Spoiler alert: yes it is, by far, but that’s not without caveats, and let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
When I first found out about YFood my interest was instantly piqued. Not only was it the third European Complete Food I’d heard of that had opted for the Ready to Drink format, but it eschewed the usual reliance on soy in favour of… milk, and that’s relatively usual for Complete Foods.
Sure there’s Schmilk in the states (which is by all accounts fantastic) but over here in Europe milk is an unusual ingredient and I was curious to find out how YFood’s unique take would work. Is this food?
YFood sure think so (you can’t miss it on the packaging) and they’ve a steady aim on convenience, and convenience stores perhaps – because these bottles wouldn’t look out of place on shelves would they? Right now it’s online only though and they’re hoping to replace the skipped meals that crop up from time to time in our oh so busy lives – something much of the Complete Food space is taking aim at.
The convenience angle is an easier sell here than with powders; it’s Ready to Drink so there’s no messing about – just pop the lid, break the seal on the bottle and drink. The seal caught me out first time around. Honestly I don’t think it’s needed but it’s a great way to seal in the freshness and as we’ve seen with Soylent recently; it definitely has a place.
Nutrition comes in at 1kcal per ml so each 500ml bottle is a 500kcal meal and with 25% RDI’s; four bottles will see your average adult well fed with balanced nutrition. Macro’s are balanced quite nicely at 35% carbs, 40% fat and 25% protein with micro-nutrients also well covered. Vitamin B12 and Calcium are a little higher than other Complete Foods, but that’s to be expected with milk as the main ingredient
At €2.99 a bottle (€2.69 with a subscription) it’s certainly not the cheapest Complete Food, but it is one of the cheaper RTD’s and it obviously compares quite nicely to the ‘normal’ meals that it replaces. Delivery was quick, with my 72 bottles arriving in a swift three days from Germany and once I remembered about how much space that would take up, fitted quite nicely into my cupboards and fridge.
It’s interesting to see that they use the same bottles as Saturo but I can’t argue with the format and the labels look just great, it’s clear they’ve spent a lot of time getting the labels just right and it’s nice to see more brands stepping away from the ultra minimal design cues of big S Soylent’s original styling, but it’s what’s inside that counts here, right?
Flavours are Smooth Vanilla, Alpine Chocolate and oh my god Cold Brew Coffee. First opening the boxes after 9pm I left the cold brew for the morning; tried the vanilla first and was immediately blown away. There’s a definite sweetness to them and the milk really makes them taste a lot less like a meal and much more like, well, a milkshake. The texture is super smooth and very easy to drink and it went down very quickly. I immediately had to try the chocolate, broke the seal and gulped away – delicious again. Interesting though, considering I’d just necked 1000kcal in a couple of minutes I didn’t feel over filled either at the time or in the hours later before bed.
I woke feeling good though, threw a couple of bottles in my bag for the day and grabbed a bottle of cold brew coffee to drink during my commute to work.
Quick side note here; one of the main reasons I got into Complete Foods was skipped breakfasts, so a big triumph of mine has been morning shakes that staved off hunger and stopped me snacking on rubbish until lunch. YFood is really great here, obviously, because it’s pick up and go, but I did find myself snacking a little bit more than usual on the first few days with it. More on that in a minute. First another side note… I’m a massive coffee snob.
Where I haven’t ever gotten around to making time in the morning to eat something proper and get my day off to the right start, I have made the time, repeatedly, to get a proper cup of coffee together. Usually that’s grinding fresh beans and using a moka pot or an aeropress to get things just right. I’ll happily wax lyrical about roasting methods and (probably) how you’re brewing it wrong; and I’m particularly proud of my cold brew technique, which takes around 24 hours to complete. Because of this coffee flavours are an exciting prospect, a Cold Brew Complete Food, well, I was keen for something game changing.
So I open up the YFood and take a sip and immediately rename it ‘oh my god cold brew’. This flavour is outstanding, it’s a combo of coffee and milk and stands up next to the best cold brew offerings you can get in any store. I could drink this all day every day no problem.
So the flavours… wow. YFood is by far the nicest tasting Complete Food I’ve ever tried, but that comes at a price – sugar content. There’s 22g of sugar per bottle, compare that to Huel’s 1g and my first thought was concern about high GI and this being the one area YFood falls down and offers poor nutrition. After all, sugar is bad isn’t it?
It can be, but not always. Foods that are high in sugar do tend to be unhealthy but that’s usually down to a relatively poor sugar to fibre dietary ratio. See; simple sugars are rapidly absorbed from the digestive tract raising blood sugar levels quickly and causing the commonly felt sugar spikes. Fibre slows that absorption, spreads the rise over a longer amount of time and allows cell energy usage to keep up with energy intake. The result is no energy spike and little or none of the sugar being be converted to fat.
YFood contains 22g of sugar but also 6g of fibre and that balances things quite nicely – sugar spikes are nowhere to be seen and since it’s naturally occurring sugar rather than added, it’s not the nutritionally disaster you might’ve thought. In reality it’s about the same level as an apple.
Other notes; There’s the milk. Lactose free but obviously not vegan, and those bottles take up a ton of space that I’m not used to with powders. Not the end of the world though and, thankfully, they’re recyclable, something most Complete Food packaging isn’t. Then there’s the milk (again). There’s a lot of people looking for Complete Foods that are Soy free and when it comes to Ready to Drink, this is the definitely my first choice.