Here's the summary:
If you can (with all that implies - time, resources, location, facilities), then a properly balanced diet composed of real food and fresh produce, consumed in healthy portions is not only good for you, but often cheaper (depends) and provides additional benefits such as satisfaction, taste, some small measure of exercise and activity in preparation and also an opportunity for socialising.
But all that is a governed by the mighty 'if'.
IF you have the time - not just to prepare but to eat it. IF you have the resources. IF you are in a location where preparing - or even bringing - fresh food is possible. IF you have the know-how (some people are really bad at cooking). IF you have the knowledge to choose a properly balanced and healthy diet and the will-power to do so. IF you are in a location and situation where you could and and want to socialise during meals.
The simple truth is that, whatever the reason, vast numbers of people are not in a position to do this, at least not for three meals a day, seven days a week. And the reality is that those meals that don't qualify are often either skipped or end up being less than healthy.
You decades, meal replacements have been utterly woeful - being aimed either at helping people lose weight or to supplement a poor nutritional intake. Anyone who has been on one for any length of time will attest that the result is often less energy. A replacement designed, from the ground up, to be a full, every meal of you life diet is needed, not so people can actually live on it, but so that those people who do, for whatever period and for whatever reason, decide to use it as a meal replacement, are getting something that is not deficient, nutritionally, when compared with 'real' food.
If people can't see value in that then they need not ever use it.
And certainly, anyone who worries that such options will cause the human race to become anti-social and devolve into pre-human savages can rest easy. Well, at least they can stop blaming meal replacements because if someone who otherwise could have nice social meals of healthy food in properly balanced portions chooses to eschew that so they can live alone, shunning all human contact, you can be sure that the reason is not the availability of this meal-replacement or its cousins. A person so inclined will do that anyway, it's just that most will resort to less-optimal diets and so put a strain on the health system later in life with all the problems that come with poor nutrition.
And, while I'm at it, plenty of people where I work (and sometimes myself) go to the gym in a group during their lunch break and then scoff a shake afterwards, spending next-to-no time actually ingesting any nutrition. I can vouch that there is a lot of socialising and that the result is a good work-out, a de-stress from the morning's work and a healthier body. We have a laugh and there is a lot of 'bonding' and good-natured ribbing along with mutual encouragement and genuine celebration of each others' goals - all the better to spur ourselves to do better.
I'll also mention that 'shakes' - on the train from work no less - has allowed me to meet up with friend for our indoor cricket matches that I would never be able to make, had I gone home and had a nice social meal with my partner first.
So don't discount the idea that taking drastically less time for a meal somehow automatically means that one is missing out of important social, emotional and health benefits.