"Affordable" ? Did I miss something?


#1

Hello!

I heard about Soylent about 15 mins ago and I was curious so I went to the website. I read those 4 first big words “Simple, healthy, affordable food” and I say to myself : “sounds interesting”. I proceed to check the price: 2.42$ A bottle… A 400 kcal bottle for 2.42$ is considered affordable ?

I need 5 bottles per day if I only use Soydent, it means 84.7$ per week, 338.8$ per month.

Let’s put it straight right, I live in Belgium, which is a country where the prices are high compared to the rest of the world right? Do you know how much it costs me to eat per months ? Less than 80$. For a month! It’s less that was it would cost me for 1 week of Soydent.

But let’s be honest and consider that time is money, and cooking takes time: I would “win” around 30 minutes per day not having to cook, so around 15 hours per month. the average wage is 12$/day for a student like me. So if I could work (I coudn’t, but whatever) during those 15 hours, I would get 180$, we add it the 80$ for the food and we got 260$, which is still 78$ less than Soydent, and I loose the satisfaction of eating a good healthy homemade dish I prepared myself.

Maybe I missed something but I don’t really understand the “Affordable” part.


#2

It is around $12.10 per day for Soylent 2.0 (liquid) for 2000 calories.
It is around $7.70 per day for Soylent 1.5 (powder that you have to add water to) for 2000 calories.

For those that are used to eating out (even at cheap fast food restaurants), this is incredibly cheap, at least where I live and most places I am aware of. It is not as cheap as buying and making food from the grocery store.

However, they have dropped the price since they started selling it. Also, they have stated multiple times that they hope to drop the price further in the future. In a recent interview that one of the founders of Soylent gave, he stated that eventually they hope to make Soylent affordable for someone living off something like $5/day.

Soylent is not yet available in Belgium, but perhaps it will be cheaper by the time it is.

Also, there are a number of DIY soylent recipes that are available. Some are much less expensive.


#3

It’s hard to find food cheaper than making it at home from basic ingredients. Instead try comparing the cost of Soylent with meals in restaurants and pre-made food from stores. In the USA the price of Soylent is similar per calorie to other food bars, shakes, and take-out food. Compared with home cooking there’s also the hassle saved with buying, storing, cooking, cleaning, throwing away expired food… More to it than simply money.


#4

You’re right, 2.0 is expensive.

But it’s not that expensive. What you are paying for food per month is very, very low. Here in the US, anything under $200/month for a single male is very low (here’s a link to the [USDA’s food plans] (http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodJan2015.pdf) for last year). The average customer saves closer to 45 minutes a day despite very few of us living on the stuff, and there’s also time and resources saved from not having to go grocery shopping.

All that said, 2.0 is still very expensive. I’d recommend 1.5 if you need to save money, but it’s still over twice what you currently spend.


#5

I’ve never seen it as cheap myself either. I think it depends on what you’re used to, to some extent. If you compare Soylent to eating out of course it’s cheap. If you compare eating Soylent to eating PB & J sandwiches it’s going to be expensive.

That said, I don’t find it to be especially expensive. But price isn’t the selling point for me - convenience is by far. Convenience of not cooking and also convenience of not worrying about structuring a nutrition balanced meal plan.


#6

Yeah, I was going to add that $80/month is pretty cheap even in parts of the USA with lower costs of living. $80 would be about $2.70 per day. Wow. Can barely have a filling meal at Taco Bell (our national standard for poor folks food) for so little money. Around here a food budget like that would involve lots of home cooked rice or potatoes, some beans, a little cheese, very rarely restaurants, and possibly an eventual deficiency if you’re not careful to cook plenty of vegetables too.

Also: 30 minutes per day is on the low end. I do the cooking for my family. Each meal is at least half an hour of prep time and 15-20 minutes of cleanup regardless of how many people will be eating that meal. Each meal… Not having to cook and wash dishes would save at least 2 hours per day. I’d gladly pay to have those hours of my life back.


#7

First, thank you for your fast answers

To Bouncey and Inquirerer: I understand that I only considered the money part and that there is more to it. I like to cook for myself so I was just attracted by the affordable part.

