Forcing people to consume Soylent


#1

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.


#2

This has been discussed at length.


#3

Ideally, Soylent 2.0, (code name Soylent Green) will be made out of people. This will take care of that homeless problem. :smile:

Seriously, I don’t get the hysteria over this product, like it’s going to be the end of the world. My guess is it will be a niche market, and frankly, it would probably be more nutritious than the current diets of either prisons or the homeless.

There’s also the other camp that complains that it’s not a 100% guarantee that this product will contain every single nutrient that could possibly be beneficial to mankind and it should therefore carry a warning label stating that. As if a current diet of quarter-pounders and cokes is cool, but Soylent is evil.

If I sound grumpy, it’s because I was just on Amazon.com ordering some weight-gaining high calorie crap from those big “evil” companies you speak of. You see, I tend to under eat and I’m finding myself (again) losing weight. A product like Soylent is a dream come true for me, and it just kills me that so many people are throwing around are throwing around horror stories of the apocalypse before the product even gets off the ground. I’m pretty sure the product isn’t going to result in the demise of society, even if the homeless and/or prison populations are occasionally fed the stuff.


#4

From what I understand, homeless shelters serve soon-to-expire foods that would be significantly cheaper than Soylent to get a hold of.

The people who don’t want to eat Soylent already consider it to be a big evil powdered food corporation that will (is currently?) force people to consume it, judging from the articles I’ve seen posted here.


#5

Even in the cases of food kitchens and MREs, I don’t think they’ll be forced to eat it. The kitchens are a choice for the homeless; if they don’t want it, they’lli somewhere else; if none of the homeless people eat the Soylent, then they’ll serve something they will eat. With MREs, they are designed for comfort as well as nutrition, so they likely can choose what they want. If they don’t want Soylent, they will have the option to choose something else.


#6

As the readership and participation in this site (hopefully) grows, are you suggesting every new person who joins first read every post since the inception of the site before posting something?

I’m not sure that’s how this is meant to work. Since a topic was discussed a year ago, then it shouldn’t ever be brought up again forever? This site is adding new users daily, and the older, dormant threads are (rightfully) pushed to the bottom, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to care what was last talked about a year ago. I’d even support a 4chan model where old threads are purged from the site once they’re dormant long enough.


#7

No, but most people are expected to search the forum first before posting.

Not a sermon, just a thought.


#8

Last post was 8 hours ago in this relevant topic: http://discourse.soylent.me/t/soylent-bad-for-the-poor-nonsense/13181/91

Yes, in most forums “search” should be someone’s first plan of attack, as there is nothing new under the sun.


#9

I guess it’s true that overall, Soylent is not a very rich topic to discuss. It’s like when I saw, for example, @vanclute’s YouTube videos, at a certain point, there just wasn’t anything left for him to talk about.


#10

Once the official formula was finalized, it’s mostly been “where’s my order?” and “I got my order!” from the forum regulars, and random drive-by posts from people vehemently opposed to the mere existence of Soylent. The DIY threads have been fairly active, but that’s a whole other ball game.

I’m not saying that it was your intention, but the title of your post comes across as wanting to start an argument to those of us that are getting burned out on defending a product that is not being forced on anyone, anywhere. If that was not your intention, please just try to keep this in mind when writing your posts. It’s nothing personal, we’ve just had to be on the defensive for so long that we may not always react as kindly as we should.

As it is, many people have said that Soylent is currently too expensive to replace food for the poor. Add in the fact that many (if not most) food banks and homeless shelters get food donated to them, I don’t think Soylent will be served in one unless it is donated as well.


#11

I’m in the military and I will be bringing my Soylent with me instead of MREs. I’d much rather pour some Soylent into a one liter canteen and shake it up than to hope to get one of the 2 out of 30 that are actually edible.


#12

If I were feeling snotty, I’d be asking that Soylent be forced on me. Fact is, that it won’t even be really available for the really poor for quite a while.

As to soup kitchens and such. They feed people on donations which are mostly excess products from large grocers and restaurants. There is usually a lot of pastry because that is edible but not really desirable before its expiry date (paying customers don’t want the stale stuff).

I volunteered for a few afternoons at one of our soup kitchens, and I can tell you that the people working there care a lot about serving dignified, balanced meals. They can do amazing things with the stuff they are given. A bit like a housewife on a limited budget but with the advantage of getting the truly amazing discounts if not outright donations. (I think they buy a few things to complete their menus.)

