Packaging (and shipping)


#1

I received my first Soylent (two weeks worth) and so far it is great. I could not be any happier with the product itself. But the packaging really needs some thought. First of all the shipping box is at least twice as big as it really needs to be so there is obviously room for improvment.

I appreciate that each days worth of Soylent is sealed in an airtight package that should keep the contents fresh for many months. The package also allows the bag to be re-sealed after opening. That is very nice but that is not really a necessity for me, and I suspect a large majority of the other users. I simply dump the entire package into the blender to make 2 liters of Soylent every two days (I am only eating it for breakfast and lunch). So the extra expense of having a re-sealable bag is wasted on me.

Also the size of each bag appears to be much larger than necessary. The bag is also difficult to pour into the blender without spilling Soylent on the counter. I think for my use a large can (like a 5 pound coffee can) with a plastic recloseable lid would work much better. If the can could hold 5 bags of Soylent storage would be much easier. And I would have a use for the measuring cup they sent me.

If the cans could be made square then they would fit together in the shipping box and it would be possible to send three weeks of Soylent in the same size box they ship a single weeks supply now.

I am not an industrial designer, but I bet if they hired one for a few weeks they could save tons of money on shipping and packaging.


#2

I would guess that it may be more expensive [for Soylent] to have more package options, at least for now. I know that is the case for a friend who sells his product online. Things do change with scale etc., OFC.


#3

They are already in the process of redesigning the packaging. I’m not sure what the final result will be, but the over all size of the shipping boxes should be smaller (I think it should be at least half the size it is now).

Some people have suggested they go to a vacuum packed ‘brick’ like some coffee is sold in.

I don’t think they will save much on shipping because most shipping is priced by weight which will not change.

For the time being, if you fold the pouch opening in half (after you’ve ripped the top off) you can put the whole thing inside the blender or pitcher without spilling anything.


#4

Another consideration we have to make with regards to packaging is spoilage. The more you open a container and expose it to air, the quicker sensitive micronutrients (like vitamin C and K) oxidize and become ineffective. However, if you just want to make a single meal you can use the scoop to create single servings at a time and re-seal the bag. The zipper on the current bag isn’t the best but our next batch has improved zippers for resealing.


#5

Is there any data on how many people are making single servings? Based on my usage, making single servings seems unlikely.


#6

I don’t think it’s off base to assume that most people will make an entire bag at a time - the convenience of the pitcher plus the fact that prepared Soylent will last about two days means that everyone from 50% users to 100% users will likely have no need to make less than a full bag at a time.

That said, the bags are definitely convenient and supplying a greater amount in one container (like the coffee can) would definitely have other repercussions with regards to spoilage, as Matt mentioned. I suspect you’ll see a decent amount of single-serving use when people are traveling or spending time outdoors and carrying any rigid container of liquid larger than a Nalgene bottle becomes impractical.


#7

The re-sealable bag would certainly be more practical for traveling. But I am more focused on how to store a months supply in my existing pantry. How quickly do the nutrients degrade after being exposed to oxygen? Does a week in sealed container with oxygen do any harm?

If I had a canister with a weeks worth of Soylent that could be closed air tight I think it would be much easier to store and use each day. I know I can open five bags and dump them in, it just seems to be a waste of packaging.


#8

I’d love to see some real stats on how long a package is good when exposed to oxygen, regardless of the packaging situation. It seems like something that should be included with the instruction booklet so that people know what they can/can’t safely do.

From what I’ve seen, whenever anyone asks about Soylent exposure to oxygen it’s been discouraged so I imagine a large canister could pose some spoilage issues if you don’t consume it quickly, but I can’t imagine a week would ruin your supply as long as you don’t end up taking too long use it all.

I’m with you on the waste of packaging, either way. The bags (and oil bottles) are super convenient but my inner environmentalist died a little inside when I opened the first box in my month’s supply and saw all of the packaging I’d be disposing of. It’s not the worst though; have you ever seen that snack service, Graze? I signed up for a box from them at an introductory price of $1 and the packaging was some of the most wasteful I’d seen, depressing to think of ordering a few of those boxes every week.


#9

I’d love to see clear oil bottles with 1/2 meal increment markers on the side. If I’m making just a meal or two, it’d be nice to know how much oil to add.


#10

You are smart.

This would also work with larger bottles - at the cost of convenience - with half-meal and whole-meal markers (Soylent-units?) so they wouldn’t have to ship so many tiny ones, which would probably help with overhead.

Though finding the right size for everyone is important so they can make use of the savings from bulk orders


#11

Clear bottles aren’t really an option since light is the other great enemy to polyunsaturated fats. We are looking into adding a clear line on the side or perhaps just having the lines on the bottle and then letting the customer eyeball it by holding the bottle up to light.


#12

That was actually my first thought when jlagen mentioned ‘clear’ bottles; I’m sure the costs are higher for that little strip but it would be pretty awesome (and would open up the option of sending fewer bottles per shipment)


#13

If the bottle makes it easy to measure out correct portions, can the bottle be large enough to hold an entire weeks worth of oil?

May you could use a bottle like they sell two cycle motor oil that is squeezed to fill an upper measuring cup. Those bottles make it very easy to pour a measured amount.