I also agree that it is cheaper than eating out everyday, I did not consider that because I didn’t know that many people do that. Is it common in USA ? (No offfense, I have never been there, I cannot judge) I don’t know anyone who does that (but maybe because most of my friends are students)

To Codemaker and Inod3: I agree that what I pay is very low, because most of my friends are paying around 200$ per month for the food too, and I guess that it is also the average in Belgium.

I forgot to take into account that my lifestyle is really budget friendly, I don’t like soda’s so I drink water from the tap most of the time, and I mainly eat rice and pastas with vegetables and cheese. There is probably nothing cheaper than that ^^’

I understand a bit more now. I will inform myself more about the products and if the prices drop like they want to when it is available in Europe I might consider testing it for breakfast since morning is when I lack time.


#8

If you like preparing things for yourself, I would also point out the DIY soylent recipes:
http://diy.soylent.com/recipes

Some of them are around $2 or $3 per day. (some even less)


#9

Thank you, I will look at it.


#10

How often people eat out varies from place to place all across North America, and how much food costs varies too. In my experience home cooking is common in Oklahoma City, but in Tulsa (not very far away from OKC) people eat at restaurants almost constantly. Plain ingredients are about 10% difference between OKC and Dallas, and can vary by 20% between different stores in the same town. NYC and San Francisco? That’s a whole other world.

Giving it some thought, a month’s supply of rice for one person (assuming high-carb vegetarian) would be about $20 here. Pasta would be a bit more. $80 or less would be possible with good planning and lots of home cooking.

I like to cook, too. Cooking is fun. Dish washing and stove cleanup is what annoys me.


#11

There is a big difference between “affordable” and “cheap”. I doubt that you are saying that you could never afford to buy any Soylent ever. Therefore, it is affordable. QED.

Rosa Labs long ago stopped trying to sell everyone on consuming nothing but Soylent. In fact, they never did try to sell everyone on that. They simply started out by claiming that you can live on Soylent and nothing else. They were not expecting everyone to immediately drop other food. Though a lot of us showed that was possible.

Yes I think purchasing fast food here in America wins over bringing a paper bag to work and consuming its contents for lunch. And certainly only a few very fortunate people go home for lunch.

I’ve always thought that fast food should in theory be cheaper than making food for yourself at home because of economies of scale. But in real life, fast food is expensive and bad for you. So Rosa Labs has a reasonable and workable suggestion. Instead of wasting your money on fast food, spend less and buy Soylent.


#12

That makes sense, I confused affordable and cheap, English is a langage I am still learning and I do it by myself, so that is why it happened.

It seemed to me that they were saying that you should replace all your meals with Soylent, I don’t know why. Thank you for correcting that.

I also agree about the fact that it is better and cheaper than fast food. However, I am always suspicious when someone says “you can live and stay healthy eating only this product”. Soylent is quite new, is it really possible to prove that so early ?

I know we are not really into the subject of the topic with this question but I am curious.


#13

Many people confuse affordable and cheap, even if their native language is English.

I have lived almost entirely on Soylent for more than a year. Whether you can live on it permanently is a less important question than you might think. We do not live like robots consuming food according to instruction. I think almost everyone has at one time or another in their life realized that their diet was not what it should be. They realized that because of how they were feeling. Then they changed their diet according to the best scientific evidence, or by imitating their friends, or by following the latest fad diet, or by reading advertising copy.

Soylent is composed following the best known scientific evidence. If it doesn’t work for you, you can change whenever you want. This is exactly the same principle that has guided you, most likely, for your whole life.

I spent a long time living in Berkeley and consuming a lot of falafels because there were many falafel stands near the Berkeley campus where I was living. I also had a lot of halavah because it was good and easy to obtain. I didn’t consult a nutritionist and I didn’t have my blood examined every 6 months. But it worked out great for me.

I suspect that Soylent will work out great for you.


#14

Definitely cheaper than eating out (even eating out part of the time).

