the interests of serious science, we decided to give the team a good old glug of the stuff for lunch. Here's are some choice quotes from Homemade team.
- "Kind of like Maltesers or wet, oaty biscuits."
- "Vanilla. Overwhelming vanilla coming through."
- "Almost candy-floss sweet."
- "It reminds me of when my Nan used to make me way-too-strong Ovaltine."
- "A bit like eating a big, cold, wet, blended biscuit, but less fun."
- "Oaty. Lingering. Nightmarish."
- "Why in God's name would anyone do this? Modern life is the worst."
- "Wet. How could all your meals be this wet?"
Part-time vegan Iona is new to this whole shake business. Whilst she does need to find a way to stop herself consuming mountains of milk chocolate at 3pm, she's not convinced Huel is the way.
She says: "Blimey, this is quite terrible. Maybe Huel could be the future of food in a post-apocalyptic world. If you hear that the end of this planet is just around the corner, we would recommend buying vast quantities of Huel and water so that you’ll survive such a catastrophe. It is vegan so that's a possible plus, but naaah. I think for now I'll stick with this large piece of chocolate cake."
Resident muscle man Jamie is fairly serious about exercise, being an aspiring cross-fit champ. Regularly blitzing up protein shakes in the Homemade office, he's not afraid to swap out a few carbs if it buys him tickets to his gun show.
He says: "I think it tastes pretty good, actually. I'm quite a sporty kind of person and I'm doing a couple of protein shakes a day, so getting calories in without cooking is ideal. This is also surprisingly filling and tastes like my normal shakes – I wouldn't fancy it for every meal."
End result? If you're a fitness fan who prefers to drink your meals (because buying, cooking and eating food is just too much of a palaver), then this could be for you. At Homemade, as true fans of old-fashioned cooking and chewing our food, we weren't massive fans.