Until two weeks ago I had never heard of complete meal replacement shakes (only those designed to lose weight or the protein shakes for sports). I saw an advertisement from Jake which make me put in my first order. As I dove deeper into the world of meal replacement shakes I found the many brands that are active in this market. This led me to order a few of them (only shakes, no bottled drinks).
So, I ordered Jake, Bertrand, Plenny Shake (Jimmy Joy) and Queal (three of which are Dutch, interestingly enough). I also wanted to order Huel, but I had to buy at least two bags which consist of 28 meals, which is just impractical for testing purposes. I did not try Lently, because they had only one vegan flavor and the minimum order is 4 bags. I wanted to test only the Vegan flavors, as they are the most environment friendly and if you can get all nutrition vegan, why choose a non-vegan version? At least, that was my reasoning. It would also make for the best comparison, as Jake does not offer non-vegan shakes.
So... what were my experiences?
Plenny Shake (Jimmy Joy)
The first shakes I tried were from Jimmy Joy, the Plenny Shakes. I found these absolutely horrid. It was hard to get them down and the taste and texture is just not pleasant. As it was the first shake I tried, I thought it would be quite a challenge to continue using these shakes. I was afraid this may be the only way to make shakes with all necessary nutrition. I soon found out this was not the case.
After trying Plenny Shake I tried Jake. Which was a good step up from Plenny. The texture is much better and much more like a shake. The taste and experience is however a bit too oaty to my liking, but still a lot better to get down and much better to use. A downside, however, is that the meals only come in one-time use bags. Which means a lot of waste and less options to get more smaller meals out of one bag. Some see it as an advantage to Jake, but for me it wasn't. I did however like they offered a light version, which consists of just 500 calories per meal and 1500 a day.
After Jake I tried Bertrand, which is quite interesting. The main reason is the structure of the shake. There are small almond parts in the shake which makes you chew more instead of just drinking it. It is an interesting experience and the taste is quite natural. The baked apple flavor is quite good and different from the competitors. However, I prefer a more smooth experience and that is why Bertrand is not really for me. I did like the shakes being organic. But I could see some problems with that as certain ingredients are probably hard to get organic which could mean more transport and therefore not necessarily a environment friendly shake.
The last meal replacement I tried was Queal. And I was pleasanly surprised. As it had the perfect smooth structure and amazing taste. In my opinion it blew away all the experienced I had with the above mentioned brands. As I said before, I only tried the vegan shakes, which come in 'just' three flavores compared to the 'non-vegan' shakes from Queal. But these shakes were just so good! My favorite is Chocolate Hazelnut Happiness but I also like Banana Mania and Smooth Vanilla. It has the taste, the texture, it is filling and seems to be just perfect for me. I haven't tried Huel, Lently or any other competitiors (other than those listed above), but I think Queal is the one for me and arguably the best meal replacement. I just ordered 18 bags and subscribed.
The only thing I wonder about is if I will get all necessarily nutrition when using smaller portions. I use Queal for breakfast and lunch, but never the full 700 calories, I usually go for about 420 calories (3 scoops). As I use smaller portions, it would be nice if those smaller portions had all the necessarily nutrition. I usually eat a normal, not always too healthy, evening meal. Is that enough to get all necessary nutrition? Otherwise it might be nice to make a 'light' vegan version, preferably with 400 calorie portions that contain all necessary nutrition.
I am curious as to what the experiences of others are with meal replacements shakes. I assume most will like Queal on this forum, but do you also use other brands than Queal?