Huel raises £20m

| Thomas Sheils

Huel, a new “powdered food” manufacturer, has just released company filings indicating they have raised £20m in equity finance from Highland Europe. According to these filings, they have been valued at around £170m ($224m).  

Huel have garnered a lot of media interest, not all of it positive, for their attempts to disrupt the UK’s grocery industry. The company offers a similar B2C product to companies such as Graze, Gousto, and allplant, who operate a subscription-based meal delivery service. However, whereas these companies deliver the ingredients for a specific meal, or the meal in ready to cook form, Huel deliver packs of powdered food. This is consumed in a similar fashion to a protein shake.

The difference between Huel and protein powder is that Huel is designed to be a full meal replacement, containing all of your recommended daily nutrients, though it does also contain a very high protein content (nearly 150g over a day’s servings).

Is Huel the food of the future? Some may be put off by the prospect of eating powdered oats and peas for every meal, even if they’re flavoured. However, over 2016 the company generated £1m in profits. This is an impressive first start for the company that only incorporated in 2012. Their competitor with the most sales, Gousto, has burned through £16m so far without generating a profit, having raised nearly £80m in equity finance. Their latest valuation is lower than Huel’s, at £150m.

Clearly, Huel’s product has a lot of appeal. The company has pitched their meals as hassle-free, vegan (so arguably more sustainable and ethical), and nutritionally complete. They’ve combined this with a striking, well-worked brand. Taken together this is the perfect recipe for tapping into the millennial market, who are generally more conscious of their social and environmental impact. 

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