Soylent and Huel are two of the most popular meal replacement companies around. They each offer tasty, practical solutions for people who might be too busy to prepare healthy meals on a consistent basis. They’re also great ways to supplement your protein intake, especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
But with so many similarities between Soylent and Huel, which one should you choose? We’ve evaluated each company extensively, and we’ll pit them against one another here in several critical categories. Your choice may ultimately come down to personal preference, particularly if you decide to try both for yourself and come to your own conclusions. But our breakdown of taste, texture, nutrition, and more might help you decide where to start.
When all the dust settles, Huel emerges victorious. It’s our recommendation for most (but not all) people. There are certainly significant differences between the two companies, and some of Soylent’s characteristics should sway certain readers in their direction. While they fall behind Soylent on taste, Huel’s use of pea protein over soy, the variety of their offerings, and their total nutritional profile give them the winning edge. If you’re trying to decide which company you should try first, we think most people stand to see the best results from Huel.
- How we evaluated Huel and Soylent
- What are Huel and Soylent?
- The battle at a glance
- Huel vs Soylent for taste and texture
- Who has the best prices, Soylent or Huel?
- Nutrition: Huel vs Soylent
- Huel vs Soylent for protein supplementation
- Huel vs Soylent for convenience
- Huel vs Soylent for apparel
- Meal replacement FAQ
- Why you should trust us
Our evaluation criteria are designed for each new product, service, or practice that our testing team tries. We establish these criteria to give you the most information we can in a succinct and useful manner. Here are the criteria we used to evaluate Huel and Soylent.
Taste and texture
Evaluating the taste of each company’s products required our testing team to consume a lot of Soylent and Huel. Our original intention was to concentrate on flavor alone, but the actual mouthfeel and subsequent sense of fullness were noticeably different between the two companies. That led us to include texture in our findings, as Huel’s high fiber content results in a thicker drink.
For most people, the nutrition any meal replacement can provide is paramount. To compare Huel and Soylent’s nutrition profiles, we broke down each company’s ingredients and studied all of the available scientific literature that examines recommended dose efficacy, side effects, and more. We also considered things like calorie content and macronutrient balance in making our decision.
In evaluating the cost of Soylent and Huel meal replacement products, we broke prices down to the meal for as exacting a comparison as possible. We also took into account potential shipping charges and savings available through bundling or subscription platforms. We were glad to see that both companies offered a discount program for certain professions, but the programs aren’t quite created equally.
Customer service and convenience
Customer service and convenience encompass everything from the design of a website to the responsiveness and knowledge base of representatives our team reached by phone, chat, and email. Shipping logistics also fall into this category, as does the actual convenience of consuming, mixing, and transporting each company’s various products.
Soylent and Huel are nutrition companies with a focus on meal replacements. They each offer meal replacement drinks that come ready to consume in plastic bottles and powdered mixes you can use to make the drinks yourself.
People turn to Soylent and Huel when they find their lives have gotten too busy to allow for proper, consistent nutrition. Grabbing a bottle and chugging its contents is a lot easier — and often less expensive — than cooking a meal. And both companies provide nutrition that makes fast food alternatives seem ill-advised.
Both companies also offer nutritious snack bars, but Huel’s offerings expand more than Soylent’s from that point, veering into savory food territories that we’ll explore below.
Comparing Huel and soylent can get complicated considering the breadth of each company’s offering. Here’s a quick look at how they compare in critical categories:
Taste is ultimately a subjective measure of quality for meal replacement products. Still, we found it necessary to grapple with it when pitting Soylent against Huel. And we had enough testers on hand to ensure a majority consensus for our opinion, which is a big win for Soylent. Our testers almost unanimously preferred the taste and texture Soylent provided over Huel’s drinks. The big differences between the competitors come down to two factors: fiber and sweeteners.
Soylent has less fiber than Huel. From a nutritional standpoint, this is actually something that works against Soylent. But it allows their drink to be thinner and more enjoyable than Huel’s to consume. While Soylent is like a thin milkshake, Huel is more like a thick milkshake, which can feel like a chore to drink rather than a quick, convenient fill-up.
