Is Soylent a luxury product?


#1

Hi, I’ve tried my best to inform myself recently on this very intriguing product which has huge potential.
So, forgive me if I’ve got something wrong.

As it stands the current price for one person for one week is $65 which is $260 dollars per month.
Some people say that the cost will eventually go down by 30% which translates to $182.

I’m sorry but I’ve completely lost interest right there with this exorbitant pricing since I spend $80 dollars on food. One person, one month - $80 and that’s without even thinking about saving on food.
I’m not sure what’s going on here, is this an American thing where you order pizzas and eat at restaurants every day so this seems cheap to you?

Also, this is indeed in conflict with your initial videos and intent for this product. If you intend this to be a luxury product just say so, there is no reason to be deceitful about it.

P.S.
When is the expected release and worldwide distribution, specifically to EU countries?


#2

Compare the health benefits, the cost of storing, shopping for, cooking, and the time spent doing each of those things, and include that with your $80 per month in food. It’s not a dollar for dollar comparison.

For example: How much is your time worth? Of the 2 hours per week shopping, 40-ish minutes per day cooking and preparing and eating food, 20 minutes per day cleaning up after meals, cost of gas and electricity to keep it cool and cook it. Your $80 comes with 68+ hours spent on overhead. Doing a pure Soylent diet comes with 20 minutes a day overhead, for around 6 hours per month.

For most people who eat convenient food (fast food meals, hot pockets, delivery) Soylent is very cheap. Eating fast food meals can easily bring the daily cost to $20+ dollars per day. The subsequent multivitamins and other supplements and snack and whatnot to round out the diet cost more as well.

In your case, you wouldn’t save money directly, but you’d save time. If you’re a passionate foodie and you delight in making culinary wonders on $80 a month, then Soylent isn’t necessarily going to be for you.Then again, I’d bet there’s a middle ground where you could replace 2 meals a day with Soylent and cook your third. This would bring your monthly cost to around $200 at the high end and $130 on the low end.

Add in long term health benefits and other less concrete factors and you can see that Soylent as a product isn’t just about the calories per dollar. Its cheapness is relative in those terms. Americans with bad food habits will definitely save money, relative to what they spend on poor food choices. Those in your position will spend more money, but gain more time. It’s up to you to determine whether that’s salient to your situation. If not, more power to you!

To round it out, if your time is worth $10/hr , Soylent’s time savings easily cover the cost over regular food. Even at half that it pays for itself.


#3

@jrowe47 beat me to it, but I think I approach this from a different angle.

You raise some valid concerns.

As far as we know, the prices you state are correct. However, to make this a fair comparison to your $80 a month, we need to know what you get for those 80 dollars. For $182 you get 2200 kCal daily, which includes al the micronutrients your body needs. If you, for example, only need 1500 kCal per day, the comperative price drops to $124. I ask you to take this into consideration, and remember that Soylent is aiming to be a complete source of nutrition.

Furthermore, where do you live? I live in The Netherlands, and if I buy my protein powder on a sale, I can make a soylent for ±$4 a day. Cost of living is much higher in America than in most other countries, this goes doubly so for anything resembling healthy food. See this chart with average food costs for USDA’s meal plans.

I believe the estimated delivery for the rest of the world is Q3-Q4 2014, but you should check blog.soylent.me for accurate information on that.


#4

Yes, I am willing to add $20 for all of that rounding it up to $100 per month, just because I recognize that it contains a nutritional scope and quality that neither me, nor anyone else would acquire on their own for obvious reasons no matter how diverse is your shopping habit.
That is still well below the price, not to mention that I already don’t think about saving on food and still spend only $80.

The other thing is that this is a product that people would buy regularly for the rest of their lives. It’s not a one thing deal, so it’s like oil. I’m pretty sure that means a different pricing system is needed.


#5

I see now that people elsewhere, in the youtube comments section of the videos complain about the price.
One Canadian said that he also spends much less money on food and Canada has one of the highest food prices.

So the price is definitely an issue, for me now it makes it completely out of consideration, despite the obvious benefits.


#6

you cant live off ramen your whole life, i basically did in high school, yes its cheap but i certainly wasnt getting all my macros and micros, if your only spending 80 a month you are probably not eating very healthy


#7

Yes – and they’ve strongly implied this is planned for the future. But first they actually have to figure out what a stable business model is, as this is an entirely new product – and that’s just going to take time and data, no way around it.

To draw a direct parallel, when they tried to make an exact estimate of their shipping dates far in advance, it turned out… less than accurate. That makes a pretty good case against trying to do the same for projecting a future pricing system.

