Any news on Europe?


#1

So I figured I would ask again since it is a new year now. By the end of 2015 / start of 2016, (December, that was published in January I believe?) Rob said in an interview that

“Rhinehart: We’re up 300 percent this year and trying out and experimenting with new products. We should be in Europe by next year, so … very good, thank you!” - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-15/with-soylent-sales-up-300-percent-its-founders-have-eyes-on-europe

I don’t expect it to go any faster by me asking, but I would love to hear if there is any progress, and which route the company is aiming regarding how to get into Europe with Soylent. (Shipping from USA or making it locally?) What is the current hold out, regulations, capital or is something underway right now?
@Conor @rob


#2

I’d like to add a small, slightly desperate “please” in support of this question. But if y’all don’t have a solid timeline, it’s probably better that we don’t know. I’m thinking of how terrible it was waiting for 1.0 after the kickstarter.

I think all I really need is a little “We love you and are still working on it!”


#3

They have some decisions to make and possibly a reformulation before shipping in Europe, so it’ll be a while. For now, it’s probably best to try some of the European 'lent products rather than wait as it could be a long wait.


#4

I’m wondering how much success they would have there. I think they may well have missed their window of opportunity. There are more than 30 different makers in the EU now (13 in the Netherlands alone!). There is a wide range of prices and of choices of ingredients. Most are powders but two (Feed and Mana) offer RTD products as well, and I would be surprised if there are not more RTDs coming this year. So Soylent would be entering a very crowded market full of already successful “soylent” products.

There would be a small number of people who are aware of meal replacements and who know this is “the original” and so might try it out of curiosity. But it seems unlikely to me that being “the original” is enough to make people switch permanently from Huel, Joylent, Queal or Mana to Soylent. There would have to be either a distinct price advantage, or a clear and easy to communicate nutritional advantage, or a clearly better flavor.

Price? I doubt that Soylent could seriously underprice Joylent even if they manufactured in the Netherlands.

Nutrition? Everybody delivers about the same mix of macros and a complete set of micros. Everybody is “organic” and “gluten free” already. Several can say “non-GMO” or “no Soy” which gives them an edge over Soylent. Even if those words mean nothing, as I think they do, they are significant to some consumers.

Flavor? Most offer chocolate and vanilla already. Huel ships flavor packs to mix with its powder. Joylent says “I’ll see your Nectar and raise you a Mango and a Banana.”

So frankly I don’t think Rosa Foods should bother trying to crack the EU. They’d be fighting for customers in a crowded field with no real product differentiation and no price advantage. They would probably do better trying to move into Japan, South Korea, or India, where there aren’t a lot of competitors and being a real American product carries some emotional value. If they could find a trustworthy local manufacturing partner in China, that would be an immense market which they could have all to themselves.


#5

Other than customers who have already imported Soylent to try and would like to buy the real thing without paying through the nose, I guess you have a point.

Of course, I think if most customers of copycats were really ignorant of Soylent, we wouldn’t see so many call themselves soylent, or essentially copy the name (“Joylent” is only one letter off; the equivalent of a Pepsi competitor called Hepsi or something) and/or packaging/style/marketing of official Soylent. There wouldn’t be any advantage to doing so if Soylent wasn’t the most established brand.

There’s also the common sense answer that it’s a huge, mostly untapped market, and they won’t make any money there if they don’t even try.


#6

I’m guessing Hepsi (Hep C) would be terrible for your liver though.


#7

I think there are some distinct differences between Soylent and current European brands, though I agree that expanding to Asia would likely be a more profitable move (though I’m not sure how receptive to 'lent products eastern cultures would be on the whole so it’s difficult to say).

The first main difference I can think of is macros. Most European options have upwards of 120g of protein, whilst iirc Soylent sits around the 100g mark. Soylent also has more monounsaturated fat than most options here, which is a good thing for those not wanting high saturated fat or polyunsaturated fat intake.

There’s also the point that the US RDAs (or the new ones which will come into effect by July 2018 anyway) are almost always higher than the EU equivalents, meaning Soylent will likely meet the nutrient needs of more people than most (though not all) brands by that point, as RDAs are designed to meet only 97.5% of the population’s nutrient needs.

Soylent also uses isomaltulose, which a lot of companies here don’t want to due to it having to be labelled as a sugar. That’s less relevant if RF don’t find a way to lower GI though.

And finally Soylent’s neutral taste will set it apart from many.

