In June 2015 Huel was launched, which was shortly followed by a couple of formula tweaks and Huel v1.2 was successfully sold for over 9 months. Always innovating, we felt there were changes we could make to further improve Huel. In August 2016 we launched v2.0 and in November 2016 we launched v2.1; you can read the changes here and here respectively. Now we have Huel v2.2 with a few new important changes, although the main ingredients remain unchanged: Huel is primarily oats, pea protein, flaxseeds, brown rice protein, MCT from coconut and sunflower powder.
1) Removal of carrageenan and an improved texture
Some customers were unhappy with the use of carrageenan as one of the thickeners in Huel. Through extensive trials, we’ve managed to avoid the need to use carrageenan by adjusting the ratios of xanthan and guar gum and just using these two. The result is, we feel, an even more improved texture.
2) Now using natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate as our additional vitamin E source
Some of the vitamin E in Huel comes from the main ingredients and we’ve topped this up using additional vitamin E. Huel aims to incorporate as many natural ingredients as possible, so we’ve changed from DL-alpha tocopherol acetate to natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate. Moreover, D-alpha-tocopherol acetate is the most bioavailable form of alpha-tocopherol, meaning it’s better absorbed and utilised than other forms(1,2).
3) Changed to retinol acetate for vitamin A
Previously we used retinol palmitate as our source of vitamin A which is derived from palm oil. Our suppliers couldn't be sure that the palm oil was from sustainable sources, so instead we have switched to using retinol acetate, an alternative form that continues to provide optimal levels of vitamin A. Even though only a tiny amount of retinol palmitate was used we felt it the right thing to do; as they say, every little helps.
4) Increased level of vitamin B12
Studies have indicated that an intake of vitamin B12 higher than that of the EU Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) may be beneficial long term as it’s involved in helping to prevent cognitive degeneration with age and reducing symptoms of depression in the elderly(3,4,5,6,7).
We have increased the amount of vitamin B12 in Huel v2.2 to 4μg per 2,000 calories (160% of the NRV) which provides plenty to cover essential requirements as well as to help prevent the loss of age-related cognitive function. As there is no upper limit for B12 intake, if you’re consuming large amounts of Huel you won’t be taking too much vitamin B12.
5) Increase the amount of vitamin D
We’ve increased the amount of vitamin D in Huel v2.2 to 20μg per 2,000 calories (400% of the NRV) and double the recommendation in the 2016 Public Health England report(8). There’s been considerable media attention on vitamin D in 2016-17 following the advice for foods to be fortified with more vitamin D and for us to consume more to help reduce the risk of colds and winter ‘flu’(9,10).
6) Changed source of additional calcium
About two-thirds of the calcium in Huel is provided by the main ingredients and in previous versions of Huel, the type of additional calcium we added to meet desired levels was tricalcium phosphate. In Huel v2.2 we originally changed this to calcium citrate as it was shown to have an improved bioavailability. However, this was later found to affect the consistency of Huel, so we later changed the source of additional calcium to calcium carbonate which also has a good bioavailability(12).
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