Huel: Shake firm's advertisements were banned for being deceptive

Huel goods

For being deceptive, advertisements for Huel meal replacement shakes that claimed they could reduce consumers' food expenses have been banned.

One Facebook advertisement stated that "Huel helps keep money in your pockets" as the rising cost of living crisis took hold.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority, Huel did not demonstrate that its products were less expensive than conventional foods.

The company, which has removed the advertisements, claimed that it took its obligations to advertise seriously.

Entrepreneurs Julian Hearn and James Collier created Huel, giving it its name by fusing "human" and "fuel.".

It states its powders can "help you lose, gain, or maintain weight" when combined with water and are a healthy alternative to traditional meals.

The business promotes its customers' use of the term "Hueligan" on social media through paid partnerships with fitness influencers.

The fitness brands Tala and Shreddy founder Grace Beverley, actor Idris Elba, and presenter Jonathan Ross all announced investments in the company in December.

In an advertisement for Huel that appeared on Facebook in August and September 2022, it was stated that Huel "helps keep money in your pockets" and that a month's supply costs less than £50.

Huel could allegedly help "save money on food," according to a second advertisement on the business' website.

Actor Idris Elba
Huel has funding from actor Idris Elba.

According to the ASA, "the ads were seen at a time when the financial crisis was getting worse, and people in the UK were being significantly impacted by rising inflation, rising energy and food prices.".

The watchdog determined that Huel failed to adequately explain that the £50 claim was predicated on consuming one meal replacement per day.

An average woman would need to consume five Huel portions to meet her daily calorie needs, according to the ASA.

An average man would have to eat more, and that would cost about £350 per month.

Separately, Huel asserted that it was a "healthy option" without providing any evidence, the watchdog claimed.

Huel claimed that while it did not think the advertisements were deceptive, it "regretted any confusion that may have been perceived by their ads.".

Additionally, it stated that the £50 claim was based on having 34 Huel meals per month at a cost of £1.15 per meal. Even so, the ASA found the way it was stated in the ad's bottom text to be unclear.

The company insisted that it never suggested Huel shakes should completely substitute for meals.

Separately, the charity Electrical Safety First has filed complaints with the ASA regarding ads for heating products that the organization claims are risky.

By claiming that the heaters could reduce energy costs, the advertisements aimed to entice consumers who were already feeling the pinch of the cost of living.

However, according to Electrical Safety First, heaters sold under the Keilini, HeatPal, and InstaHeat brands "posed a serious risk of electric shock, with mains plugs not meeting the necessary UK safety standards.".

Two of the heaters were reported to have plug pins that were easily broken, and the Keilini-branded heater was reported to not have a UK plug at all but rather an EU mains plug with an adaptor.

The lack of a fuse, it was claimed, made this inappropriate and posed a fire risk.

The charity's CEO, Lesley Rudd, criticized the sellers for being "callous" and pushing risky products they knew would be in demand from poor households during an energy crisis.

The BBC contacted the companies for comments.

A company also manages the "Instaheat UK" website, which sells patio heaters. This company claimed that it had no affiliation with the "Instaheat" portable heaters.

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