Overall I think there’s definitely room for it here, and despite owning a 'lent company in the EU myself, I’d definitely make at least one order of each of their product line to see what it’s like. I still think Asia would be better for them, but I’m pretty sure they’d be successful in Europe too.


#8

I am sure they missed a big opportunity by taking so long… People like me have been waiting since the kickstarter, even importing it a few times (but more than double the price due to weight and import tax is not sustainable)
I have already tried Queal and Joylent, in fact, I have a few bags of Joylent in my kitchen right now, but I don’t feel like drinking it to be honest… What I am most interested in is 2.0, specially the new flavors and Coffiest.


#9

While you make good, points it also means the market is primed for us and we have a strong media team that is effective and pushing our brand in the press and through effective marketing. Europe is a goal because our research shows us it will be profitable.

To your points about GMO, if we couldn’t include them we would not advertise that we are ‘GMO free’, Gluten free would be great!

In general Asia is just as crowded with meal replacements.


#10

Asia is a much more costly and expensive market to enter. It would require hiring a lot more staff to manage as opposed to Europe. Additionally our branding is already recognized within the European media.


#11

I had a feeling there must be a reason, thanks for the info :slight_smile:


#12

By “asia” I was not thinking of Australia/New Zealand, which is a rather small market and already pretty well served by several vendors. Outside of AUS/NZ I am only aware of Comp in Japan, Ruffood in China, and SuperMealX in India. Oh, and Zoylent in Singapore which is still trying to draw funding.

I would love to know of any other existing ones! (I collect these links, it’s a hobby.:slight_smile:)


#13

I think you have the wrong Idea we don’t really view those companies as competition. We look at larger entities to set the bar for ourselves and look at how much of the market they control. If anything the more smaller companies there are the better. In markets where our brand is know but not available people will have a complete food option. Which means they will stay in that ecosphere and give us the chance to convert them.


#14

We are spoiled in Europe, loads of products to choose from. Myprotein have just released their version and it’s very competitively priced. I guess my problem with trying Soylent is the fear of some dire reaction and some of the reactions we’ve read about are truly horrific. I hope Soylent do break into Europe but it will take a lot of convincing that it’s safe to consume.


#15

I think that whilst some of the reports were really bad, it’s worth remembering that a) it was a tiny minority and b) RF have removed the ingredient most likely to be responsible, and will be analysing carefully before any subsequent release to prevent a possible reiteration of that bad press.

I understand the worry completely, but it’s almost certainly fine.


#16

I’ve been doing the rounds of Soylent replacements since Rob’s first blog post in 2013 and I’ve been following the European scene ever since. Basically, you have no competition.

Most European products are too expensive and those that aren’t their composition is essentially carbs and sugar with a sprinkle of fat and protein. The only I found to be good, and which I’m religiously on, is Huel.

What I find interesting is that Soylent, at least in the US, manages to be cheap and healthy, at 45+% fats. Most European equivalents with the same composition are twice as expensive.

I’d welcome an alternative to Huel, if only because one shouldn’t put all eggs in the same basket.


#17

I’m working on something if you’re interested. We’re waiting on an improved micronutrient mix before release, but our finished product will be similar-ish to Huel (more fat (significantly more MCT), slightly less protein) and will come in a wide range of flavours. I can let you know when we release if you’re interested. Price will be slightly more than Huel, but around the same as Soylent 1.7.


#18

I have also been waiting for news on Europe since the kickstarter… is it possible that Rosa Labs can tell us what is making it take so long? What kind of trouble are they having…?

Regards
Slightly impatient fan from Norway

@Conor @rob


#19

My suspicion is that there are certain requirements for selling in the EU that may require a reformulation. Additionally, in its current form, Soylent products would be labelled as 75% vitamin C.

If I had to speculate further, I’d say we’ll see Soylent products being sold in the EU not too long after July 2018 (when the new FDA nutritional regulations come in, and certain nutrients will be increased in their micronutrient mix).

In the meantime, you may as well try some of the dozens of other options in Europe.


#20

It’s generally logistics. Our products have reformulations that meet all EU requirements. But there are two approaches, we do the faster but issues filled way of drop shipping multiple containers of product for distribution. Or we produce in Europe. If we just sent the product it would not be condusice to our subscritption model since it would have constant shipping delays. Our logistical control would also suffer. We are looking at our options for Europe, we just want to get it right on the first go around :slight_smile: