Huel is at last in ready-mixed form; we've tasted Huel Ready-to-drink

Food replacement system popular with dieters, gym goers and the time-poor now way easier to prepare

Attractive young, slim people with Huel Ready-to-drink

Relax everyone, ready mixed Huel is here. Now you can get all your Huel nutrients with near zero effort, thanks to Huel Ready-to-drink. And your shaking arm will revert to the same size as your other arm.

Meal replacement lifestyle sensation Huel has been growing in popularity in recent years. However its consumers – and, more to the point, would-be consumers who might otherwise be tempted to try it – must get put off by the need to combine its powdered form with water and vigorously shake it.

Yes, it may give you a good arm workout, but it remains hard to remove lumps and it's just a lot of effort, frankly. Especially when you consider that Huel is aimed at time-poor people who are too busy running tech start-ups and hitting the gym for crossfit sessions to prepare and eat old-fashioned, outdated 'meals'.

Although Huel's manufacturers are at pains to tell you it's not a diet drink or protein powder, clearly many of its users are calorie-watching and/or work out more than average. It's obvious from Huel's marketing images, and from the people we know who drink Huel.

As such, they probably don't mind having to spoon powdered Huel into a shaker and then vigorously agitate it for a prolonged period; they're used to it from making protein powder shakes.

However, to appeal to a broader clientele, Huel needs to be ready-made. Look at forums and talk to users and you'll see people crying out for it. Well now Huel Ready-to-drink is here, in big 500ml bottles. And we've tried it.

Huel ready made: what does it taste like?

Huel in bottles is available in vanilla and 'berry' flavour

First up, a bit of shaking is actually required to 'wake' the drink (ie: combine its long and complex list of ingredients, which includes everything from pea protein to tapioca). 

Once we'd done that we ended up with Huel of a smoothness we've seldom achieved in the past, by manual means.

The taste and texture, however, were very familiar. The most diplomatic way you can describe Huel is that it is acceptably palatable. Nobody would ever describe it as delicious on a first tasting, but you can get through it and, ultimately, get used to it. The fact you can just keep this ready-made variety in the fridge, and drink it chilled, can only help.

The texture of the ready-mixed Huel is lump-free but it is thick enough to coat your teeth and mouth a bit, which is not a sensation most people greatly enjoy. The taste is what you'd expect a load of essentially savoury, quite bland, mis-matched vegan ingredients, mixed with artificial sweetener. 

Just check out some of these sample ingredients: Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Gluten-Free Oat Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Flaxseed, MCT Powder (from Coconut), Chicory Root Fibre. The list goes on, and it's all stuff that says 'healthy' rather than 'mm-mmm, yum yum'.

The vanilla flavour adds a note of cheap ice cream and the berry one has a kind of fruity bon bon quality to it, but those flavours are sitting on top of the vegetable, seed and nut taste of the main ingredients, rather than completely masking them.

Living the Huel life?

Some attractive, young, skinny people enjoying Huel, by a lift

So, okay, nobody is buying Huel for its taste, but the flavour is not so outright disgusting that it’ll put off those attracted by its health claims.

What people are buying Huel for is the way that it replaces entire meals with a bottle of nutritionally-balanced, acceptably palatable, vegan stuff. There are people who claim to live on nothing but Huel. 

Okay, we question how exciting their life must be, and we wouldn't want to use the toilet after them, but it can be done.

Looking at the nutrition info on the ready-made Huel bottle, and being overly literal about the idea of 'food replacement', you could in theory live on 5 bottles per day. That would give you your recommended daily intake of ALL major vitamins and minerals. 

Because of the way Huel prioritises certain nutrients, 5 bottles would in fact give you 100% of your recommended daily mineral requirements but, for instance, 500% of your recommended Vitamin D and 200% of recommended protein. 5 bottles would also equate to 2000 calories, which is the recommended daily amount for an 'average' woman, whatever that may mean.

Here at T3, we like cooking and eating food so we'd really rather not live solely on Huel, thanks very much. However, for replacing individual meals when in a hurry, there are clearly benefits to it, especially if you're struggling to eat enough of certain nutrients – and that includes vegans.

• Huel Ready-to-drink is available to pre-order now and on sale from December 28. It's £60.30 for 12 bottles

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."