30 Days of Soylent

almost 6 years ago from , Cofounder, DesignLive.co

Today I launched 30 Days of Soylent, a particularly foolish & ill-informed project.


I draw great inspiration from this community and would love some honest feedback on my work so far. If you're interested in following my antics, please do.

Happy Monday!


  • Seth TompkinsSeth Tompkins, almost 6 years ago

    I like the site! And your writing is nice to read.

    One question that I hope people who are excited about Soylent will weigh in on: Why do they purposefully choose to market themselves in the creepiest manner possible?

    Everything from the videos on their site to the copy screams "out of touch SV company who wants to change the world." Would this product not be perfectly suited as an "every now and then" meal replacement? Why is their whole philosophy built around people actually living off of their product?

    I understand the business implications of getting consumers to subscribe to a 3-meal-a-day system, but, seriously, why make the risk of scaring away millions of potential customers by trying to assert your own personal ideal of the "future" in your marketing content?

    Most people that I talk to about Soylent think it is funny, not novel. Personally I think the idea of a super-nutritious meal replacement shake is great, but not to actually live off of it. My reason? Exactly what the OP describes in his first post: "However, a good meal provides me with more pleasure than almost anything else per dollar and minute spent."

    Why would a company actively market against that most basic, human pleasure?

    4 points
    • Alex TapperAlex Tapper, almost 6 years ago

      Seth, I have to agree. Everything from their name (talk about terrible branding...) to the awful CGI in their videos sometimes makes me wonder "what are they thinking?"

      I'll let you know in 30 days, what it's like to eat 3 Soylent meals per day. Afterward, I plan on incorporating maybe 1 meal per day into my diet. It makes sense for a quick & easy breakfast, or a lunch on the go (or at the office). I see it as a great way to provide a daily baseline of nutrition. Also, I think it has great implications for aid to the developing world. Doesn't need refrigeration (in powder form), it's super cheap, and doesn't spoil.

      1 point
      • Seth TompkinsSeth Tompkins, almost 6 years ago

        I totally see Soylent as a good "baseline of nutrition" supplement like you are saying.

        My theory on why their marketing is so awkward: their CEO. Just listen to him talk in those videos. I could see this whole push as the completion of his "vision."

        0 points
    • Sean LesterSean Lester, almost 6 years ago

      I agree, and I've definitely seen a lot of people recoil at the idea that this is meant to completely replace food. I think that "this is the new food" mentality is really abrasive to people who like food (everyone) and is really hurting a product that could be marketed for it's benefits as a food option that can be used as you please. For me, personally, I'd like to just call it "my default food" (assuming I ever get it and can tolerate it) that I'll eat for most meals - and then break that for social occasions etc.

      2 points
  • c kizerc kizer, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Soylent is a terrible baseline for minimum nutrients. They are using low quality ingredients and just recreating all the work done by some of these companies who discovered how important the quality of ingredients are.

    HINT: All from vegetables vs. ground up minerals (rocks)

    Also the ones I linked too actually taste good. I've eaten these meal replacements and nothing else for 3 months. Soylent isn't even the same quality as say OptiFast drinks.

    If your going to try something like this, why not try it with a shake or powder that's already been proven?

    Nature's Plus Spiru-Tein Shake Cherries Jubilee http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0011FTB08/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    1 point
  • Sean LesterSean Lester, almost 6 years ago

    I ordered a week supply months ago and I'm still waiting on it. Depending on how that goes I'd love to just get a year sub. More and more I'm frustrated by having to choose between a few tired, terrible food options every day. I don't like any of the food I eat, it isn't good for me, and I shouldn't be spending this much money. I'm really hoping Soylent is the answer! No more decisions, just cheap healthy nutrition.

    All that said, I'll definitely keep up with you and best of luck! Don't let anyone else's revulsion hold you back. The fact is that it's both healthy and cheap and it just makes too much sense to replace food with it if you can personally stand to or be committed to. Anyone else's judgment should be irrelevant as long as it's a good decision for you.

    1 point
    • Alex Tapper, almost 6 years ago

      Thanks for the encouragement Sean! I'm hoping for some design criticism from the community as well. If you have any thoughts from that perspective, please share.

      I feel your pain & frustration with the overall state of the food industry. Crap food is cheap, healthy food is too expensive. Grocery stores are confusing!

      I hate to knock the Soylent Team, but my one gripe is shipping time. I was an original backer in June of 2013, yet I just received my order of 1 month's supply this past week. That's a solid 12 months from payment to delivery.

      I understand that they had an overwhelming surge of orders from the crowdsourced campaign, and then had to keep up with economies of scale and quality control. In my eyes, they should have limited the number of initial backers to a level they were comfortable delivering on schedule.

      My roommate ordered a month's supply within a few weeks of my order (June or July 2013) and hasn't received it yet. I know that they are prioritizing larger orders, but best of luck with getting yours!

      0 points
  • Bowen LiBowen Li, almost 6 years ago

    Thanks for doing this. I'm looking forward to reading your progress.

    0 points
  • Marcus ZanonaMarcus Zanona, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Best of luck Alex, I am sure it won’t be easy and who knows if that will be worth it as well. It’s particularly nice to set this challenge to test their products.

    Hopefully Soylent users know that they won’t become anything close to bodybuilders by having a diet like this but definitely helps to set a landmark there.

    Also, I am sure you will do this but tracking your weight, stamina, etc, along the way, might be really important to see in what aspects Soylent increases or decreases your performance.

    0 points
  • Nathan NNathan N, almost 6 years ago

    I saw about this on Vice; I guess my biggest question would be how do you plan on making soylent interesting enough to consume for 30 days? Some of the best things about solid foods are the textures and things like fat on red meat. Even vegetables like cabbage have a fairly interesting texture and are often very refreshing.

    Maybe I'm just not cut out for the post-food world.

    0 points
    • Alex Tapper, almost 6 years ago

      Nathan, the texture is kind of gritty right now. I've read that using almond milk helps with that. I'll be trying that soon. I've also heard that we need a certain number of "chews" each day or weird things start happening.

      1 point
      • Sean LesterSean Lester, almost 6 years ago

        Supplement your chews with gum? Haha

        I imagine the grittiness is the sort of thing I'd grow to enjoy. Like those drinks, I guess it's Naked Juice brand? They're like drinking fruit flavored beach-sand-juice. Was really put off by the first one and then I enjoyed them after that.

        1 point
  • Caleb SylvestCaleb Sylvest, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    If you are living in Nashville then you will be missing out on The Pharmacy hamburgers and 5 Points Pizzas :(

    But good luck, not sure that I would ever try Soylent but am interested to hear more!

    0 points