It’s was early September that I heard Huel was quietly starting to appear on the shelves of a few big Sainsbury’s, with various stores appearing without flair or big announcement on an all new Huel store locator.
This was pretty exciting for me for a couple of reasons. For the main part; I just really like Huel and being able to grab a bottle when I’m out and about sounded great. But it also represents a huge step forward for both Huel as a brand and for Complete Foods in general because, similarly to Soylent in the States, it’s the move to physical retail that will really drive mainstream adoption of Complete Foods in the UK.
Format is also hugely important and whilst powders have absolutely dominated the early adoption and expansion of Complete Foods as a thing, your average person just doesn’t understand the concept of ‘powder as food’ outside of a diet or cleanse, but a bottle they can just pick up and drink? One that’s super nutritious? That’s a game changer I called back when the RTD first came out. Huel have gotten into shops far quicker than I expected them to though.
It’s almost certainly coming off the back of them hiring Sainsbury’s buying manager Daniel Plimmer in April. That appointment once again demonstrates how skilled Huel’s hiring process is and shows their laser focus on people that can take the brand forward – just compare the store locator from August with this one from September…
That’s a quick expansion in a sales environment that’s hugely competitive and offers little to no control over placement or positioning yet demands high levels of product processility. If it continues it’ll really shoot Huel to the moon and cement a UK dominance that’ll be hard to catch up with.
And if you’re wondering; contrary to my last article about Huel Ready To Drink, I have bought some… but I’ll write about that another time 😉