Also, just a few points directly regarding the $80/month budget

These first two have already been mostly gone over – first, if you consume less than 2200cal/day, the price of Soylent could shrink to closer to $150, or even around $120/month for some people (I know at least one person on the forum plans on under 1500cal/day). It’s been stated that depending on caloric need, anywhere from 2/3 to 1/2 a bag is still nutritionally solid. Combined with a Soylent price increase, and the consideration of time value of money, that could make things closer (if not breaking even).

Second, it’s pretty hard to get a complete diet on $80/month. I pay less than Soylent in monthly groceries too, but I’m aware my diet isn’t the best. However, depending on your definition of the word, you may define “nutritionally perfect diet” as a “luxury product”. There’s nothing really wrong with that, it’s a good point that most people don’t get something like this, there’s a point there. But the point of Soylent is to make it less of a luxury than the time and money you would otherwise have to spend to get the same quality from shopping.

Third, I’ll accept that maybe you are, personally, naturally great at buying groceries. Maybe you’re making some really healthy meals out of simple ingredients. That’s awesome, and in that case, more power to you, maybe Soylent isn’t something you really need. I am likely not as good at groceries as you though, and neither are a lot of people. And that’s where this project really excels, with people who would like to eat better, but don’t have the time/tools needed to nutritionally overhaul their shopping.


#8

This topic has been discussed many times before. See here http://discourse.soylent.me/t/cost-prohibitive/9768/7 and http://www.reddit.com/r/soylent/wiki/faq

Soylent isn’t for everyone. Maybe it’s not for you.


#9

I don’t think there’s been any deceit here. It’s a luxury almost by definition; this product trades convenience for cost vs. established solutions to the problem of daily nutrition. Luxury is relative though. Compared with what we think people had to do 100, 1000 or 10000 years ago to feed themselves, what you’re getting for $80/mo is probably luxurious. It’s probably luxurious compared with what people in the third world have to do today.

$80/mo up front for excellent nutrition is possible in America, but I suspect many Americans are not enjoying excellent nutrition at $80/mo. I’m very lazy, I’m closer to $80/week for all food and drink, and my nutrition is horrible by any measure. I’ve fed myself much better for much less up-front although I spent a lot more time sourcing, preparing and cleaning up. Soylent represents an improvement in convenience and nutrition for me vs. my current diet with lower up front and total cost. I’ll take it.

This is not targeted at you specifically, but I do not understand why there are so many people vocally opposed to Soylent, who want to get on forums, etc. and complain about the cost, the perceived danger, the ‘wrongness’ of it, etc. No one has decreed that the world’s food supply will be replaced by Soylent. If someone - for example, you - is happily solving their nutrition problem for less money today, that is great! I’m not one of those people, and right now I think I might be happier if most of my nutrition was provided by a product like Soylent, so I am looking forward to the opportunity to find out.


#10

some chose beans and rice and ramen, and complain that soylent is more expensive… how about 100% of rda for 8 a day and see how you feel,


#11

Does anyone know how Soylent compares to this, it doesn’t say for how many meals that can fits.


#12

Long story short, anyone outside of America sees this as vastly overpriced compared to our current outlay on food shopping. A large chunk of the user-base (as lovely as they all are) can’t seem to wrap their heads around this fact, assuming that people spending $80 a month feeding one person are eating noodles and not much else. I’m not going to bore you with a copy of my weekly shopping list, unless you are actually interested, but we really can buy a lot of food for this kind of cash and it’s not just a load of carby crap.

Across the pond we really like the idea of this product, we are just concerned that because it is seen as cheap over in the US the price will never change to the extent where it becomes viable for us too. Hopefully the Soylent team will set up a franchise over here. Sourcing and manufacturing in Europe will drive the costs down significantly, but I fear it will be a long way off before anything like that happens.

Patience…


#13

Actually I would be interested to learn (from @manmade, @permanentspace, or anyone) what a typical day’s meals are when spending $80/month or $3/day on food. I’m currently spending quite a bit more than that.


#14

[quote=“manmade, post:12, topic:10271”]A large chunk of the user-base (as lovely as they all are) can’t seem to wrap their heads around this fact,assuming that people spending $80 a month feeding one person are eating noodles and not much else. I’m not going to bore you with a copy of my weekly shopping list, unless you are actually interested, but we really can buy a lot of food for this kind of cash and it’s not just a load of carby crap.
[/quote]

Yes, I’m continually surprised when people here automatically assume you buy bare bones food for $80 or less than that. There is obviously a huge disparity between USA and the rest of the world, even Canada, their closest neighbor.
This is why it is worrying that this start-up company is situated in USA, they need to get out of their bubble if they don’t want to remain local.