Yes people CAN cook at home cheaper, but most people don’t. I didn’t have the problem of eating out for lunch every day, but my former lunch was a small bag of grapes and a protein bar. The protein bar by itself cost me about $2 (a slightly higher end protein bar, so pricier than Cliff and the like). Don’t want to think about the grapes. I live in a state that produces a ton of agriculture and yet produce cost here is ridiculously high. Grapes probably $2 for a small ziplock bag, just going off of memory here. Could I eat cheaper if I consumed rice and beans only? Sure. Is that something I had success doing? No.

Side note - can’t believe how affordable the food is in Belgium. Maybe the OP doesn’t get a lot of fresh foods though, I don’t know.


#15

Yes it is. Most people go out to eat for lunch at work. I don’t know about dinner but on weekends I go out to eat with my friends. A fairly typical lunch is $8USD (7.06EURO). Dinner can be about twice that. A beer by itself can be $6USD.


#16

I mostly buy fresh vegetables, things like tomatoes (around 2.5€/kg), onions (1€/kg), zuchinis (2-3€/kg), mushrooms (3.5€/kg), eggplant (around 2.5€/kg). Then I buy a 5kg bag of rice in a local chinese supermarket for 12€. If I recall correctly you use lbs in USA ? 1 kg equals around 2.2 lbs if I am not mistaken.

I can’t tell if it is cheaper to USA, but I am curious.
Even tho it is hard to compare because I don’t know your average wage, and I am pretty sure we pay a lot more taxes than you do (25% is the minimum, and according to your wealth it can go higher than 50%)
Also, our VAT for food is only 6%

Protein bars are also around 1.5-2€ I think.

For the restaurants prices, 8$ for lunch seems okay to me, I would be around 8-12€ here, and for dinner I would say between 14-25€ depending of what you take.

I just realised that I was converting the prices in $ at a 1:1 rate, but I just looked it up and 1€ = 1.13$, so you can add 13% to my previous prices.


#17

I’d say “affordable” means “quite a lot of people can afford it”, rather “whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you eat, it’ll be cheaper than whatever you spend on food at the moment”.


#18

1 kilogram (kg) = 2.2 pounds (lb). As a mental approximation it’s close enough just to divide kg price by 2 to figure price per lb.

In the USA we measure most foods and drinks in pounds, ounces, cups, quarts, and gallons. A cup is 8 oz or 1/2 lb (for things with the same density as water) or about 1/4 liter, a quart is 2 pounds or very nearly a liter, and a gallon is a bit under 4 liters. A standard 750ml wine bottle is 1/5 gallon or 25 ounces. An ounce of weight or volume (technically different but we pretend they’re the same) is almost 30g or 30ml. We also use a lot of teaspoons (5 ml) and tablespoons (15 ml or 1/2 oz).

Grams, liters, and milliliters are printed on food packages too and are increasingly in common use. Personally, I keep a digital scale set to grams in my kitchen. In the USA most of us use both systems of measurement every day one way or another.

I wouldn’t have gone into so much detail, but you’re going to run across traditional non-SI units in many of the DIY recipes. Hope that helps.

Taxation on food varies from place to place here. Oklahoma has a sales tax (similar to VAT but only calculated once at point of sale) of about 8% on groceries, but Colorado does not. Actually it’s more correct to say Colorado taxes prepackaged processed foods but not ingredients for home cooking. Or some confusing mix like that. We usually ignore sales tax when comparing grocery costs.


#19

For a more direct comparison, 25 lb (11.34 kg) of good Thai jasmine rice is $18 (16€) at Sam’s Club. That’s the best price I’ve found. It’s a little higher at regular grocery stores. The Korean and Vietnamese stores want $17-$25 for 15-20 lb of several different Asian varieties.

Rice from Arkansas costs about half as much. It’ll keep you alive but has no flavor.


#20

I did the numbers and I was spending about $500 on average for food. And that was just groceries, I wasn’t counting things like coffee. I had stopped eating out at that point and only cooking at home. But it still added up. So since I decided to go 100% Soylent diet the ~$300 was plenty cheaper, much more affordable compared to what I was doing before.

Of course I was trying to eat healthy so I was buying fresh fruits and veggies and meat a couple times a week. If I ate cheap fast food and such I wouldn’t have saved as much. It was affordable for me.