Almost all of Soylent’s products rely on allulose to provide the bulk of their sweetness. Several also contain sucralose but do so in negligible quantities. None of our testers could detect the sucralose in Soylent drinks. Huel does not use allulose, and their reliance on sucralose negatively impacts the flavor.
To be fair, Huel has better flavor options and more variety overall. But those flavors’ performances leave something to be desired.
Among their ready-to-drink meals, Huel offers two more flavor options than Soylent. Here’s a look at how their flavor lists compare:
- Creamy chocolate
- Mint chocolate
- Cafe mocha
- Cafe chai
Huel has some similarly straightforward flavors, but they also offer some more complex options.
- Unflavored and unsweetened
- Cookies & cream
- Cinnamon roll
- Salted caramel
- Coffee caramel
- Strawberry shortcake
- Peanut butter
Their subscription costs are harder to compare internally since different products get individualized discounts for subscribing, with a range running from 10-23%. Huel provides 10% savings on any subscription. Both companies offer discount programs for people in certain jobs like military personnel and medical professionals. Huel is the only one that lets you pair those discount programs with savings from a subscription.
However, Huel’s website has a minimum quantity purchase on most products. You have to buy two boxes of their snack bars if you want to check out, for example. Fortunately, they let you create custom bundles to circumvent these quantity requirements. But for anyone looking to try just a small amount of a single product, the up-front cost ends up being higher than it should be.
We’ve put together a simple chart to show you the best available prices per meal or bar from each company’s subscription savings plans, excluding products not carried by both companies.
|Powdered meal replacements||$1.57||$2.21|
Both Soylent and Huel offer discount programs for specific individuals. Those lists differ slightly, as does how either company lets you apply them. With Soylent, you can only apply their discount program to one-time purchases, whereas Huel allows you to combine the discount program with savings you get when you subscribe. That said, Huel’s list of eligible people is shorter.
|Active duty military||
From a nutrition standpoint, we found Huel to beat Soylent in nearly every way. They have a better macronutrient balance, a more comprehensive vitamin and mineral package, and a protein source that we strongly prefer over Soylent’s. Let’s take a look at each nutritional component to see why we choose Huel for nutrition.
Macronutrient balance is the ratio of carbs, fat, protein, and fiber in a given food. We found Soylent’s main line of drinks to be a little too fatty compared to Huel’s.
Each company’s protein sources are as important to us as their products’ protein content. Not only does Huel’s most protein-rich product have more than Soylent’s, but they use pea protein rather than soy protein. That can make a big difference for anyone with soy allergies, and pea protein offers a much more comprehensive amino acid profile than soy.
Vitamins and minerals
Soylent advertises the presence of 28 vitamins and minerals, but we consistently found their drinks to list 25-26 instead. Huel includes all 27 of their vitamin and minerals in each product, and their quantities are either on par with or greater than those found in Soylent.
Between Huel and Soylent, Huel has far fewer allergens. They rely on peas and oats as their main ingredient sources, whereas Soylent — as the name suggests — relies heavily on soy. That said, all of Soylent’s products are gluten-free, instead of just a few, as is the case with Huel.
If you’re looking to meal replacements as an opportunity to supplement your protein intake, you’ll find some outstanding options from either company. Comparing their ready-made drinks, we found Huel’s flavors vary in protein content between 20 and 22g. Conversely, all of Soylent’s flavors contain 20g of protein.
We also appreciate Huel’s use of pea protein over Soylent’s reliance on soy. Soy isn’t quite as bad as its most ardent naysayers suggest, but studies indicate an undeniable link between soy and estrogen. It’s also true that there are more people with soy allergies than with pea allergies, making Huel more accessible to the greater population.
One advantage Soylent has over Huel in this category is that they offer a ready-made high-protein drink that contains 30g of protein. That makes accessing a high-protein meal replacement a little easier than with Huel. But Huel’s Black Edition powder mixes easily enough with your preferred liquid and provides 40g of protein — 10g more than Soylent per serving.