#15

Even in America, it is possible to buy a varied, nutritious, calorie rich diet at a price less than soylent. Things like rice, legumes, nuts, chicken, certain cuts of pork, many fruits and vegetables, shrimp and eggs are relatively cheap at the local grocery store where I live. The main items that drive up the cost of grocery shopping is milk, most beef and anything prepared. The difference remains in nutrition and time. The time issue has already been brought out in detail. I think it is worth mentioning that though a lot of people think they prepare healthy meals, those meals pale in comparison to optimal nutrition. I am personally going the diy route. In my research; the more I learn, the more I feel my current “healthy” diet is incredibly deficient. But, like others said, soylent is not for everyone.


#16

That is $57 for less than 4 days worth of calories. So It takes 6.25 cans for your day supply of calories.
So to live off of that stuff it would cost you $447.85 a month. Drinking 6+ of those a day just to meet your caloric needs would give you WAY more of your recommended RDI of everything.


#17

Ambro is luxury. Soylent just isn’t for the poor yet.


#18

The bottom line comes down to the bottom line. They have to market Soylent to what they can afford, plus a reasonable profit margin (read: what people will pay for it.) They have people helping them price the product to its market, and they have to account for the fact that the relatively wealthy American consumers will pay more for a product like this than others will.

This isn’t about optimizing price, it’s optimizing convenience and nutrition. That factors into the price people will pay. $260/month is the upper bound, but I’d bet we could see the price drop to $180 once things hit full swing. They could market individual meals for slightly higher prices, like $2.50 for a grab & go package you’d get at a convenience store, and ramp that down to $1 meals when bought in bulk. $180 is a highly reasonable cost, and you’d find people impulse buying wherever they’re sold at the higher individual prices.

You can make complete nutrition DIY Soylent for less than $100 a month, requiring lots of effort, isolated chemical sources (sometimes dangerous,) having measuring equipment, and so forth. You could potentially get the costs below $80, by bulk ordering ingredients (real industrial bulk, not faux Costco bulk.) The initial cost would be huge, you’re looking at weeks on a computer tweaking measurements, and hours of experimenting with putting the stuff together to get a useable version. It might be worthwhile, for example, to find organizations that can work out the logistics, like food banks and charities, maybe school districts or other centralized groups. In that context, you could get the type of ultra-low cost meals that Soylent Corp (et al) isn’t providing right now.

The long term prospects and spinoffs of Soylent are breathtaking, but you have to take the current product in its appropriate context - it’s a commercial product, and a relative luxury for most non-US users.

I’m still of the opinion that the time savings alone justify the current cost, but what do I know. I’m just some rich American. :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

OK @whynolentils, bear in mind this is for a family of 3, so it’s not quite the same as the OPs $80 a month. I would estimate I spend about £30 every week on;
5 different types of fruit (typically bananas, oranges, grapes, strawberries and apples, though it varies).
2 loaves of wholemeal bread, 2 packs of fruit bagels, 1 pack of crumpets.
2 split packs of chicken breast fillets (4 meals worth of meat there), 1 or 2 packs of mince beef. 2 packs of sandwich meat.
2 multipacks of 6 yoghurts, 1 pack of kiddy yoghurt, 1 block of cheese, 1 bottle of semi-skimmed milk 4pts.
3 cartons of fruit juice 1L.

Then I spend another £10 - £15 a week on the things that last a bit longer, depending on what I have just run out of;
Large bag of rice, large bag of pasta, potatoes and carrots in winter/salad leaves in summer, onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, sausages, bacon, eggs, some pre-made sauces now and then. You get the picture I’m sure.

Suffice to say, We eat fruit and yoghurts for breakfast, sandwiches for dinner with more fruit snacks, tea is the big meal with lots of different options. I can’t claim to be hitting 100% nutrition and never would, this is why Soylent piqued my interest in the first place, but only if it was a similar cost to what I currently spend. Buying Soylent for my partner and I and feeding the little one would run us up over £100 a week and more than doubling my food bill isn’t an option. The depressing thing is all the hype surrounding Soylent includes how cheap it is, when it really isn’t if you are outside of the US. I REALLY want to try it, but it just isn’t practical within my means, which goes against what is coming out of the company.


#20

A healthy bare metal diet option close to the minimum could be 1x Soylent per day, and add a lot of cheap macros like potatos, pasta, rice to your diet ( or just continue your current diet)

So you have a good base level of all the micros you need. Less then recommended optimal, but still reasonably well.