Huel vs Soylent: Which company makes the best meal replacements?

Huel and Soylent offer nutritious drinks, bars, powders, and more. Which brand is right for you in 2022?

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Last updated: Jul 8th, 2022
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In this Review

Overall winner: 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
Huel vs Soylent

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.

Overall winner: Huel

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. Take $15 off your first order today.

How we evaluated Huel and Soylent

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.

Nutrition

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.

Cost

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.

What are Huel and Soylent?

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.

The battle at a glance

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:

Huel vs Soylent for taste and texture

Winner: Soylent

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.

Flavor comparisons

Among their ready-to-drink meals, Huel offers two more flavor options than Soylent. Here's a look at how their flavor lists compare:

Soylent

  • Original
  • Creamy chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Banana
  • Mint chocolate
  • Cafe mocha
  • Cafe chai
  • Strawberry

Huel has some similarly straightforward flavors, but they also offer some more complex options.

Huel

  • Unflavored and unsweetened
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Banana
  • Cookies & cream
  • Cinnamon roll
  • Salted caramel
  • Coffee caramel
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Peanut butter

Who has the best prices, Soylent or Huel?

Winner: Soylent

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.

Discount programs

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.

Nutrition: Huel vs Soylent

Winner: Huel

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

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.

Protein

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.

Allergens

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.

Huel vs Soylent for protein supplementation

Winner: 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.

Huel vs Soylent for convenience

Winner: Huel

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.

Logistics

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.

Huel vs Soylent for apparel

Winner: Huel

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

Meal replacement FAQ

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

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.