Newcomers like Soylent and Huel are taking big slices of the meal replacement market. So how does MyProtein's version stand up to the competition?
Photo credit: MyProtein
Modern entrepreneurs are pressed for time. Given their schedules are packed with both professional and personal obligations, many struggle to get a decent and healthy meal in. Understandably, several business owners are therefore turning to meal replacement solutions like Huel and Soylent. However, while these new players seemingly take most of the spotlight, a comparatively old player on the block is also angling for a piece of the market. But how does it compare? That was what I wanted to find out when deciding to try MyProtein’s Protein Meal Replacement Blend for a month.
MyProtein was founded in 2004 and with this meal replacement, the Cheshire-based company is taking a huge swing at the new kids on the block. And understandably so as the market for meal replacement drinks is extremely promising. For instance, 39% of consumers have swapped their regular breakfasts for slinging back nutritional and performance drinks instead, according to Mintel, the market intelligence agency. And I must say MyProtein’s drink is doing quite a good job at standing against the new upstarts.
The first thing I noticed when I began my trial was the taste. It’s very sweet and the texture is very smooth, especially compared to Huel’s earthy flavour and runny porridge-like consistency or Soylent’s ready-to-drink solution that I felt had a certain homemade popcorn flavour to it.
Having tried MyProtein’s Protein Meal Replacement Blend’s strawberry flavour, the closest thing I can compare it too is that strawberry flavoured milk you can find at your closest convenience store. While I certainly thought it was initially a bit too sweet for me, I barely registered the taste once I’d been drinking it for a few days.
During my trial, I replaced one to two meals a day with MyProtein’s Protein Meal Replacement Blend. This usually meant I had it for lunch or for breakfast and then had a piece of fruit or two between meals.
Nutrition-wise, each 100 gram shake was worth 392 calories. It consisted of 34 grams of carbohydrates, 34 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, eight grams of fibre and 1.8 grams of salt. Drinking it, you also get a boost of vitamin A, D, E, B6, B12, K and C as well as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium and a treasure trove of other nutrients. If you buy a month’s worth of the stuff, it would cost you about £1.48 per meal.
You can compare that with 100 grams of Huel’s powder meals, which corresponded to 400 calories. It consisted of 46.4 grams of carbohydrates, 36.9 grams of protein, 16.4 grams of fat, 9.6 grams of fibre and three grams of vitamins and minerals. The price per Huel meal is £1.45.
For Soylent’s new powder-based drink, 100 grams corresponded to 471 calories, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, 5.9 grams of fibre and a long list of minerals and vitamins similar to its competitors. Each meal would cost £2.40.
That’s all good for the heavy facts but how did it make me feel? Well, actually quite good. It definitely subdued any big hunger pangs in a quick and convenient way. Moreover, I was also impressed with the energy I still had. Given that I am training for an obstacle course race, I try to do ten or so workouts per week, meaning I often have two or more sessions per day. Drinking MyProtein’s Protein Meal Replacement Blend at lunch was often enough to keep me energised through these workouts.
The only time I felt a bit famished was when I tried to swap three meals with the stuff. Then I did feel easily irritable and sluggish. I wouldn’t recommend it.
So what’s my verdict? Well, it definitely did what it said on the tin – or, more accurately, the heavy plastic bag. I did feel, if not satisfied, then at least not hungry. The drinks also gave me enough energy to keep up with my training and my work. The convenience of just mixing a drink rather than venturing outside to get a meal deal or spend a few hours each Sunday doing food prep was definitely a huge plus.
The only downside, to me, was the taste, which I felt was a bit too sweet. But all in all, if you’re looking for a convenient way to get your nutrients in without leaving the office, then MyProtein’s Protein Meal Replacement Blend is definitely a good way to go.