Dave has been drinking a shake for breakfast and lunch for the past year and a half and has never felt better before. He started eating Complete Foods because he wanted to eat a little better, a bit more conscious. Dave stayed because of the convenience and general feeling of well-being. On a day to day basis he isn't tracking calories, but feels he has lost a bit of weight.
Dave isn't alone in his eating habits. We estimate that at this moment more than 1 million people have tried Complete Foods. For the uninitiated, Complete Food is a mix of oats, soy, some source of protein and other staple foods to meet all nutritional requirements for an average adult. It can come as a pre-mixed drink (think milk, but better), a powder (to mix with water), or a nutritious food bar. It is vegetarian (sometimes vegan), low in sugar, and packed with vitamins and minerals.
This is the story of Dave, our average respondent, and the other 800 participants in the 2018 Complete Food Survey.
An initiative by Queal. With support from Blendrunner, EatComplete, GenesisFoods, Holfood, KetoChow, Latest Fuels, Lently, MealSquares, Next Level Meal, Repas en poudre,Satislent, Saturo, Shake2Day, Trinkkost, Vitaline, and Vitaminfood.
He uses Complete Foods for most of his breakfasts and lunches. Less often, but still quite some times it is also his dinner. Some of Dave's friends use it for more than 90% of their meals, but they are a small minority. For most it is a perfect meal, but not every meal.
Moment of the day* When Complete Foods are being eaten
Moment of the day 2017
Bagel or bread
Most common meals replaced Bye, bye, bagel
Each complete meal varies quite a bit in number of calories, but between groups the numbers are quite similar. For those who only eat it for breakfast, the average size is 536 kcal (or about one large Belgium Waffle with Maple Syrup). The people who eat Complete Food for most meals have 524 kcal in each meal. And for Dave, each of his meals consist of approximately 576 kcal.
During the survey we also asked, those who weren't only eating Complete Foods, why they didn't eat more Complete Foods. Some common replies were:
Every year we seem to have less time to do things. At the same time we want to eat better, spend time with friends, have a career. Not unexpected is that time-constraint and nutrition are the two main reasons for starting with Complete Foods. Nutritional and price considerations are the two main considerations for choosing a specific brand.
First hear about Complete Food The first source of interest
Dave most probably has first become aware of Complete Food when he read an article online about Soylent. Although friend recommendations are not one of the main reasons for buying Complete Foods (or a specific brand), they are the second route by which people find out about it.
When people start with Complete Food they usually know 1 other person who is drinking it too. On average they promote it to 6 people. Of all participants less than 1 percent wouldn't recommend it to friends. And today they know 2 people who eat Complete Food too.
Dave enjoys his Complete Food in many different situations. Many times he is drinking alone, but 4 out of 10 people sometimes also drink it together with others. The other people are mostly still eating traditional foods, but who knows if that may change soon.
at home 75%
at work 68%
on the go 52%
else (e.g. gym) 17%
at home 23%
others eat traditional 18%
others drink too 11%
at work 26%
others eat traditional 25%
others drink too 6%
Situation of the meal Where are Complete Foods being consumed
Room temperature 42%
Temperature Is it chilled?
no preference 6%
Preferred type of protein None voted for crickets
Spend on food Per day and on Complete Foods
Single serve 30%
One day 26%
Packaging preference Bigger is better
We also asked what type of packaging would best be suited for the products. Ahead of the rest came the vote for bulk packaging with just about twice as many votes as RTD, single serve and one-day bags.
Dave might have lost a bit of weight. But to be honest it wasn't his main objective. He wanted to be a bit healthier and definitely feels that way too now. It has helped him with time-management, made eating healthy easier, and has given him more time to do other things.
Weight changes Gains or losses 2018
Weight changes Gains or losses 2017
Health changes Subjective experience 2018
Health changes Subjective experience 2017
A slight improvement in subjective experience of health and weight changes can be seen over 2017. We didn't ask participants for specific reasons and a follow-up might indicate some of the reasons behind the improved indicators. We did as them if they tracked calories and 45% indicated they did so in the past 6 months. MyFitnessPal was by far the most popular app to track calories. Most Complete Foods already have entries in this app.
Dave would like to see (more) Complete Foods in his supermarket. He can't wait for mainstream adoption, but thinks it will still take some time for this to take place. Sustainability is quite important and any measure to reduce waste is looked upon favourably.
What participants of the survey didn't want to see anymore varied from palm oil to high prices, and from high carbs to maltodextrin. Many times again sustainability issues come up and when we asked them directly they rated it very important.
From the survey we've learned a lot about what the impact is, why people use Complete Foods, and what their preferences are. If you haven't tried Complete Foods yet we hope this has sparked your interest. The field is evolving at an increasing rate and we are looking forward to the future. On behalf of all the participating companies we would like to express our gratitude to the participants. We hope you can join us again next year!
Floris, CEO of Queal
Complete Food Survey 2018
was an initiative by Queal