Huel adverts that claimed shakes would help save money on food bills banned for being ‘misleading’

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Huel adverts that claimed the meal replacement shakes save money amid the cost of living crisis have been banned by an advertising watchdog for being ‘misleading’.

Huel adverts that suggested the meal replacement shakes could save people money on their food bills amid the cost of living crisis have been banned for being “misleading”. One advert, on Facebook, claimed “Huel helps keep money in your pockets” as a month’s supply of the product costs £50, while a second ad on the company’s website said the shakes could “help save money on food”.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) argued that Huel did not show its products were cheaper than traditional food. The watchdog, which has pulled the ads, said it took its advertising responsibilities “seriously”.

An ASA spokesperson added: “The ads were seen at a time of worsening financial crisis, during which increasing energy and food costs, as well as rising inflation, were having a significant impact on people in the UK.”

Huel was founded by entrepreneurs Julian Hearn and James Collier who named the product by combining the words “human” and “fuel”. The company claims when mixed with water, its powders provide “complete nutrition” and are a healthy alternative to traditional meals that help you “lose, gain or maintain weight”.

But the ASA ruled that Huel didn’t make it clear enough that while a month’s supply of the shakes cost £50, this was based on having just one meal replacement per day. That means that to get the recommended amount of calories for a day, an average woman would have to eat five portions of Huel which would cost £350, while an average man would need to eat more.

Huel was founded by entrepreneurs Julian Hearn and James Collier who named the product by combining the words “human” and “fuel”. The company claims when mixed with water, its powders provide “complete nutrition” and are a healthy alternative to traditional meals that help you “lose, gain or maintain weight”.Huel was founded by entrepreneurs Julian Hearn and James Collier who named the product by combining the words “human” and “fuel”. The company claims when mixed with water, its powders provide “complete nutrition” and are a healthy alternative to traditional meals that help you “lose, gain or maintain weight”.
Huel was founded by entrepreneurs Julian Hearn and James Collier who named the product by combining the words “human” and “fuel”. The company claims when mixed with water, its powders provide “complete nutrition” and are a healthy alternative to traditional meals that help you “lose, gain or maintain weight”. | Pranav - stock.adobe.com

In a separate ruling, the ASA said that Huel had not backed up that the shakes were a “healthy option”. Huel has said that it did not believe the advert were misleading, and “regretted any confusion that may have been perceived” by the adverts.

The company said  it had never claimed its shakes could replace all of a person’s meals and that the £50 claim was made on the basis of having 34 Huel meals per month, which would cost £1.51 per meal. This was mentioned in the advert, but in text at the bottom of the ad, which the ASA found “unclear”.

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