If the idea of consuming all of your food in shake-form sounds appealing, you may be interested in the latest announcement made by Soylent that their “meal replacement” drink Soylent 2.0 will be shipping in bottled form beginning in October 2015.
The Soylent name is somewhat ironic and appears to be an effective brand name for an, at first powdered, and now liquid, meal replacement. The term soylent was first coined in the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room!, Make Room! and was a portmanteau of the words soy and lentil. The term came to be associated with cannibalism after the release of the 1973 film Soylent Green, whose producers extended the idea of a new type of food necessitated by overpopulation, to murder.
What has surprised many observers is that Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart attracted $20 million in Series A venture capital financing. Entrepeneur reports that the majority of the investment is coming from Adreessen Horowitz. Chris Dixon from the venture capital company will join the Soylent board of directors.
Previous to Soylent 2.0, the meal replacement was shipped to customers in a powder. The new version will be sold in liquid form. Soylent reports that the product does not need to be refrigerated and has a shelf life of one year.
Soylent claims that its product is different from other nutritional supplements on the market, which are only intended to replace meals on an occasional basis. Soylent intends their product to be used as the sole source of nutrition for customers who choose to use it as such. The Verge quoted Rhinehart with regard to other nutritional supplements and Soylent.
“They’re really not sustainable. I mean, they’re loaded with sugar, they’re just way too sweet, and they don’t really have the macronutrient balance or the glycemic index that I would feel comfortable sustaining myself on or a user on.”
Liquid Soylent 2.0 has been estimated to cost about $12 per day for complete nutrition. By comparison, the powdered Soylent 1.5 cost near $9. Soylent 2.0 is also reported to be the first version to employ algae, from where it derives a significant portion of its fat content.
The most important aspect of Soylent, and something that Rhinehart does not miss promoting, is that the while the idea may seem unappealing, it does make a bona fide step toward feeding more people in an efficient manner.
Whether or not Soylent really has the ability to “feed the world,” as Reinhart has stated it might, remains to be seen. However, Antoinette Saddler, a nutritional doctor and associate professor with George Washington University, was quoted by the Washington Post with regard to Soylent.
“We don’t have vast experience in healthy people, but we can apply lessons from people who require a liquid tube-feeding long term, delivered either by mouth or right into the stomach or intestine due to serious gastrointestinal disorders. These individuals can get the nutrition they need with relatively few adverse effects as long as the formula is nutritionally complete.”
Soylent is reported to contain 27 grams of fiber per 2,000 calories, well above the 14 grams consumed by a typical American.
[Soylent Screenshots Courtesy Soylent.com]