Current Fish Oil Situation


#21

For a business, they very much do care what the “quiet kid” thinks. There are over 5000 people who purchased soylent, there’s what, maybe 100? people active here on the forums (and hell there’s quite a few here who are just here for the DIY and have no plan to purchase the official version)

As a business they have a “duty” to try and satisfy as many customers as possible, regardless if they ever log on the forums to voice their opinion. Why do you think so many places have reward lottery for filling out surveys? Most people don’t like voicing their opinion about a company, regardless of how much it will influence their further use of them.


#22

Well, you might want to be a little louder about wanting cheaper non-vegan Soylent then.


#23

Here, make it a business decision. Weigh the four options. We’ll consider “Current customers” to include vegans and vegetarians. And for the sake of this argument, I’m going to consider them the same thing. (Makes sense since we’re talking about fish, not eggs or dairy).

Four options:
No vegan = current customers - vegan refund requests - all lost vegan orders X normal margin
Free vegan option = current customers - (vegan additional cost X vegan orders) - additional inventory costs
Standard vegan = current customers - (vegan additional cost X all orders)
Paid vegan option = current customers - ((vegan additional costs - vegan charge) X vegan orders) - additional inventory costs.

Tada. Pick the best option. No moral handwringing required. The one they seem to be leaning towards (that I think is good right now) is the free vegan option, and the costs are kept down because you’re just leaving something out. I’d ultimately be happy to see a paid vegan option.

You can do this whole cost analysis with just about anything in the food.


#24

I think the fish oil is wonderful and I hope it will continue to be an option in the future for those concerned about their wallots.


#25

Actually, from several threads I have read, I got the impression that they were considering switching to a more expensive vegan oil. And if enough people say that’s what they want and nobody says otherwise, it might very well happen. Therefore, it is incumbent on those who favor cheaper Soylent over vegan Soylent to provide that feedback.

As for what you are asking for (not shipping the fish oil to vegan customers), I personally find that to be eminently reasonable.


#26

That’s hardly a good enough sample to tell whether vegans are a substantial part of the customer base.

I would wager there are a disproportionate number of vegans in this discussion forum (that is to say, the ratio of vegans to nonvegans on the discussion forum is likely greater than the ratio of vegans to nonvegans in the customer base) since one of the reasons people participate here is because they have strong feelings about the formulation of Soylent. Thus there is a sort of “sampling bias” which favors vegans.


#27

I suppose when it comes down to it, I’m biased, but I would like to point something out.

Soylent is literally one ingredient away from being Vegan. I find it rather hard to believe that the cost of one ingredient could taint the overall price in any sort of dramatic way… I mean what are we talking here, $10 more for a months supply tops? Perhaps it’s more dramatic than I can imagine. If we could see the details, and maybe have poll on this issue as to what should be done, I think that’d be pretty neat.

In the mean time however, regardless of the fact that Soylent wasn’t intended to be Vegan from the get-go, it was intended to be a boon for society and the earth in general. As such, I think there’s some real credence to the idea of their being a single Soylent that is Vegan by default.

Allow me to elaborate…

I assume there’s some costs added to splitting inventory (Labor to separate stock and shipments for instance, and less bulk product purchase from both sources - assuming Vegan oil will be included at some point no matter what), which would be mitigated by sticking to the single-SKU model(Apparently not enoughso that it’s more cost-effective to go the alternative route, but it seems to me this would further decrease the impact of Vegan oil in the long-term). This would also be better for the environment, as they’d only be getting truck shipments from a single source location.

In addition, eliminating the remaining reliance on livestock in favor of renewable blue-green algae crop sources would certainly be an ideal, especially in light of recent discoveries: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/03/ocean-acidification-carbon-dioxide-emissions-levels And I don’t think anyone will disagree that we are heavily overfishing all over the world. So adding one more thing to the list of stuff that needs fish product in our society doesn’t seem like a great of an idea to me.

Finally, Jungroth does of course make an excellent point from a business standpoint in that this can be taken down to math-like simplicity. And Muhd does well to point out that regardless of the vocality, it is unlikely that Vegetarians and Vegans are a majority customer base(Although this assessment could certainly be wrong, after all, as soon as I heard about Soylent the implications of a healthier Vegan lifestyle rushed straight to my head, who knows how many in the community have been and could still be smitten with the concept?)…

But basing the final decision purely on these factors seems irresponsible to me, considering the opportunity posed here. Nor does it seem Rob’s style, based on his Blog posts and videos… That opportunity - the possibility, simplicity, and branding that goes along with the ideal idea of a single Soylent product that fits the needs of virtually all diet forms and violates none or the bare minimum of ethical dilemmas - seems to me to be a serious thing to think about. If not a more serious thing than a few more drops in peoples pocketbooks.


