2 million meals – 40,000 customers – 50+ countries

Posted by Gulliver Waite on

The story of a food revolution


Humans and their ancestors have, for most of our history anyway, not had a consistent source of food. From our ape-like cousins homo habilis 2.5 million years ago, right through till the end of the Stone Age, when homo sapiens roamed around, we've had to consume only what we could find while on the move. Indeed, we were hunter-gatherers, hunting woolly mammoths on the plains of Northern Europe and Asia, and wild boar and Aurochs in the UK, while also foraging for berries, seeds and vegetables everywhere as well.

It wasn't until 10,000 years ago that we started changing how we sourced our food. Humans began what is commonly referred to as the “agricultural revolution”. In other words, we changed from being hunter-gathers and eating only what we could find, to domesticating animals, building farms and growing crops ourselves. Neolithic humans discovered they could also mill their food down into a powder for easier transportation and to increase the time the food would last for. With food now available from a reliant and constant source, the time spent finding food could be spent doing other things.

Primed with this information, humans have continued to farm, mill and powder food ever since for every section of society.

Our story

Roughly 10,000 years later, in the Western world especially, human society had changed dramatically and is not longer ruled by a nomadic culture. Our food habits are also non-recognisable from what we once had. Instead of eating only what we can find, we now eat what we want, when we want, with the only limiting factors being time and money. Obesity, convenience food and tasty but nutritionally limited diets are commonplace, with 64% of adults in the UK now being overweight or obese.

In 2012, this is something that Bodyhack, a former business of Julian Hearn's was attempting to combat. He was trying to create a programme to help people get the optimum nutrition to aid their physical performance, and he was on a diet plan that required him to stick to a strict meal and exercise regime. This involved a lot of preparation, having to carefully plan and prepare each meal to make sure that his body was getting exactly what it needed.

He saw great results from this programme, but it wasn’t possible without dedicating almost 100% of his day to it. When he spoke about it to his friends and relatives, they all came back saying one thing: “I don’t have the time to do that”. Julian thought there had to be an easier way.

That’s where the idea for Huel came from. A perfectly balanced and nutritionally complete meal that you can prepare in less than two minutes. 

What we’re all about

Huel saves you time, there’s no doubt about that, but we didn’t just make Huel for efficiency. At Huel, we’re also committed to:

Being supported by experts Huel was not just formulated by the renowned nutritionist James Collier BSc (Hons), RNutr. After taking part in a blind comparison of Huel and two other products, Rachel Clare BSc (Hons), Registered Dietitian, recognised how great Huel was and approved it.

    Being affordable Huel costs just £1.61 for a 500-calorie nutritionally complete meal. We also offer bulk and subscription discounts, meaning the cost starts at just £1.34 per meal.

    Zero food waste As you only use the Huel you need to consume, and it has a year-long shelf life, Huel produces zero food waste. Our packaging also produces very little waste too.

    High manufacturing standards all our facilities and equipment are held to the highest safety standards and regulations. For example, the Huel facility, on top of reaching all UK and EU safety requirements, is:

    • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) implemented
    • ISO 9001:2008 certified
    • Will be Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) certified by the end of September 2016

    Being ethical all Huel products are 100% vegan and sourced sustainably and ethically. We also donate a percentage of all our profits to our charity Vitamin Angels to help people in countries where children and mothers suffer from malnutrition.

    Being environmentally friendly being vegan and producing zero food waste means we have much less of an environmental impact on the planet than many other food products.

    These ideals seem to be resonating with people. In our first year alone, we sold over a 1,500,000 meals to over 30,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

    It’s not just about us, though

    We’re delighted with what Huel has become and how it has helped people. But we’re also delighted with the community that has grown around Huel.

    From busy mums to firemen, and tae kwon do champions to world-record holders, mountaineers and tired office workers, our customers are what really make Huel great.

    Our forum has become a bustling hub of people dedicated to helping and teaching each other. Whenever we’ve asked for feedback, our customers have responded passionately, meaning we’ve been able to implement lots of your great ideas.

