Buying Soylent with EBT

@Conor - Soylent, in both powdered and liquid forms, meets the requirements for foodstuffs that can be purchased with EBT (aka “food stamps”). Is RL looking into the possibility of accepting EBT for payment? If not, will you?

My girlfriend of 8 years, whom I live with and refer to as my wife to avoid awkward “why aren’t you married?” discussions, receives $340 in EBT credit every month. This is enough to feed all 3 of us well, but we don’t even come close to using the full balance every month because we use Soylent.


This is specifically mentioned in the FAQ, as I recall. Of course, no harm in reminding people.

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It will probably end up on store shelves first anyway, which would make it EBT-accessible.


For reference, the FAQ page currently says they hope to be able to accept food stamps in the future.

I think @AgentSpliff is asking whether Rosa Labs are currently looking into it.


Alternately, there was a very interesting recent DIY thread that made a recipe using nothing but Walmart EBT elements to make your own soylent. Anyone interested could probably find it by searching for EBT.

Here it is:


From the I am @rob AMA on Reddit a couple of months ago,

“Government is slow. Trying to get SNAP work for e commerce has been immensely frustrating. Better to go direct if we can I think.”

We are looking into it, but nothing has manifested yet. So I can’t say it is happening soon.


I think the oft-cited EBT restriction that prevents it being used to pay for something online, and requires it at the “actual time and place” of the sale, is a paraphrase of 7 CFR 2.274.7(b).

(b) Prior payment prohibition. Program benefits shall not be used to pay for any eligible food purchased prior to the time at which an EBT card is presented to authorized retailers or meal services. Neither shall benefits be used to pay for any eligible food in advance of the receipt of food, except when prior payment is for food purchased from a nonprofit cooperative food purchasing venture.

So normally you can’t. But those constraints may be going away soon: The Agricultural Act of 2014 a few years back added subsection 7 USC 2016(k) to the SNAP statute, mandating enabling “On-line Transactions” (under the heading of Technology modernization for retail food stores):

(Sec. 4011) Requires pilot projects, which shall be completed by July 1, 2016, to test the feasibility of allowing qualifying retailers to accept SNAP benefits through mobile transactions and on-line transactions.

Requires the Secretary, by January 1, 2017, to: (1) authorize implementation of such projects in all states unless the Secretary makes a finding that implementation is not in the best interest of SNAP, and (2) report to Congress regarding the basis for any finding to not authorize.

Reading the old thread about this, I noticed FreshDirect’s convoluted EBT-on-delivery program (which no online retailer would normally want to imitate) goes as far back as 2012, so it’s of no relation to this 2014 law. It was just struggling under the original regulations, it’s not a pilot project.

So I don’t know how many of these USDA “demonstration projects” have run or where they even have, or how hard it would be in practice to apply to become one with just 4 months remaining now. (Or if that was what Rob meant on Reddit about “Government is slow” or @Conor meant by ‘looking into it’, actually.) But even without that, by year’s end it looks like real online EBT ordering might be more of a reality if the USDA actually listens to Congress?