#28

Both ray210 and TwilitWave mentioned costlier substitutes, so it’s not a red herring. If the only people who speak up are in favor of the costlier substitutes, that’s the direction the company will go. Vegans are extremely vocal and well-organized, and it’s worth it for those of us on a budget who can’t afford vegan morality to speak up and make sure we’re heard as well.


#29

For the record, the number of likes is now the same, at 4, not that that matters. In the appropriate forum, I could get 4, or even 400, people to like a video of me farting, but that doesn’t mean it has any value.

However, the point is, veganism is a minority. This vegan website pegs the number of vegans at about 1% of the US population. When Soylent is actually released, and hopefully someday available in grocery stores for mainstream America, it will need to be at a price that the 99% who are non-vegan can afford.


#30

I can’t wait to blend bacon into into my soylent. Any chance my order could include bacon crumbles in a separate packet? :stuck_out_tongue:

Speaking as a devout meat eater and card carrying member of People Eating Tasty Animals, I’m ok with vegan Soylent. If you’re going to market something as a universal default meal, Vegan is the standard to meet, so long as you get the science right. Why? It’s a good baseline, and animal sources of nutrition tend to be more expensive. It’s also a helluva lot easier to scale up production of vegetables than animals. And the people who get offended at a vegan product simply because it’s vegan are ridiculous… and anything that filters out ridiculous people is good.

P.S. I would personally classify krill as talented vegetables and would be perfectly ok with krill oil.


#31

Can you back that up with a citation?

Ouch, being a vegan website, they’re probably over-estimating, too.
Maybe we should do a poll on the number of vegans/non-vegans. Does Discourse have polling abilities? Polling is usually standard with forum software.


#32

I would just like to say I’m currently satiated with the ability to opt-out of the oils, and that I was elated to see the desire on the backerkit page to try and eventually have Soylent become vegan by default. =D

It is much appreciated.


#33

Just wanted to broken record the following statement:

Fish oil is not vegetarian.

Everyone here is hyping the vegan thing, talking about how few vegans there are etc. There are obviously a lot more vegetarians out there than vegans, and (as a vegetarian) I think that the people buying soylent are more likely to be vegetarian than the regular population.

Just make the damn thing vegan and everyone will be happy. The vegans get their vegan soylent, the bacontarians get to mix in bacon strips - we all win.


#34

Due to the backerkit questionare we now know that 4% of backers want the vegan version. A vocal minority indeed.


#35

That’s the plan. AFAIK the obstacle is finding a source (available at the scale they need) to replace fish oil.


#36

Bacontarians… I like it.


#37

What do you get when you mix a Bacontarian and a Pastafarian? Yum, Yum, yumi offspring - http://www.thekitchn.com/post-107-158139


#38

“Vegans are extremely vocal and well-organized” seems a little like stereotyping. Understandable you might make that assumption because you haven’t met the rest of us. But many of us are quiet and unpolitical. Also many are, unfortunately, organizationally challenged. There, I’ve said it. But we are well intentioned and our actions probably do benefit you too. And I don’t believe you are immoral.
If you can’t afford the beginning deliveries of a slightly more expensive vegan soylent you could reduce an hour reading/writing here and work another hour per month at the burger place instead. Or just wait a while and join when the price comes down. Or learn to mix your own.


#39

I share the hope that this will become mainstream, tho I don’t think it will be any time soon.
I don’t believe that the extra cost of making it vegan is anything but a short term problem.
I don’t believe that people who are buying cheap processed food over real food now will choose soylent over burgers and cheezy puffs later, even if the price is the same.


#40

It depends on why they are choosing cheap processed food. Occasionally I crave a specific cheap processed food, and in those cases odds are I will continue to eat the desired food. But most of the time the reason I eat cheap processed food is solely because of it’s availability and preparation time. (For example, if I fail to bring a prepared lunch to work, the ONLY food options are cheap and processed.) So for me, Soylent perfectly represents a quick, easy, healthy alternative to the cheap processed stuff.

However, price is still a concern. While I think a vegan standard is ideal, if it were to increase the price per meal by a dollar, that would be unacceptable to me. Without knowing all the facts, I suspect the vegan alternative will cost more than the current version, but I doubt that it will cost drastically more.