Is anyone else worried about the price of Soylent?


#11

Soy isolate at 200g/day. Apparently a rice/pea mix is better balanced and cheaper, but they’re more difficult to source.


#12

people should stop taking the prices mentioned in the campaign as the final prices. some part of these prices is a donation of a sort, helping fund the business. I’m sure we’ll see a significant price drop once Soylent (Nom?) is publicly available.


#13

I think the problem is that we-the-public have become pretty sceptical when any corporate or government “they” say that anything will be cheaper in a while. Hard to blame people when they have been lied to so frequently and persistently. Soylent is now a corporation and must expect to be subject to scepticism as such. All the more so when the officers of the company are conspicuous by their absence here on the forums – I know they are busy people at this stage, but at least one of them is supposed to be tasked with marketing and public communication. I’m sure many of us have searched Ensure and a multitude of other “meal replacement drinks” on the Internet and taken careful note of the ripoff prices that prevail in this sector. Soylent Corp. is going to need to prove that it is not like that. Consumers – even partisan consumers like virtually 100% of us here on this forum – are simply not going to take it on faith that Soylent will be cheap, easy and available as per the statements made in early days before the tremendous crowd-funding response turned this into such a big deal. Please understand – I’m not trying to be sarcastic or hostile, but rather to state the simple facts of life that Rob & Co will need to live with in order to succeed with Soylent.


#14

@J_Jeffrey_Bragg I’m not sure why you think they are absent from these forums. I have seen rob respond directly many times. If he is tagged I have seen him respond within a couple of hours.


#15

Also, I’ve been meaning to ask… Why is the shipping so expensive? I mean, shipping to a northern US state or to Canada should be about the same distance. Is it the customs? It seems a little odd to me that shipping across the ocean to the UK and shipping just next to the US to Canada would cost the same.


#16

Basically that’s why, @VirgaHyatt I’m quite well aware that he is here regularly and sometimes responds if tagged, but he and the other officers leave the impression of keeping a rather low profile and not answering very many questions. If that’s a mistaken impression, then so be it.


#17

It’s not uniformly expensive. There are some couriers who will ship relatively inexpensively into Canada, but others don’t compete very hard for that business. Many online stores offer Canadian shipping as an afterthought, and don’t get too fussed by the ridiculous shipping charges.


#18

You’re right, we haven’t been as proactive as we could be in monitoring and responding to the forum. Please do feel free to tag me if you would like a guaranteed response. Also please note that this forum’s original intent was to provide a space for people to discuss DIY Soylent, and bounce recipe/formula questions off Rob, rather than an official channel for communication with Soylent Corporation – it’s great that it’s evolving to encompass both roles.

Shipping is hard – a month’s or even week’s supply of Soylent has significant weight and volume, and the domestic shipping prices are artificially low because we’re able to use USPS flat-rate boxes – once we have to actually pay for the size/weight of the shipments, the price rises dramatically.


#19

@Julio_Miles Well, I suspect quite a few people here would be very grateful to know from you or Rob what the retail production price of Soylent will be once the production line, whosever it is and wherever it might be located, is up and running, doing its thing. I think a lot of people may be trying to plan their lives around this thing – I wouldn’t do it, but it sure sounds like quite a few are doing so, probably because their lifestyle, gastric and/or medical problems have left them with a certain feeling of desperation over daily problem of nourishment. Soylent sounds like a lifeline to many of these folks, but they need to know for sure what it will cost them, in order to make their plans. You guys have aroused some very powerful hopes and expectations and I hope you are prepared to ride the whirlwind. (BTW I hope you keep the name “Soylent” – “Nom” leaves me with the image of a fat baby sitting with a pacifier/dummy stuck in its mouth, I dunno why, it just does!) Julio, nobody is sure how this thing is going to be done, who’s going to actually produce it, where, what the distribution network will look like, what the price will be, or whether any of these things have even been finalised as yet.

