The Huel Guide to Eating Healthily (and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint at the Same Time)

We’ve all watched the news reports, seen the documentaries, and read the headlines that say climate change is only getting worse. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the way we eat is seriously damaging the planet (and it’s not exactly doing wonders for our bodies, either…) so we wanted to share some tips for healthy eating and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.

So what, exactly, is going wrong? Two things:

  • The food system is causing 26% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • At least 2 billion people worldwide are malnourished

    Food production is the largest cause of global environmental degradation, and with 21 of the top 34 causes of global deaths related to nutrition, it's clear that the factory-farmed food we're eating isn't just bad for the planet – it's not so good for us, either

    Luckily, we’re not here to dwell on what’s gone before – we’re here to talk about what we can do next.

    The Good News

    Given the connection between the food system and the demise of our environment (deforestation, global warming, biodiversity loss) we took a closer look at how we can help (we even put it all in a report that you can read here), but our main finding was that everyone – yes, everyone – can help reverse these trends with one simple choice:

    Changing the way you eat is the simplest and biggest impact you can have on the world and your body.

    Keeping climate change to a tolerable level is possible, eating for our health is achievable and lowering our carbon emissions can be simple. It all starts with changing the way we think about food. We’ve come up with a few simple solutions.

    The Huel Sustainable Nutrition Report

    What Can I Do?

    1. Eat More Plant-Based Meals

    Eating two plant-based meals a day cuts your food-related carbon emissions by 50%. That's massive.

    Given that it takes 100x more water to produce a pound of animal protein than a pound of grain protein – and that a plant-based diet cuts the use of land by up to 76% – introducing more plant-based meals into your diet is the single most important thing you can do to achieve a more nutritious diet and eat sustainably.

    2. Make Some Healthy Food Swaps

    Don’t worry, we’re not recommending everyone become a vegan overnight. Making simple adjustments to your regular diet can help you cut your carbon footprint and ensure you’re eating more of the good stuff, and less of the stuff likely to contribute towards heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancers, and more. A few examples of simple swaps you can make:

  • red meat for poultry, dairy and fish, or – even better! – plant-based protein sources (grains, beans, pulses etc.)
  • refined grains to wholegrains (e.g. switching white bread for brown bread)
  • sugary drinks to water and infused fruit waters

  • Top 10 plant-based milk alternatives

    3. Try Huel

    It’s clear that, for both our sake and the planet’s, we need to change the way we eat and move towards food that simultaneously meets our nutritional needs and supports environmental sustainability.

    Even we wouldn’t suggest that Huel becomes the only food we all eat, but try swapping it for your usual breakfast or lunch when pressed for time or when you would normally grab something unhealthy. Huel contains everything you need for your body to thrive, with minimal cost to the environment. Find out more about Huel here.

    Find your perfect Huel

    But it’s not all on you. We – as in ‘all of us’ – have a role to play in reducing our impact on the environment and changing the way we all think about food.

    Huel was created with sustainable nutrition at its core, but we wanted to see if we were living up to our mission. Our research has shown that Huel is a sustainable, low-carbon food, but also that there are still many opportunities to improve our performance and further reduce our impact.

    What We're Doing

    1. Reducing Our Footprint

    Research carried out in 2020 showed that Huel is low-carbon, high-nutrition food, but our mission is far from complete. By 2021 we want to:

  • have reduced the carbon footprint of our powder by 10%
  • use 100% renewable energy in Huel HQ
  • list the carbon footprint for all current products on our packaging/website

  • 2. Smart Packaging

    The plastic packaging we use is to protect Huel for longer and cut down on food waste. That said, there’s more we can do here as well. We have committed to:

  • Offering our products in multi-use packaging wherever possible
  • Ensuring all of our packaging is to be 100% recyclable by 2025
  • Ensuring each Huel Ready-to-Drink bottle contains 51% recycled content
         from 2021 onwards

  • 3. Sustainable Transportation

    Transportation is another area in which we have looked to reduce our environmental impact. We’ve worked hard to relocate our distribution centres to slash the ‘food miles’ of our products in the UK and Europe by 7.9 million kilometres, and in the US by 254 million kilometres. Not only is this better for the environment, but it means we can deliver your Huel much faster.

    4. Cutting Out Waste

    With its long shelf life and flexible serving sizes, Huel already goes some way to cutting down on food waste, but we’re working with Fareshare to take our food waste prevention to another level. Huel products that have not been sold in the UK and Europe and have less than three months before their best-before date are donated to charities and community groups such as school breakfast clubs, elderly lunch clubs, homeless shelters and community cafés.

    5. Talking More

    Even though sustainability is one of the core pillars of Huel, we haven’t been talking about it enough. Moving forward, we’ll be sharing what we know about sustainable nutrition and being more transparent around our sustainability initiatives. We hope that by sharing our approach, we can inspire people around the world to change the way they think about food.

    What's Next?

    If you’d like to learn more about the climate challenges we’re facing, sustainable nutrition, the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet, and what we’re doing at Huel to help curb climate change, please read our Sustainable Nutrition Report.

    Read the full report

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