Best Meal Replacement Shakes – UK

Meal replacement shakes are increasingly popular in the United Kingdom. This year it was announced that for the first time, meal replacement shakes are one of the items included in the Chancellor’s “basket of items” that is used to calculate the cost of living in the UK!

There are many types of meal replacement shakes on the market in the UK. It seems like every week a new meal replacement product is launched. Only yesterday, I saw a billboard advertising a new breakfast shake from Australia who have just launched in the UK.

The choice of what to replace your breakfast, lunch, or dinner with is getting increasingly confusing as more and more products come onto the market.

When evaluating a meal replacement shake, I recommend taking into account:

  • Nutritional profile – how close does the shake come to a real meal?
  • Flavour – how good does it taste, and would you be able to use it long term?
  • Price – how cost effective is the shake? Is it equivalent in price to a meal?

Fortisip comes in a choice of five flavours: vanilla, chocolate, banana, tropical, and strawberry.


In some circumstances, a meal replacement shake called Fortisip is available on the NHS, making it one of the most popular meal replacement shakes consumed in the UK, both by people who want to lose excess weight, and people who need to build up their weight.

Fortisip is gluten and lactose free. It  comes in a 200ml ready-made bottle, contains 300 kcal, and 12g protein from milk origin.  Fortisip does not contain any fibre, but does contain a full range of vitamins and minerals.

I tried the chocolate, banana and vanilla flavours, which are acceptable, there is only a very slight aftertaste which is presumably from the vitamin and mineral mix, but it is pleasant enough.

I feel that I might get bored of the flavours eventually, and it is not possible to make other things using Fortisip.

Ingredients: Water, milk proteins, maltodextrin, sucrose (sugar), vegetable oils, magnesium hydrogen phosphate, emulsifier (soy lecithin), flavour (vanilla), choline chloride, sodium L-ascorbate, tri potassium citrate, di-potassium hydrogenphosphate, ferrous lactate, DL-a tocopheryl acetate, nicotinamide, colouring (curcumin), retinyl acetate, copper gluconate, manganese sulphate, sodium selenite, calcium D-pantothenate, D- biotin, zinc sulphate, chromium chloride, cholecalciferol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, pteroylmonoglutamic acid, thiamin hydrochloride, potassium iodide, riboflavin, sodium molybdate, sodium fluoride, phytomenadione.

A bottle of Fortisip costs £3.08 per 200ml, or £43.12 if you replace two meals a day.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Cambridge Diet Shakes

Cambridge Diet ShakesRecently rebranded “Cambridge Weight Plan”, consultants of this direct selling company offer clients a range of ready made carton drinks, and sachets of powder in various flavours to which milk is added to make the shake.

Cambridge Diet has certain steps depending on your weight loss goals. Their most rapid weight loss programme involves complete meal replacement – and just having three or four of their products each day, which include small shake cartons, sachets of shake that you make up, bars, soup, and porridge.

Their most popular products are the small ready made cartons of shake, called Tetras, which come in three flavours – strawberry silk, chocolate velvet, and banana bliss.

I tried all the Tetra flavours, and found that they all had a sharp sweet taste, and a mineral aftertaste which was stronger than the aftertaste from Fortisip.

Each 200ml tetra carton contains 140 calories, and 7.4g protein. This means that if you were to do a sole source plan using four of these cartons, you would be consuming just 560 kcal per day, which is below the daily calorie guidelines issued by the NHS.

I felt that the carton size was too small, and it left me feeling too hungry between the shakes, despite drinking tea and water between the shakes as the Cambridge diet consultant advised me.

Cost of the Cambridge Diet/Weight Plan is £2.35 per carton, or £42.00 per week (source).

Ingredients: Skimmed milk (90%), skimmed milk powder, milk protein, soya oil, microcrystalline cellulose, potassium chloride, magnesium carbonate, flavouring, colour: carmine, stabiliser: carrageenan, compound vitamin and mineral mixture (ascorbic acid, maltodextrin, ferrous sulphate, vitamin E acetate, nicotinamide, zinc oxide, calcium D-pantothenate, sodium fluoride, copper gluconate, manganese sulphate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin, folic acid, chromic chloride, potassium iodate, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, vitamin K, D-biotin, vitamin D3, vitamin B12), emulsifier: soya lecithin, sweetener: acesulfame K.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Body by Vi Shakes

ViSalus ShakesThis meal replacement shake is different because unlike Cambridge Diet and Fortisip, their shake mix comes in one bag of shake mix in sweet cream flavour. From that you can make hundreds of flavours; by adding the Flavour Mix-Ins which come in your Challenge Kit, or by adding other ingredients such as fruits, peanut butter, etc.

The flavour mix-ins that are included are Belgian Chocolate, and Strawberry. The strawberry one contains the extract of 15 strawberries, as well as other anti-oxidant fruits such as beetroot, blueberry, cherry, orange, raspberry, cranberry, and grape.

The shake is smooth, especially if you add an ice cube or two whilst blending. It tastes amazing. I would say similar to a certain shake from a well known fast food company, but it contains just 170 kcal, 21g protein, and a full range of vitamins and minerals.

Out of the three shakes, Body by Vi shakes kept me feeling fullest for longest, and with the better flavour, and higher protein content I would find this one the easiest to stick to and get results with.

Each shake costs £1.50 approximately when made up with 2 heaped scoops of the Vi Shape nutritional shake mix, and 250ml semi-skimmed milk. So if you replace 2 meals a day the weekly cost is £21.00. This also makes it the cheapest out of the meal replacement shakes I tested.

Ingredients: Soy protein, Dextrin (digestive resistant), Whey protein hydrolysate, Whey protein concentrate, Flavourings, Lecithin (emulsifier), Xanthan (thickener), Medium chain trigylcerides (emulsifier), Dicalcium phosphate, Sucralose, Minerals and vitamins (Magnesium oxide, ferric pyrophosphate, zinc oxide, copper glutonate, potassium iodine, manganese sulfate, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, chromium picolinate, ascorbic acid, di-alpha tocopheryl acetate, niacin, d-biotin, phytomenadione, pyridoxine hydrochoride, thiamine hydrocloride, retinal palmitate, d-pantothenate calcium, riboflavin, folic acid, cyanocobalamin, cholecalciferol) , Bromelain, Papain (digestive enzymes).

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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