Speaking of finalising! Several people have mentioned that “Soylent is open source.” That’s a little odd to me – because where IS this open source? I know a preliminary list of ingredients was published early on, but Rob declined to specify quantities and sources of those ingredients, citing safety concerns! Personally I would have thought it safer to publish such a list with full specifics, rather than having each and every DIYer trying to thrash out the details for himself; we’ve already seen a couple of people make scary mistakes, frightening themselves with unexpected bodily reactions. But yeah, “open source” – is it still open source if the code itself is not publicly posted anywhere? You tell me, I’m not a geek so I don’t know just how much disclosure is necessary in order to consider something open source. Also we know that Soylent has gone at least to v. 0.6 (because of the photo on the campaign page) and probably a lot further than that, but with only that early ingredients list actually posted publicly. The campaign page has said in its FAQ “We are almost done finalizing the Soylent formula” for – what? a week or ten days now? So… when will the definitive formula be unveiled?

Shipping – yah, that’s a tough one for everybody. It’s the first thing I look at whenever I go to buy something on eBay, because no matter how attractive the price, an exorbitant shipping rate can make the purchase uneconomic. You say “a month’s or even week’s supply of Soylent has significant weight and volume” – one thing I expect would help a lot of people would be to know what that weight and volume is for the various supply options. Right now we don’t know whether a month’s worth of Soylent is the size of a case of sardines or a case of paper towel rolls! That makes it tough to think effectively about the ins and outs of shipping. Three months of Soylent – a full pallet? half a pallet? or what?

People here on the forums really want to know this stuff…


#20

They already answered those question on other posts. I say this becouse I know what difficult it could be to people to go through all those posts to read those specific anwsers. And although they still deserved an answer, I supossed it is a little difficult to the staff from Soylent to do the same and answer to every question. And well, I’ve already read the same questions reapeted. And as the number of people interested in Soylent come to the forum, it will be like this over and over. So maybe you should consider putting all this questions with their respective answers in the FAQ. Start to accumulate them and publish them in the FAQ and as more of them appear, also putting them there. Like that, people on Soylent can just put a link to the FAQ if there’s a new guy that wants to know something it’s already been discussed. And you can focus and those new questions that deserve a proper answer from the staff. I also understand the idea of being close to your costumers and if that is and will be a policy on Soylent, I’ll be really glad. Anyway, is just an idea. Also, PLEASE forgive my english. I try to make all the sense I can. Thanks for all your effort on making out lifes easier and healthier.


#21

As Rob’s main motivation was fighting world hunger, offering a product that is more expensive than normal food in industrialised countries won’t help at all.
Food in third-world countries costs a fraction, to the point where you can feed yourself and your family with 20 bucks a month.

And since Rob started out advertising the monthly cost as being much lower (in the order of 150 $?) than normal food, I really do hope that the thing comes around and does not go the usual route.

And please no frappucino-mocha-latte-topping edition with +50$ extra. :wink:


#22

I don’t think Rob’s main motivation is fighting world hunger, I’ve read all his blog posts and I didn’t get that impression. It has the potential to help fight world hunger.

He was trying to solve his “taco, pizza, pasta problem”. Looking at Soylent ingredients, you can see the focus is not price. It focus on quality and “completeness”. And it should be kept that way.
No one is going to manage feeding the world with US whey protein isolate.

There are other Soylent-like(and successful) initiatives which focus on world hunger.
Wawa Mum is complete nutrition paste for babies and children. Current production in Pakistan 200 metrics tons per month. 10p per 50g packet. www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/01/start/whats-inside

BTW @rob, stop talking about things like “world hunger” and “in-house wood stoves deaths”. Keep it to more realistic problems, like saving time, food waste, health…


#23

@talvik Thx, very interesting link.


#24

Thanks, Jeff, for putting your thoughts down. I think you’re expressing what many here are thinking.

In terms of realistic size/weight per day, I can provide my expectation. 2500 calories per day for men would have a weight of 625 grams based on 4 calories per gram for carbs. Fats are more calorie dense, but there are minerals and other things to account for. Maltodextrin has a density of 0.5 g/mL, so 625 calories should be approximately 1.25 L (5 cups for Americans). Thus, a week’s supply would weigh 4.375 grams (about 10 lbs) and have a volume of 8.75 L (35 cups) or 0.31 cubic feet. This will be moderately costly to ship, but a month’s supply should not be prohibitive. Maybe Soylent should work out a distribution deal with Amazon. If they only have a handful of SKUs, this should not become too costly or capital intensive in terms of inventory.


#25

That’s not the price of it… you’re not buying Soylent right now, you’re donating money to the company’s startup, and as a reward, you’re getting a month’s supply. The people doing the DIY versions, I’ve seen quotes of around 3-5$ US a day, so a month would be roughly 100$, and that’s buying the bits individually, not a completed formula pre-mixed and shipped.


