Established food industry vs Soylent


#1

So - I was thinking… When you look at the economy of a single household, you see how much money is spend on food. I have been living in several countries in Europe, and even though in countries like Spain, people eat out more - still a huge amount is spent on food.

Now, enter Soylent. A new player that actually says to the consumer that you can save some of the money, you normally send to food industry. I hope that founders are actually thinking in which ways the established food industry can harass them, and how to counter the harrasment.

Lets say that soylent would become quite popular. Maybe not for everyday use, but (like in my case) some people would use soylent 80% of the time and regual food 20% of the time. Food industry is suddenly seeing the threat.

Then they could:

  • hire a good PR company and starting planting articles about how Soylent may be-very-bad-for-you ™
  • search long enough and find a scientist that actually says that Soylent is a bad idea (no matter what there always is some crackpot some place that will say that)
  • lobby for things like soylent to be classified as medical food, hence having to pass a shitload of FDA-tests (in each part of the world where it is sold) I mean - worst case, this process can take 10 years…
  • search long enough and find someone that actually did get some problems from using soylent (and at some point there will be someone), and make his story LOUD. Maybe find several.

How about transport industry ? Since a huge amount of their turnover is from transporting food(-related stuff) ? How about TV-stations/Magazines/Media that live off doing food-advices, etc. ? I can think of lots of players that would be bothered by such a disruptive technology.

Anyway - those are just my two cents. I have been working in starting small telecommunication companies and believe me - there is no such thing as “free market” or “the best product wins” :slight_smile: The established players have lots of power and can do lots of stuff to stall your growth.

… but then ofcourse - this scenario is probably 10 years in the future :slight_smile: And I am probably overestimating the impact Soylent can have … but a guy can always dream :smiley:

Regards,

M.


#2

Interesting thought, matekdk!

Another possible path: The food industry embraces soylent and starts copying the idea. This way, it would become “just another food” - they could make all kinds of flavours, colors and consistencies. Other sectors could play along, advertise for soylent, build soylent distribution networks, …


#3

Haven’t we had the doom and gloom talk yet?

Soylent is not profitable enough to catch the eye of Big Food. If it proves to be a viable product they’ll first try to buy it out and if that fails, build their own.


#4

@ruipacheco: True - this is doom & gloom talk… I guess I am just blown away by the possibilities - and the economical implications for everyone out there - My point is that each disruptive technology can cause existing players to start combatting it to save their own business.

@blinry: You have a good point - first they will try to buy it, then make their own … If they buy it, they can up the price so that everyone is still paying same amount of money for food - and if they make their own, well, they will hope to outcompete the small player and get prices back up.

I mean all of this is just a hypothetical situation - a situation where like 10% of human race uses soylent :slight_smile: I’m sure that the inventors will still make loads of money from this, and that we (consumers) will benefit greatly. But I’m also pretty sure that if it is a huge success, we will be having this talk again in a couple of years :wink: