Approximately two billion people worldwide experience micronutrient deficiencies, and this staggering statistic can be attributed to the lack of accessibility surrounding healthy food for many families. That's where the European vegan shake brand Huel seeks to help by offering an extensive selection of affordable plant-based options that have recently caught the attention of Idris Elba. The acclaimed actor –– known for The Wire, Luther, and more –– just invested in Heul alongside his wife Sabrina jas well as activewear brand TALA's CEO Gracy Beverley and TV personality Jonathan Ross.

Elba's investment helped the vegan shake brand raise $24 million in a recent Series B funding round. Now, Huel's total value has reached over $560 million in eight years. Founded by Julian Hearn and James Collier, Huel aims to provide a nutrient-rich drink that minimizes waste and environmental impact while providing affordable food for consumers worldwide, hence the name Huel –– a compound of "human" and "fuel."

“I’ve been a ‘Hueligan’ (a Huel fan) 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,” Elba said in a statement. “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.”

Vegan Shakes Designed With Sustainability in Mind

Huel's product selection started with a low-carbon protein powder that debuted across the United Kingdom in 2017. Now, the brand offers a wide selection of snack bars, hot lunch options, and ready-to-drink shakes. The nutrient-centric brand launched its first products in the United States in 2019. Other than the United Kingdom, the brand's biggest markets are the U.S., Germany, and Japan.

“We are trying to change the way the world thinks about food and Huel offers a solution to help people make easy changes to their food choices,” James McMaster, Huel CEO, said in a statement.

Huel intends to use the funding from Elba and other investors to continue its international expansion with a direct focus on the U.S. retail sector. The company also revealed it plans to enhance its product line, making its nutritional foods even more planet-friendly. The company hopes that endorsement from these celebrities will help highlight the company's eco-friendly message and products.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to work with Idris and Sabrina to raise awareness of the role of food in climate change and to encourage individuals and the industry, in general, to move towards a food system based on sustainable nutrition,” McMaster said.

For more products like Huel, check out The Beet's top picks for Vegan Protein Shakes

Eating to Protect the Planet

Nearly 85 percent of the world is experiencing the direct impact of climate change, an environmentally-motivated diet is becoming increasingly popular. The dangerous reality of climate change is motivating shoppers to look for sustainable foods with one survey claiming that 55 percent of consumers already shop with sustainability in mind. Research shows that adopting a plant-based diet could help reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 61 percent, significantly minimizing the harmful consequence of climate change.

Last April, the United Nations released the third installment of its critical IPCC report, claiming that world governments would need to enact three major steps to stop climate change: using less carbon-based energy, removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and eating plant-based.

Low-carbon food, such as Huel, can provide a sustainable solution to minimizing food insecurity as well. One recent study emphasized that ramping up meat production to fight food insecurity would likely have long-lasting negative implications for the planet and human health, whereas plant-based food production would provide nutritious and sustainable alternatives.

For more planetary happenings, visit The Beet's Environmental News articles. 

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