#26

I’m reassured then. Thanks. Now the dilemma, am I going to “buy” some while it’s still expensive or wait some more~?


#27

I went for the two week myself. You might look at one of the DIY things and see if you can get small quantities of the ingredients and try it yourself, and see what happens… or just wait another few weeks and see how it goes. If we all drop dead I’ll try and post a message before dying to warn you off. :smiley:


#28

@JulioMiles I regret to say that I agree with you; monitoring and response have been very spotty and scarce considering the interest and enthusiasm demonstrated on this forum. I have heard some people say that it would be a shame if you guys were to walk away from your fanbase – implying that they fear this might in fact be happening.

I tagged you three days ago, hoping for that “guaranteed response” but I’m sad to say that it never came and so I’m tagging you once more in hope of seeing a few basic questions answered, not questions of my own so much as questions that are in most folks’ minds here. You can read them in the post in which I first tagged you – who’s going to actually be making Soylent and where, what are the anticipated retail prices expected to be once the product is in production and the online store up and running, when will the final and definitive “open source” list of ingredients, quantities and sources be published (if ever – but if it is never published how can you pretend it’s “open source”), what are the shipping dimensions and weights for the various available order sizes. I think those were the main questions; there’s a bit more detail in my previous post to you on this thread. Thanks in advance for taking the time and trouble to tell folks here what they want and need to know.
@JulioMiles


#29

@J_Jeffrey_Bragg, from the tone of your posts I get the impression that you believe our relationship with the forums and our supporters is in bad faith. Please understand that the process of getting something like Soylent developed, manufactured, and shipped is not trivial. If you feel that we haven’t been forthcoming with the answers to the questions you so thoroughly outlined above, it’s because we don’t have them or cannot publicly release them yet.

Our manufacturer? We haven’t signed the final contract with them, so we cannot disclose their name or location (other than that they’re US based and highly respected, with decades of experience creating high-quality nutritional supplements).

Retail prices? Less than the current prices. By how much? When we know, so will you.

Shipping size/weight? A day’s supply of Soylent is 500g. Multiply by 7 to get the weight of a week’s supply, and again by 4 to get a month’s. We haven’t decided how it’ll be packaged, so size is unknown at the moment. When we know, we’ll be sharing it with you.

Final formula? We’ll publish it once it’s complete. The Soylent formula is at v0.7 now, and will not be considered final before it reaches v1.0. Obviously it will be complete prior to our ship date in August, and so the final ingredients list and nutritional breakdown will be published before then.

@rob is dedicated to open-sourcing this recipe, I have no reason to believe that it will not be open-sourced once it is complete.

Pretty much, please just be patient with us as we work through this process – we would love to be able to answer every question that you guys may have regarding the composition, logistics, and economics of Soylent, but that’s just not possible at the moment.


Soylent Shipping Blog Update 8/26
#30

I’m happy to tell you that your impression is incorrect, Julio. I have no belief one way or the other and would not wish to accuse anyone without evidence. I only pass along what I’m hearing here and there.

You have now given exactly what was needed – a progress report of sorts (even if the report consists of saying that there is as yet nothing to report). Communication is all – “only connect.”

You’re right, I think many if not most of us are feeling a certain degree of impatience to know more about the final shape of things for soylent. One issue that I would like to mention that is of particular concern to me, which has been discussed a few times here on the forum, is the oat powder. Some of us are concerned about the phytate issue and would like to know whether raw oat powder is likely to be a carb source in the final version of the soylent formula. Is it still in v. 0.7, or has it perhaps already been scrubbed? Has the phytic acid matter been seriously investigated?

Thanks very much for your response to my post. Please understand that I am neither hostile nor critical, only interested and concerned. I do think that community feedback should be regarded as useful and important to Soylent Corp. during this developmental phase when crucial issues are being decided. These days, given so many secrecy-related issues in the broader world, people are sensitive to the feeling or the fear that crucial decisions might be happening behind closed doors without community feedback or input. You guys created this forum and not surprisingly it has taken on a life and direction of its own; we are all hoping that you are listening to the deliberations here. It helps when you make it obvious you are doing so. Again thanks.
@JulioMiles