Food tech is just men rebranding what women have done for decades



Yeah, Slimfast is exactly like Soylent! Nothing to see here!


I especially like the author calling Soylent a “protein shake” (twice!). I can’t even say for sure that the article is clickbait; it’s possible the author is ignorant enough to believe what they wrote.


I think the article intends to point out the tech press’s response to Soylent and chums, as compared to its lack of response to (or its failure to draw a comparison between Soylent and) SlimFast.

I don’t think it intends to say that Soylent the product is the same as SlimFast; rather I guess that it’s basically answering a similar need (i.e. losing weight, or being healthier) in a similar way (i.e. mostly consume one simple convenient liquid food), and yet isn’t considered similar by the tech press, possibly for gender-related reasons.

I’ve no idea if there’s a case to be made — if I read more than 70% of one Techcrunch article I start breaking out in hives.

Personally, SlimFast is the one comparison I’ve actually used when talking about Soylent to people, although I do point out that Soylent isn’t really designed for weight loss, whereas I presume SlimFast is?


SlimFast is just enhanced chocolate milk.

I also never get their hatred for Soylent for being a ‘guys drink’.
Most the people IRL that I know who drink soylent are woman or elderly ladies, or even myself.
Is there a group of Soylent drinkers giggling in a treehouse, with a ‘No Girlz Allowed!’ sign, somewhere?


I live in good ole’ South Carolina, so I guess that’s why there may be such a difference.


well and there’s more.…(just sayin).


Problem is, SlimFast doesn’t claim to be able to be the sole source of nutrition themselves. That is what is unique about Soylent that most of these bloggers can’t seem to wrap their head around. SlimFast is targetted as a weight loss tool (a shake for breakfast and lunch and a sensible dinner) and Soylent is not.

This article is nothing more than another manifestation of some random no-name blogger’s phallic envy showing through. Soylent is not gender targetted, this isn’t a story.


And you were so close to an entirely cogent post.


It’s the Guardian, so I’d say starting with the assumption that the author is ignorant about the topic they’re writing about is the right baseline.


Eh, put down the sword and take off the armor, the blogger doesn’t need protecting from me. Their behavior is continuing, not only to be protected, but championed as a positive effect when in reality it does nothing but distract from actual relevant issues and perpetuating further discord in public dialog between the genders.

By the way, that switch might have been partially a mistake. It takes away from one of the main distinguishing factors of Soylent from products like SlimFast. They may need to emphasize the usage as individual meal replacement is possible because it is entirely possible to use Soylent for total nutritional input.


No I know, I’m not trying to protect anyone. I just didn’t think the mild personal insult and the speculation about the author’s psychology were constructive or interesting comments. I mean, talk about perpetuating discord.

Is it? Where? That isn’t what I was going for.


I would agree that it is a mistake to veer away from that message. Why the change? Is there some reason now that it is thought to not be complete nutrition? An overabundance of caution?


First: Soylent is a lot more than a rebranding of Slim-Fast, Ensure or whatever else. Those products are not meant to be lived on solely, whereas you can very much do so with Soylent.

Second: Rebranding is as old as marketing itself, and I can think of two examples, one old and one recent:

  1. The makers of also-ran women’s cigarette Marlboro deciding to remarket it to men, and so producing ads with the cowboy “Marlboro Man.” Very successful.

  2. The makers of M&Ms producing a diet version and having it bomb in consumer trials, despite customers liking the taste when they didn’t know what it was called. The solution? They renamed their new product “Crispy M&Ms” and watched it become successful.


I figured that the “eat nothing but Soylent” angle got a lot of media attention initially, and became the thing that people associated with Soylent — and put a lot of people off even trying it, because they thought of it as all-of-nothing.

Whereas a convenient single meal replacement is probably an easier sell for the mainstream. (And I think somewhere Rosa Labs said that their surveys suggested most people use Soylent for about 50–60% of their food? I can’t remember where I saw it though, so I might just be making that up.)

(All this is just out of my head, I’m not aware of any comments. Someone should search through the AMAs! I know one person on this forum seemed to think everyone was 100% Soylent. Obv that’s just one person.)

I guess caution’s probably a factor too, and I don’t think that’s a terrible idea — so far we only have a few people who have been on a mostly-Soylent diet for a couple of years max, right? And no published studies that I’m aware of. It’s probably fine, but we don’t have actual evidence of that yet.


There might have been a point to be made here, but it is lost because it was written by somebody who doesn’t understand the product and why it exists. Soylent isn’t men chatting in their living rooms about how they wish their thighs were smaller, and I have never seen Slimfast used to replace nutrition for the sake of nutrition.

Slimfast is portion control for weightloss. It isn’t especially nutritious and is more about satiating. I never really drank it, because it was a terrible idea in my opinion.

Soylent was developed because things like Simfast and Ensure don’t meet a person’s actual nutrition needs. And Soylent is enjoyed by people, not men. If the issue is the company founder, they are both men.

This opinion piece was drivel, like so much of the press on Soylent.


You should probably speak for yourself on that. There seem to be lots of men in these forums whose primary reason for using Soylent is weight loss. I don’t disagree that the author’s premise is mostly specious – mostly, because there’s probably a kernel of truth in there about consumer demographics influencing perception of a product, even though Soylent vs Slimfast is a dubious example – but let’s not pretend there isn’t a significant contingent of men using Soylent for weight loss.


Would it be fairer to say it’s less “Slimfast for men,” more “Enfamil for adults”?


I guess, really, this isn’t about gender or product purpose as much as it is about “old news.”

Slimfast (setting aside whether you think it does its job) is food technology (arguably for and by both men and women) but it’s sooo '80s. :slight_smile: There are actual protein shake products, ostensibly marketed to men, that also aren’t making the news, also for the same reason. And baby formula isn’t making news either. Soylent is trying to do something different so it garners interest.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll all hear about it when the next amazing-weight-loss-breakthrough hits the market (regardless of the gender of the target audience), but … that’s not Slimfast. Slimfast is old news. That’s all.


That is definitely your opinion.