Silicon Valley based Soylent will launch in the UK in September challenging Huel for dominance in the meal replacement industry.

In September 2018 Soylent announced the launch of its products in the UK. Soylent became the largest crowd-funded food project when it launched in the US in 2013, but has had to alter its recipes to comply with UK standards. The company could enjoy some success in this market as it is tapping into consumer trends and currently faces only one established competitor.

Meal replacement is a growing trend due to convenience

Soylent are using social media to go after time strapped millennials. Convenience is becoming a more popular trend as people are working more and longer hours.

The amount of overtime that the UK put in has hit a record high according to a study conducted by TotallyMoney.com. The study shows that 60% of British workers say that they don’t have a good work-life balance and only a third of respondents say that they typically leave work on time. The results chime with a recent analysis from the TUC showing that the number of employees working longer hours than contracted had grown by 15% between 2012 and 2017.

There is currently only one incumbent in the UK

The UK has had some meal replacement shakes previously, but these were primarily concerned with weight loss. Huel was launched in the UK in 2015, and so far there have been little in terms of challengers to the product. Soylent is already facing barriers to entry, as Huel has published comparisons of nutrition content and price comparisons. It does mean there is still ample opportunity to attract customers to the Soylent brand.

Meal replacement reduce waste and are vegan

Food and plastic waste are also a priority for consumers, with increased interest in reducing waste and recyclability. A survey commissioned by the MSL group in 2014 saw that globally 69% of millennials want businesses to better facilitate customers getting involved in social issues. Issues millennials are most concerned about included the environment, so any method to reduce waste will appeal to the demographic.

In addition to this, the bottles are also recyclable and the recipes are vegan which will further appeal to millennials.  According to the latest research by the Vegan Society, conducted in 2016, there are estimated to be around 540,000 vegans in Great Britain. It’s estimated that this is up from 150,000 in 2006, and will likely have increased since.

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