    So to all the Huelers, thank you for helping make Huel what it is.

    Meet the team

    Julian Hearn Founder

    Julian Hearn is an internet entrepreneur, marketer and dad from Aylesbury, England. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a BA (Hons) in 1996 and then went on to work in online marketing for 11 years for the likes of Tesco.com, Starbucks and Waitrose. He started his first internet business in 2008 with an initial £1,500 investment, and, within 18 months, attracted over one million monthly visits and successfully sold the business within three years.

    Always passionate about sport and fitness, Julian’s next startup was Bodyhack, a health and fitness website. He acted as a human guinea pig for Bodyhack, obeyed a strict diet plan and exercised no more than three hours/week for three months. This experience proved that fitness was 80% diet and 20% exercise. But he found eating healthily took up a lot of time and felt guilty about all the animal protein he was consuming, so he looked for a better way...

    James Collier (BSc Hons, Registered Nutritionist) Co-founder

    James has over 25 years of experience working in nutrition and dietetics, including seven years as a Registered Dietitian in the NHS. Covering an array of clinical areas, he worked with people with a wide range of ailments and food intolerances.

    James graduated with an Honours Degree in Nutrition with Dietetics from the University of Surrey, England. He is a Registered Nutritionist and a member of The Nutrition Society and the Association for Nutrition in the UK. In 2003, he was nominated for the Re-Energise award of Nutrition Professional in recognition of the work he has done for nutrition on the Internet. James now specialises in providing advice for competitive bodybuilders, strongmen (including Terry Hollands, UK’s Strongest Man and eight times World’s Strongest Man finalist), boxers and mixed martial artists. He has lectured at universities and presents seminars across the world.

    Jen Finance and Operations Manager

    Jen joined the Huel team in May 2016. Jen's background in finance and operations, along with invaluable experience in division startups, has made her an ideal addition to the team. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and a 'can do' attitude that makes her a perfect fit here at Huel.

    Jen is also an avid animal lover, vegetarian for 13 years before becoming vegan eight years ago. Her main interests are CrossFit, walks in the countryside and spending time with her friends.

    Gulliver Customer Service

    Gulliver joined Huel in October 2015, and as one of a small team, Gulliver’s roles are hugely varied. His main day-to-day responsibilities lie in handling much of the customer service and the subscription services, which is why many of you will interact with him on the Huel forum and team@huel.com email.

    Before taking on his current role, Gulliver studied Journalism, graduating in 2015. His main interests involve football, Saxon history and wondering how someone with his name can travel so little.

    Tim Community and Social Media

    Tim has been at Huel since January 2016, armed with a degree in Nutrition and Sport and Exercise Science. He heads up the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as being solely responsible for ‘liking’, commenting on and stealing your great photos! Best suited to an outdoors environment, Tim generally spends his free time cooking and pursuing a range of physical activities, from running and weightlifting to outdoor pursuits at the weekend such as trekking and surfing.

    Stefan Country Manager, Germany

    Stefan started working on Huel’s entry into the German market in April 2016. His tasks involve anything essential, such as setting up the German website, dealing with external service providers, running the German social media communications and other aspects of digital marketing.

    He has been a Huel customer himself since January 2016. He loves the freedom and time using Huel for breakfast, lunch and/or snacks gives him to spend on other things in his life – e.g. having a super-relaxed regular meal in the evening.

    Apart from eating, his main interests involve the gym, football and various other sports, travelling, spending quality time with friends and family, and lately also educating himself on healthy dietary habits.

    His favourite TV series are South Park, 24 and How I Met Your Mother (yes, all a bit old school now). His favorite song for most of life’s situations is Wonderwall, although the entire list of preferred music is of course more comprehensive than that.

    Stefan studied Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (MSc) in Berlin and Warsaw as well as Asian Studies and Management – Chinese (BA) in Constance and Qingdao.

    Want to learn more?

    Need any more information about Huel? Be sure to email us at team@huel.com or visit our forum.


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