we explore the market of meal replacements

Industry Focus: Meal Replacement

Day by day, we are getting busier. Too much work and lack of time for ourselves, some don’t even have time to enjoy a meal. Regardless, the solution is neither stopping work and devoting your valuable time to a proper nutritious meal, nor starving or eating unhealthy junk food. Some might say that financial success without good personal health is an utter waste of life. This is where the meal replacement industry plays an important role in each of our lives. So, can you see yourself working in this growing industry?

What are Meal Replacements?

According to CB Insights, meal replacement is considered quicker and more convenient than a conventional meal. Ready to drink shakes and powdered products are the current meal replacing products.

The History of Meal Replacement

Meal replacement is helpful in today’s world. However, the concept of meal replacement has a much longer history. The first ever meal replacing product was invented in the pre 19th century. Pemmican was the first product in the 19th century. Then in 1920’s people has produced meal replacing pills.  Then in 1960’s with the rise in space travel, people invented food which were suitable for consummation in space. Those were marketed as Tang and Space Food Sticks (Above data was extracted from Huel website). Likewise, up until today, companies have been producing new meal replacing products. This is a growing industry that will provide good job opportunities for graduates and job seekers.

Why is Meal Replacement Important for Food Tech?

Unlike other future food industries, the meal replacement industry holds a larger value. Other industry sectors such as food delivery and grocery delivery provide a good service by delivering our normal food to our doorsteps. Conversely, meal replacement companies consider natural nutrition. They also deliver to your doorsteps, but their products are much healthier than other orders such as pizza. Furthermore, it is more convenient and time saving than ordering groceries and preparing meals for yourself.

In other words, meal replacement holds a value in serving the world and ecosystem. There are many European countries that waste large quantities of food, while people in other countries starve to death. In contrast to our traditional meal habits, meal replacement products are produced in a way which give our daily nutrition in a matter of a shake or a bite. They provide all the nutrients we need and therefore food waste is minimal. Also, developing countries will have better meals. With our busy lives we don’t have much time to waste on cooking and dining in a traditional way. Meal replacement shakes and bars are the best solution for this, because wherever you go you can consume the required nutrients with less effort.

we answer why meal replacements are important for food tech

Expected Market Growth of the Meal Replacement Industry

As stated before, this industry has been continuously growing since the 19th century, and the future will show even more market growth. According to the Mordor Intelligence recent market research (March 2017), it is expected to reach market growth of up to $22.6 billion by 2022 at 6.9% CAGR.

The reason for this is that this time period is rich in factors that drive market growth. Some such factors are urbanization and busy lifestyles: consumers tend to buy food with improved convenience, and many people are looking to eat easily but healthily, within a small time frame.

Also, this research has shown North America is the largest market, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. However, the best players in the market (such as Soylent) ship worldwide. There are people from other countries who are willing to try meal replacing products. So, here’s an idea for you, the next potential worker in this industry, take this message to your new company. Play a part in expanding the meal replacement market by reaching customers worldwide.

Major Companies in the Meal Replacement Industry


In 2013, Soylent was founded by Matt Cauble, John Coogan, David Renteln, and Rob Rhinehart. The headquarters is located at Los Angeles, CA. According to compensation monitor Paysa, an average salary of a Soylent employee is $152k; whereas, minimum salary would be around $38k and maximum $486k. There are 11-50 employees working under Soylent. According to CB insights, Ambronite and Feed are the two competitors of the Soylent Company.


In 2013, Ambronite was founded by Simo Suoheimo, Mikko Ikola, and Arno Paula. Its headquarters is located at San Francisco, California, USA. The Europe office of Ambronite is located at Espoo. FIN. According to Crunchbase, currently there are 3 investors and up to 10 employees.


In 2014, Huel was founded by Julian Hearn. It is located in London. Currently, 10 employees are on the team. Salary for employees range from minimum £9k to maximum £35k.

Mosaic Nutrition

In 2015, Eduardo Altamirano founded the Mosaic Nutrition. It is located at Nashville, Tennessee, USA. There are currently 10 employees working with a competitive salary under the company. ALOHA is a company competitor.


In 2015, Ample was founded by Connor Young in San Francisco, California. There are 3 investors up to now and 10 employees working for the company. Ambronite, Huel and Soylent are the competitors of Ample. According to industry insights, average base salary of an Ample employee is $104k. Minimum salary is $33k, whereas the maximum salary is around $283k.

we introduce key players of the meal replacement market

Job Opportunities and the Skills Required by the Meal Replacing Industry

Meal replacement companies tend to have no more than 10 to 50 employees. This make the sector extremely competitive for job seekers. Most of these companies do not have shops, but only an online platform to sell their products.

Most food tech companies require a similar set of skills. Microsoft Office, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Javascript, Social Media, Css, User Experience, User Interface Design, Interaction Design, Ruby on Rails, Python, Html, Photoshop, and Product Development are the most wanted skills as an employee of one of the above companies. To obtain relevant skills you should enroll in a suitable education institute/ university. Most successful job seekers have a Bachelor’s degree. Some of them have Masters and even PhDs. Suitable education programs can be found with the help of the following resources:

Job Opportunities in the Meal Replacing Industry

Product developers, software engineers, directors, business administrator, graphic designers, and nutrition specialists are some of the job roles in the above companies. Another interesting job opportunity is to join them for a contract for 1 year to test new products. It is interesting because you get to live for a year only on the replaced meal product as the company instructs you. In return you earn a good payment.

Industry Activities and Tips to Become a Valuable Job Seeker

The major industry activities in meal replacement companies are to produce edible meal replacements with good nutrition. Producing edible bars, RID shakes, and prepared powdered drink mixes are the major activities which take place in this industry.

So, if you want to stand out think of new good ways of producing new products or how to develop the current products for better results. Also, expand the reach out of products to the worldwide customers.

Educational Institutes and Universities in Europe

  1. Wageningen University and Research (Netherlands)
  2. Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences (Poland)
  3. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (London, UK)
  4. University of Padova (Italy)
  5. Future London Academy (London,UK)
  6. IED (Italy)
  7. University of Westminster (England)
  8. Berlin International College (Germany)
  9. University of Greenwich (UK)
  10. Thomas More University (Berlin, Germany)

Are You In?

As many companies active in this industry have only limited number of employees you need to stand out if you want to get started in this area. With the right skill sets, you will have an interesting job waiting for you. So, do some more research on these companies and the required skills. Find out which universities or institutes will help you to better your skills. Keep an open mind and be alert on current trends. Good luck with job hunting!

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Theresa Kern

Ecosystem Basics, Foodtech