I was watching a video the other day about one way to help homeless people (spend <$20 buying them a backpack with toiletries inside) and it made me think about how Soylent might impact the homeless and prison populations. We’re all on this site because we’re fans, but once Soylent becomes widely known, there’s no way it can be loved by everyone. All the people that like it will buy it, and the people who don’t like it will be able to easily avoid it. But what about people too poor to get to decide for themselves what to eat? Will those people, essentially, be forced to consume Soylent?
I don’t know what it costs to run a kitchen to feed homeless people, but if the price of Soylent comes down, will homeless shelters choose Soylent because it’s a cheaper alternative to traditional food? I can see prisons making a similar choice.
I know Rob wants Soylent to one day help starving people in the third world, but U.S. homeless shelters and prisons are a more immediate possibility. So are members of the armed forces who eat MREs when deployed (and sometimes stateside too). I could see the U.S. military wanting to use Soylent, at least as an option.
It’s highly problematic to force people to consume Soylent who don’t want it. Going in that direction is what could make people relate to Soylent like the big evil powdered food corporation. I know they’re not that now, but how can this not be a likely direction? The alternative future is that not enough people like the product and it remains a small company with a group of very loyal fans. Neither future is particularly inspiring.