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Plant-based food brand Huel raises $24M at $560M valuation, adding Idris Elba to its list of backers

Huel funding
Image credits: Huel

London-based Huel, a plant-based food brand, has closed a $24 million funding round led by Highland Europe (that backed Red Sift and SoSafe), welcoming SAG-winning actor, musician, filmmaker and philanthropist and UN Goodwill Ambassador Idris Elba OBE to the team, alongside a star-studded line-up of new investors.

Idris Elba and his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, also a UN Goodwill Ambassador, are joined in the latest round by award-winning TV presenter, Jonathan Ross and sustainable activewear brand TALA’s CEO, Grace Beverley.

Global expansion plans

The latest round raised by Huel bolsters another strong year for the plant-based food brand. It values the company at $560 million and builds on the $260 million valuation it secured in 2018 with the previous funding round.

The new funding will be deployed to support global expansion with a particular focus on the US. The investment will also support new product innovation, and continued expansion into retail stores in addition to the core online channel.

Partnership with Idris and Sabrina

The investment will also fuel Huel’s mission to make a difference in the world. Idris and Sabrina Elba will partner with Huel to bolster the brand’s existing commitment to tackling poor nutrition and sustainable farming. They will work with Huel on their climate change initiative.

Huel meals fit within a diet aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and believes that raising awareness of our diets is one of the simplest and most effective actions people can take to tackle climate change. Huel will work with Idris and Sabrina to inspire and motivate people to raise awareness of the benefits of changing diets and supporting the environment, which is a vital component of food sustainability.

Idris Elba commented, “I’ve been a Hueligan for several years now, starting my journey while preparing for my role in Thor, so to come on board with Huel was an easy decision. I believe in their mission to deliver nutritionally complete food, sustainably. We have some exciting projects coming up and I look forward to spreading the message and raising awareness around healthy, low carbon food.”

Grace Beverley added, “My passion for fitness and sustainability goes hand-in-hand with Huel’s mission, making it an easy decision to come on board. I look forward to seeing their next stage of growth and development as we move into 2023.”

Commenting on the fundraising, James McMaster, CEO said, “Highland Europe has been a strong backer for our business in the last four years and we’re delighted about the extra support from Idris, Sabrina, Grace and Jonathan. Our investors have all expressed their belief for what we are trying to achieve at Huel – making nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food, with minimal impact on animals and the environment.”

Highland Europe added, “We partnered with Huel when it was just 3 years old and predominantly an online business in the UK. It has since expanded incredibly well across geographies, channels and products. We remain a committed partner and look forward to the next chapter in the journey”

Builds Hueligans worldwide!

Huel was founded by Julian Hearn and James Coolier in 2015 in London. Revenue for the year to the end of July 2022 was $170 million, a 40% year-on-year rise. Its growth was driven by new customer acquisition, product launches and expansion into retail stores.

The brand has sold over 270 million meals worldwide with 50% of sales now outside the UK, building an army of loyal ‘Hueligans’ across the globe

Plant-based food brand

Huel wants to offer consumers complete nutrition, which means that each Huel meal serves customers the perfect balance of protein, carbs, fibre, essential fats and phytonutrients alongside all 26 essential vitamins and minerals required on a daily basis. Moreover, the meals are vegan, lactose-free and soya-free.

Its products are available in its original powdered range and a Ready-to-drink format, a Hot & Savoury lunch option, on-the-go snack bars and a protein powder. All Huel products take less than 5 minutes to prepare and provide an innovative solution perfect for time-poor consumers.

Each Huel product has a 6 month+ shelf life which minimises food waste and offers multiple servings to reduce packaging waste. Huel’s carbon footprint has shown that its products are lower in carbon than most commonly eaten alternative food products.

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