Huels ready-to-drink product

Huel's ready-to-drink product

Functional food business Huel is entering the retail channel for the first time, having agreed a deal with UK 'big four' supermarket Sainsbury's.

The grocer will list Huel's ready-to-drink complete meal in a bottle as part of its Future Brands range, which promotes "disruptor" brands.

Huel's product will roll out into 500 Sainsbury's stores in the near future.

Until now, Huel, which launched in 2015, has sold its products - powders, bars and drinks - directly to the consumer. Products are shipped from warehouses in Europe and the US based on orders on the company's website.

But speaking to just-food in August, CEO James McMaster said the company was considering dipping its toe into retail waters.

Now that has come to fruition and McMaster said: "Part of Huel's mission is to provide nutritionally convenient food so it is only fitting that we explore retail opportunities as we continue to grow. 

"We're thrilled to be partnering with Sainsbury's as we launch into retail. The Future Brands range establishes the supermarket's mission to respond to consumer preferences with unique and innovative offerings and we're excited to be part of this initiative."

Huel ready-to-drink product is said to be a nutritionally complete meal in a bottle. Each bottle contains a "balanced macro-nutrient split" of protein, carbohydrates, fibre and fats needed on a daily basis plus at least 100% of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals based on a 2,000 kcal intake per day.

Last year Huel turned over close to GBP50m (US$62.1m) and the company talks about year-on-year customer growth of more than 150%.

The brand has sold more than 50 million meals since its launch.