Founding a meal replacement startup?


#1

Hey, a few days ago I came up with the idea to found a startup that somehow makes it more convenient to “eat” healthy. Since then I’ve been reading a lot about soylent and its competitors.
Do you think there’s still a place for a similar company?

I think it wouldn’t be clever to develop another drink/powder, since there are a lot of fresh companies in that niche here in the EU. (Someone said more than 30).

So I thought about how I could improve the existing solutions:
1.) Minor changes to the recipe --> not really a USP and soylent etc could just adopt these changes too in a new version of their products.
2.) A more scientific approach without bs (e.g. “no-gmo”-bs): Soylent is already doing that.
3.) A different form: this is the only real opportunity I think. A lot of (mainstream, normal) people are scared by the fact that soylent “is just powder and no real food”. I know that this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but these people don’t and that’s what is important.

So I thought about:
1.) Developing real meals that contain a specific amount of the RDA.
2.) Developing snacks that contain a specific amount of the RDA, like MealSquares.
3.) A customized shake suited to individual needs, which are determined by blood tests.

What do you think?


#2

I think the biggish issue at this point is consumer cost. The next issues are food intolerances and allergies, then taste.

The “eating whole real food” is also an obstacle, but now there is Ample. https://www.amplemeal.com.

There is a company that will build a meal replacement to your specifications, I can’t recall the company name off the top of my head but they exist.

I think the best idea is building a meal based off a blood test, but that is going to be expensive as well.


#3

I thought I knew of two. I had a note that Powder Chow would do custom formulations but from their current website it looks like they have fixed recipes in either “light” or “original”.

The one definite is Mosaic Nutrition altho looking at that page, I don’t see how you would go about actually ordering a custom blend. Maybe you have to create an account, which I haven’t done.


#4

On the “real meal” front, at least in the US, there are a bunch of “meal kits to your door” companies now, I’ve personally used HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and Home Chef and I had a spreadsheet with them and a dozen others. All these are delivering ingredients for healthy meals that you prepare, neatly packed with colorful recipe cards, at quite competitive prices, ~$10 per plate of hot, tasty, nutrition-balanced “real” food. There’s a big investment in infrastructure behind each of these. Imagine preparing and packaging and shipping fresh, perishable ingredients for thousands of individual meals every day. It’s a whole quantum step up from mixing some powders and putting it in bags.

In the snack field you have besides MealSquares, Twennybars, the Soylent bar (when it comes back), and new bars from Queal and Huel. I think there is a real opportunity there, however, because from the comments I’ve seen, none of those have really palatable flavor or pleasing texture. So if you could get the correct ratio of macros and micros in a bar with pleasing texture and a range of tasty, non-artificial flavors, and back it with good marketing, this could fly. That’s a lot of “ifs”.

Is there any real science that would let you go from a blood test report to a diet? Or would you ask the customer for an actual blood sample? Anyway, this skirts really close to medical practice and I can imagine you getting trouble from the regulatory agencies. If you make any health claims they expect you to back them up with studies – which are very expensive to conduct.


#5

Apparently, by word of mouth, I heard their is a company that will make and deliver food to you that uses a urine sample to determine your nutritional needs. I can’t for the life of me find the name of this company - fail on my part.