The most unlikeable brand: Huel 🥛

In February of this year Ali Abdaal released a podcast where he interviewed the founder of Huel, Julian Hearn. For those that don’t know, Huel is essentially a milkshake brand which packs its products with the nutrition you need, which makes it a substitute for lunch.

The interview definitely made me curios about Huel & its product. Whilst I was aware Huel existed, Julian Hearn comes across well in the interview & shows how passionate he is about the business. So whilst I’m about to slate Huel, I really do admire Julian Hearn.

At a glance here’s some things that stand out about Huel’s unique branding:

  • A Sans Serif font as their logo – which is about as minimal & as conservative a choice you could make for a typeface.
  • Black & white packaging.
  • A strong message of their drinks being a meal. Their website’s secondary title is literally “Complete Food”.

Based on this I always thought Huel would be very dull to consume, but listening to Julian I became curios.

However, I didn’t try it at the time as I didn’t want to bulk order their “ready-to-drink” bottles from their website as they work out to be £3.19 per bottle, which I thought was unreasonably high. Now that I’ve bought Huel’s chocolate shake (following it being available at my local Coop) I can confirm this to be true.

The milkshake was absolutely dire. It tasted bad, but not for any particular reason. Which – when you consider the price is much more than a homemade lunch – is very shocking.

Huel is ultimately a brand that looks to appeal to a specific individual; someone on the go who just needs substance to keep them hustling in their busy schedule. To anyone else Huel is puzzling.

Whilst the brand certainly has a place in the world, it paints this picture of a sad dystopia full of people who are so focused on their personal goals in life that they never take a moment to smell the flowers.

They wake up & immediately rush to their computer to start their day hustling. As they sit at a desk glaring at their screen time flies before their eyes, & suddenly they need some nutritional value to ensure they don’t pass out on their keyboard mid-sentence. They reach to their fridge which is conveniently within arms reach of their chair, grabbing one of the many Huel’s packed in its cold embrace. The drink barely touches their lips, tongue or mouth; launching down their throat & quickly providing enough energy to sustain another 3 hours of typing.

Riveting, right? This really is the dystopian reality Huel seems to exist in.

Having breakfast or lunch is (for many) 10 minutes of pleasure in an otherwise hectic day. Huel implies you don’t have time for this, & should instead drink something that just achieves some substance before you get back to grinding.

At £3.00 per bottle, it’s somewhat a lifestyle brand. However, the lifestyle it advertises is not an exciting one.

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