Does the Soylent Corporation have any chance of success competing against established food companies?


#1

I’ve been an avid Soylent follower since the start, and a fan of the idea for a long time.

I’d talked to my dad, however, and he’d said that businesses with low profit margins don’t succeed, that price must be 7x greater than cost, etc.

Seems like Soylent Corp. is proving them wrong so far.

The big question… how long can they last before a major food company gets involved? I know, from personal experience at a multi-billion dollar manufacturer, that the giants can pull strings. Manufacturing, distribution, investment opportunities, existing business deals, etc.

I don’t think that Soylent Corp. can survive against the established giants. It’s super easy to replicate. We all do it in our kitchen.


#2

But answer me this. How do any small start ups make it then? How did Boulevard brewing company go from being a little startup micro brew in Kansas City to become the largest American owned brewery in the US while competing against the likes of Budweiser? Beer is super easy to replicate too. Some would say beer is even easier.


#3

No, because it’s not competing against established food companies. It’s very unique among commercial “food” products.

It will find it’s own niche and likely grow over time.

Then other companies will follow suit, but Soylent will likely have the largest market share as long as they don’t make any serious ethical or nutritional mistakes along the way.

As far as people doing it on their own, this is true for sure. It’s very simple to come up with your own recipes at home and fine tune them fit your personal needs, I think this pressure is more likely to sink Soylent than other businesses with entirely different business models.

A real answer to this question could only come from Rob himself, since he understands the companies goals and market better than anyone else.


#4

I think this is the key point, and expanding on this it’s not just unique among commercial ‘food’ products, but more specifically unique in purpose, and unique in timing. There are already meal replacements from major companies, though with a much higher price tag.

Secondly, there’s also the risk involved in trying to sell an idea and product like Soylent. I don’t doubt for a second that there is some guy sitting in his desk kicking himself for not pushing this idea in his Buy-n-Large-esque company. At the same time, if a large company did try to push this it would probably crumble because it wouldn’t have the sort of DIY culture spin that is so appealing in today’s society.

TL;DR? First world cultures have a very positive view on grass-roots efforts, the DIY scene, and anything that can be viewed as ‘anti-capitalist / anti-big-corp’. Soylent hit’s all three out of the park. As an added bonus to Soylent & Co, large established corporations have a huge fear of risk right now; any bit of bad press could wipe them out. Why not let the ‘little guy’ prove their value? And if / when they have, they’ll be big enough to hold their own with the experience to back it up.