As far as I am aware, all food replacement meal drinks (Soylent, Huel, ...) and protein shake brands come in sweet flavours. Typical flavors can be: chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, ... I was wondering why there are never savory tastes. It would be nice to drink something savory for lunch instead of half liter of "liquid cake" :) Savoury flavours that I can think of could be based from soups: "masala daal", "dill&cucumber", "gazpacho", ...

What's the reason behind all food replacement drinks having sweet flavours? Is it a functional reason or it's just because of taste?

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    Why questions in this context call for speculation on the motives of others, which would be imprecise at best. I can guess that it might be to attract buyers, but unless we happen to have the person at these companies to tell us 'why they did it' this question can not be satisfactorily answered. I can tell that, depending on your definition of 'drink' your question is based on a 'false premise' Medifast offers a variety of savory meal replacement 'soups', I'm not saying they are 'good' but they do exist. – Cos Callis Jul 17 '17 at 19:02
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    I suspect that sugar is an easy way to get the calories that they need to provide ... but it might also be worth looking to see if there are non-American brands, as culture would dramatically affect preferred flavors & acceptable levels of sweetness. – Joe Jul 17 '17 at 19:31
  • I agree with Cos Callis - this question is an invitation for post-hoc reasoning. People can come up with many ideas which sound plausible, but I am pretty sure that almost nobody of those who write them up or vote them up and down will have data on the actual reasons, making this question likely to create plausible-sounding misinformation. – rumtscho Jul 18 '17 at 8:46

About 10 years ago, a store I shop at regularly (North American style grocery chain) had some powdered high-protein low-fat meal replacement 'soups'. Their prices had been greatly reduced. They were approaching their best-before date in a few months and the store was clearing them out before they had to be tossed. So I bought them all.

There were two flavours - asparagus and leek, both in a creamy base. They were meant to be eaten the way a soup is but were thin enough that they could've been drank if a person wished.

I asked why they were so cheap and was told that people weren't interested in foods like that. It was the sweet meal replacement drinks already prepared that sold. Since what I bought was a powder and had to be mixed with hot water to properly disperse the powder to make a soup. It seemed the vast majority of people didn't want the 'bother' of mixing the soup. They wanted it ready to drink immediately. And most preferred a sweet drink rather than a savory soup.

Even though I regularly shop at Asian markets (even more than I frequent than large Western type supermarkets), I've never seen anything that's the equivalent of meal replacement drinks. I can't speak for what European stores carry but the concept of meal replacement drinks seems to be foreign to Asian cultures as far as I've seen.

These are two likely reasons (sweet taste and convenience) that savoury meal replacements haven't done well (in North America, at least). One other thing worth mentioning is most Asian cultures (outside of India which has a rich history of sweets) don't eat anywhere near the amount of sugary foods that people in North America do, although it's changing over among young people. Asians consider all the sugar unhealthy.

(I don't have references to back up my last comment but I've had many Asians mention that to me in conversations about food.)

  • My brain is just going into overdrive to work through the implications of this. Meal-replacement-drinks tend to imply people wanting to loose weight, the selection indicates the same people still wanting sugary stuff and not even being willing to mix some powder with hot water... mind-boggling to imagine what kind of daily eating habits this indicates... – Layna Oct 19 '17 at 7:50
  • Layna, it's not just people wishing to lose weight but sick or elderly people they're also meant for - those who'd have difficulty eating enough for sufficient nutrients. So in that context something with more calories is beneficial. The doctor for my elderly mother recommended them for her since she has little appetite. But in reading over the ingredient list, I'm rather horrified to see what's listed. Most of the protein comes from milk ingredients but it's also laden with refined carbohydrates and fats plus added vitamins. I'm guessing it's the vitamins that make it supposedly 'nutritious'. – Jude Oct 20 '17 at 10:07

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