Here’s Soylent’s New Product. It’s Food.


by Jonah Engel Bromwich and John Herrman, NYT, April 18, 2019
Here’s Soylent’s New Product. It’s Food.

So Soylent — the contrarian food replacement company that made its name hawking beige, drinkable meals to time-crunched Silicon Valley workers — on Thursday unleashed the next-best-thing: Soylent Squared, a 100-calorie, very much chewable “mini-meal,”

Soylent was embraced by people who resembled Mr. Reinhart, young affluent technology workers who saw it as a new tool to maximize their efficiency, something that could enhance performance by requiring them to waste less time eating.

Asked if new customers should consider living solely off Soylent, Mr. Crowley said, “We don’t recommend it, no. Absolutely. 100 percent. We don’t recommend, not because we don’t think it’s healthy or we don’t think it’s there. It’s a very difficult thing to do and our research tells us that it happens for a very limited amount of time.”

The company is working hard to ensure its products are not merely safe to eat, but also tasty and enjoyable.

In 2019, Mr. Crowley said, Soylent is about filling in gaps: in a customer’s day; in its product line; in the global food supply.

Soylent will complete a sort of circuit, taking its product, once a lifestyle choice for a small group of technology overlords, and pushing it as a lifestyle necessity to the tech underclass for whom every moment spent on things like eating instead of working means less money.

Soylent could contribute to solving other pressing global issues. “So we have overpopulation,” he said. “9.7 billion by 2050. What do nutritionists tell us?”

“People want to consume what they know,” Mr. Crowley said. “If you want to scale it, you need to tap into something they know.” What customers know best, it turns out, is food.

Analysis: Soylent is the anti-thesis of holistic eating, yet I do think it has some validity in its concept. It’s common for people to eat, but not receive the nutrition needed to function, which I think is a good place for products like soylent. However, I do think that seeing food as a mere source of fuel is dystopian, depressing, and unhealthy.