Prisons are a different case and I don’t know as much about that. But I bet there’s the occasional prisoner who would welcome Soylent because they can probably build muscles more efficiently on a soylent diet than what they’re probably eating now.

Eve


#13

As far as an individual person’s experience goes… yeah at a certain point there isn’t a whole lot to talk about unless someone really wants to give a daily account of their moods, energy levels, stool scale, etc. which personally, I don’t find worth doing unless there’s something significant to note. But Soylent as a whole is another story altogether. There’s tons to talk about, from how it could alter perceptions of dietary standards, to how it could alter global politics (imagine if all world leaders had Soylent and were always in a better mood, clearer head, feeling more rested, etc.!) to how it could free people up to focus on other passions like art, science, etc. The list is pretty dang long frankly…

IMO the beauty of a forum like this is that you can choose to ignore the threads you don’t want to participate in. There are plenty of topics being discussed here that I absolutely don’t want to hear or read about, and so I pass over those threads… simple as that. But I’m still glad that people feel they can start them if they want to.


#14

Didn’t want to start a whole new topic over this, but as I mentioned in my first post up there, I was just on Amazon.com ordering some high-calorie type stuff.

I seriously hope they are scaling up Soylent production as rapidly as possible, because Soylent / Rosa Labs are missing out on market share over on Amazon. Do a search there for “Soylent” and you’ll come get a long list of all food substitute drinks EXCEPT for Soylent.

I ordered one or two types because I’ve lost a bit of weight the last couple of weeks and can’t wait for my Soylent order to arrive. The competing products on Amazon though, do not seem ideal. For example, Something called “REAL RAW” (the first item that comes up from a “Soylent” search) has 11% USRDA of fat, 12% USRDA of carbs, and 64% USRDA of fiber in one serving. That of course means that, if you try to live on this, you’re just going to be crapping material suitable for constructing bomb shelters. Not a good ratio at all!


#15

I’m sure they’re “scaling up” production as rapidly as they’re able. I have no clue how difficult it is to find suppliers for all these ingredients. I’m sure they made an assumption about how many days a new customer will consume in a month, and they had to make an assumption about what percentage of customers who purchased Soylent would continue to order it continually. I’m sure less than 100% of customers are going to continue purchasing Soylent. Once all the initial backers get their Soylent flowing and a new customer can place an order and have it shipped out within a day or two, then they’ll really have a sense of what the demand really will be. The people who are buying now are all early adopters. idk how often the person who’ll be like “lemme buy a week and see if I like it” will convert to a loyal repeat customer.


#16

Yes I guess that’s true. I could see a category on here about what people are able to accomplish because of Soylent. An artist could work a full day and never have to leave their studio. I’m not sure if that’s even good or bad, but it never used to be possible before this.


#17

So right now
There are people “forced” to consume traditional, nutritionally incomplete, food.
After Soylent
There may be people “forced” to consume untraditional, nutritionally complete, food.

In both scenarios people dont have a choice over what they eat, except after soylent, people may be offered a healthier, cheaper option.

and the problem is?


#18

[quote=“gilahacker, post:10, topic:13677”]
the title of your post comes across as wanting to start an argument to those of us that are getting burned out on defending a product that is not being forced on anyone, anywhere.[/quote]
Yeah that wasn’t my intention at all. I didn’t realize there was such hostility here. I’ve read a bunch of the negative articles saying that we should eat our vegetables instead of a powder, but not ones about what happens if Soylent becomes a huge success. I don’t want Soylent to gain that reputation as a big evil corporation, nor do I want Soylent to be perceived as nerdy, which is a likely scenario that will need to be actively combated. The only scenario where Soylent could be perceived as a big evil corporation is if they start forcing it upon anyone, including the homeless, prisoners, emergency shelter victims, or the military. That won’t happen anytime soon, but it could.


#19

The military isn’t likely to choose Soylent over MREs, as they’ve already tried the powdered deal. Cost minimization also isn’t the focus of an MRE – calories and morale are.


#20

So much dystopian rhetoric, so little time.

At the end of the day, beggars can’t be choosers. Right now, they’re “forced” to eat whatever is put in front of them via the largess of others. If one day that is Soylent, they should count themselves fortunate.