While Soylent has a convenient protein drink that’s ready-made, as well as a pair of pre-mixed energy drinks, it was Huel’s customer service and variety that won us over in the convenience department.
One of the biggest aspects of Huel’s convenience that we found useful was their savory options. Several of our testers have encountered similar dried foods in the past that you combine with hot water to rehydrate. They’re a staple among modern campers. A common theme among them is extremely high sodium. Huel’s Hot & Savory meals don’t suffer from the same overabundance of salt. They still taste good, and the variety of options ensures that you’ll most likely find one you enjoy.
We also found that Huel’s live chat feature gave us the chance to have most of our questions answered in a timely fashion. There were a few instances where the representative lacked the needed information and had to email it to us later.
However, Huel’s purchase minimums take a big bite out of their convenience. Their ready-made drinks and flavor boost powders are the only products that don’t require you to buy multiple cases, bags, or boxes to qualify for checkout. That said, Huel’s bundling interface is excellent, and bundling both saves you money and nullifies the company’s purchase minimums.
Both Huel and Soylent offer free shipping on orders that meet a maximum amount. For Soylent, that amount is $25 in the continental U.S. For Huel, it’s $59. That’s a big difference, but when you consider that Huel has purchasing minimums that get you close to or over $59 with relative ease, that price point seems less daunting.
Our testers found that both companies got their shipments out quickly, and we received our orders from them in about five business days.
While most of what both companies create is intended to go inside your body, both Soylent and Huel sell clothing and other items designed for use outside your body. Soylent’s apparel falls under their “Merch” banner, a simple selection of T-shirts, a sweatshirt, and a hat, mostly in men’s sizes. They also sell a mixing bottle and a scoop for their powdered meals.
Huel’s approach to apparel is a little different. It’s true that their goods are technically merch and that many of them exist to forward the brand image. But Huel goes further by making all their Huelwear clothing out of recycled materials. They’re ethically made, animal-free, and guaranteed for five years. Huel is also establishing a system to let you recycle these items further when you no longer need them. And Huelwear offers a lot more than just male-oriented basics, including:
- Menswear: T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, knit hats, jeans, joggers
- Womenswear: T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, knit hats, leggings, jeans, joggers, sports bras
- Kidswear: T-shirts, sweatshirts, joggers, knit hats
Huel’s accessory lineup is also a lot more extensive than Soylents, including:
- Shaker bottles (two styles, two colors)
- Hot & Savory pot
- Enamel mug
- Stainless steel bottle
- Tote bag
Are meal replacement drinks healthy?
Meal replacement drinks are healthy alternatives to similarly convenient foods. Compared to heavily processed prepackaged meals or fast food, they provide a more balanced nutritional profile with plenty of vitamins and minerals from much cleaner sources. They aren’t necessarily healthier than a balanced meal cooked at home and full of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, but they’re still plenty healthy.
Can I use meal replacements every day?
As long as they aren’t your sole source of food, you can certainly enjoy one or two meal replacement products daily. They offer plenty of nutrition and calories to get you by, but there are still some potential deficiencies you’d have to worry about if they were all you consumed.
Insider Tip: If you find that you really love the taste of one or more products from either company and want to consume them for more than one meal per day, we recommend blending them with additional fruits and vegetables to maximize your nutrient and fiber intake.
What do meal replacement drinks taste like?
Meal replacement drinks are mostly sweet and come in a variety of flavors. They closely resemble milkshakes, often with even more specific flavors. Soylent’s drinks are a bit thinner than Huel’s thanks to Huel’s added fiber content. Soylent also uses allulose as a primary sweetener, which has a more naturally sweet taste than sucralose, which is Huel’s preferred sweetener.
Can I use meal replacements to lose weight?
Meal replacement drinks can be helpful tools for weight loss. They offer enough nutrients and calories to help you feel full and stay healthy while keeping your daily calorie count in check. If you start using them as snacks or as a part of a larger meal, you could see your calorie intake soar, which would have the opposite effect.
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We extensively test each health service or product we review. Our content provides you, our readers, with an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality and the latest medical evidence and health standards. We ask ourselves two simple questions: Would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job? Would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.