Late in 2019 ‘something’ happened to the Huel Ready to Drink on sale in the UK. It wasn’t clear what, but reports started flowing into the Huel forums complaining about radical and negative changes in flavour, oh, and the addition of a new foil lid under the regular cap.
If you didn’t already know, up until December, Huel’s UK Ready to Drink was manufactured in the US and then moved to the UK by container ship before going on sale. Obvious environmental concerns aside, that only works so long as sales are predictable and if there’s an unexpected increase in demand there’s no slower method of replenishing stock short of bringing bottles over by horseback – and it looks like this was the problem.
Huel had ‘temporarily’ moved production of the UK RTD from the US to the EU to maintain stock levels. The recipe hadn’t changed. Production methods were largely similar. But as with anything; variations in location will always mean variations in end product.
For what it’s worth I had a few of the foil topped bottles and the taste wasn’t all that far off what I knew and already liked. To be honest if the bottles hadn’t had foil lids I probably wouldn’t have even noticed the difference.
Customers have been clamouring for the original variant though, for months, with some even cancelling RTD subscriptions until stock went back to normal.
Fast forward to this week, late April, and Tim has an update for us all…
So UK customers will no longer receive EU made bottles, but they also won’t receive US made either. Instead a new factory has been found, spooled up, and started production.
Assuming the factory is closer than the states that obviously makes sense to maintain stock levels around quickly changing customer demand. As noted though, different factories will always mean variations in taste and time will tell if the new version is as good or better than the original US made. Tim seems pretty confident and I can’t wait to try it, but I’m curious about where the new factory is because a major factor affecting my purchase of Huel’s RTD was the container shipping of a mostly water based product from the US to the UK. It just felt too needlessly environmentally problematic.
If the UK RTD is now UK made that is a big and very positive change.
It seems the new RTD is already arriving with customers and one forum user has already received the new bottles and liked them…