Pricing not feasible


#1

Currently, my fiance and I spend roughly $200 on food for the two of us per month.

The price of Soylent makes it completely unfeasible as even a supplementary food source to anyone who lives in the real world.

The reason so many Americans are living on incredibly unhealthy diets is because it’s the only affordable option - and at these prices, Soylent is simply another premium foodie product for upper-class rich kids with no financial responsibilities.

That didn’t seem to be the goal, and I’ll be the first to order it if it ever drops into a working-class price range. But currently, as it is priced, it does not even vaguely fulfill any of its lofty aspirations to ubiquity. A packet of turkey and cheap wheat bread cost me ~$5.00, and net me at least half a dozen meals. Crappy, unhealthy meals, but the only ones I can afford.

Will Soylent ever drop to a normal American’s price range? Or is this simply not a product for us, and we should go back where we belong? Is your product food, or simply a high-priced novelty?


#2

I expect the price will go down with time.

DIY soylent costs much less. If you eat 2 meals/day of DIY soylent (like I do), depending on your recipe, it will cost you $100/month. This leaves you $100/month to spend on dinner and “real” food. There are some upfront costs with making it yourself (scale, supplements in bulk, etc.) but in the long run it ends up costing much less.


#4

As it stands now, the economics of Soylent get worse the more people there are in a household since food waste is usually less of an issue. I know plenty of working class people who easily spend $200 per month just feeding themselves, and a lot of that food is either fresh food that gets wasted when it expires or fast or frozen food. The notion that $9 per day for complete nutrition makes a “premium foodie product for upper-class rich kids with no financial responsibilities” is extremely off base.

That said, the price is definitely still pretty steep for a nutrient slurry; hopefully Rosa Labs will be able to bring it down in the near future. They’ve said before (citation needed) that finding ways to lower costs is their intention, but time will tell.


#5

Only 8% of Americans spend as little as you do (and you spend half of what that lowest group does) and the average is over $600 a month for a single person.

You also spend less (about half) than the average for the cheapest food plan according to the government.

Even if you are spending a sixth of average (per the first link) and half of the lowest estimate (second link) none of your projections onto the population as a whole are accurate. Then considering that you’re comparing Soylent to a wholly unhealthy diet seems to put another nail in this discussion. We have to start with reality if we want to have a good conversation about anything.


#6

I won’t be able to do Soylent full time at the current price, but after my first two weeks, if I just stick to the 2 week price and do two meals a day Monday through Friday, then it will end up costing me less than my budget for my breakfast/lunch budget which is still pretty low.

I’m in Maryland as well, and if I don’t catch sales for certain items my budget is shot for the week.


#7

Two things to consider adding to you $200USD a moth cost.

  1. Cost of gas to get to and from the grocery store (Soylent has shipping included in its price).
  2. Time spent shopping for food (i.e. you spend 1 hour a week shopping, and you value your time at say $5USD an hour)

I don’t know how you can get 2 people to live off of $200USD a month, without coupons or food stamps or some sort of supplementary method. Then again, I am a larger individual.


#8

It’s definitely possible if you don’t have any standards for nutrition. When times were tough in the past I’ve gone a couple of weeks by scrounging up quarters to buy individual packs of Top Ramen while trying to catch up on cash advances that were needed for last month’s rent. Lunch meat and wonderbread can deliver quite a few calories on the dollar.

You know you’re on tough times when you’re buying individual packs of ramen because the economy packs are too expensive haha


#9

If you get a 1 time shipment, you have to pay for shipping.

I agree here, I can’t eat Ramen for most of my meals… but adding Rice would help keep the cost down.


#10

Wow Khyron42, you are to be commended for living off roughly 3$ a day per person, but your world view and place in it need to be adjusted. To say:

is just crazy. While everyone would like things to be cheaper, most living below the poverty line in the US spend more than you do to eat. I am a single guy, and certainly no trust fund and 300$ a month is about the best I can hope for what I spend on unhealthy food. I’m sure a poor family can do better with economies of scale if someone is cooking at home and being careful, but to think that 9$ a day makes this for the upper-class rich is just ridiculous. The last meal I had at Burger King cost most of that.


#11

There was another price thread a while back, and I remember budgets varied wildly from person to person, there was not much consensus on what an “average” meal cost. I agree with OP’s sentiment, though calling it a “premium foodie product for upper-class rich kids” might have been a bit harsh. Not trying to turn this into a pissing match, but spending under $100 a month on food isn’t even a challenge for me. That’s eating decent healthy food, NOT living off of ramen and mac & cheese. So yeah, price is definitely a concern. Some people here seem to have a hard time accepting not everyone eats like they do.


#12

I’ve been adding fish roe to my soylent and I can tell you that at $375 an ounce, this def isn’t cheap…Oh and pardon me, but could you please pass the Grey Poupon?


#13

That’s exactly what most of the responses to OP – as well as countless forum threads and a number of Soylent-positive articles – have been saying, explicitly or otherwise. Whether it’s possible to eat a healthy diet on a budget isn’t really the question because it’s quantifiable.

The defense here comes from the statistics that bear out the fact that most people either choose not to or are unable to live on such a low budget (especially people who live alone). For a great many of those people, Soylent pricing is not only feasible but competitive.

It can still be a lot cheaper, but that’s a far cry from the point made by OP. Not to mention the dubious definition of ‘working class’ that has been employed


#14

I’m glad someone pointed this out, so that I don’t have to.

And I’m sure that as volume goes up the production price will come down. The same can be said about buying in bulk, shipping price will come down (since you’re paying for fewer deliveries).

Still, food prices will go up with inflation… and unless you’re doing and apples to apples comparison (healthy alternative vs Soylent) you’re not ever going to be able to support the desired conclusion (Soylent should be cheaper).

FYI - this comes across as antagonistic and reduces my overall sympathy for your plight. You would do well to consider improving how you present these kinds of opinions if you are seeking support for your ideas.


#15

Where I live, it’s hard to get lunch for less than $10, let alone a well balanced day of nutrition.

If you are living on less than a $5/day food budget, that is far below “normal American”, $15 is far closer to median. If your budget is less than $5, I highly suggest looking into what forms of government assistance you qualify for.


#16

650 or so calories from a peanut butter sandwich seems doable for much less than $10, anywhere in the country. Unless there’s places that don’t sell peanut butter or bread? Maybe a 7-11 convenience store type place would have enough of a markup that an entire loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter are more than $10, but even then the per meal cost?

Of course, I don’t want to eat a bunch of peanut butter sandwiches and the nutrition would not be great - but it’s doable and cheap.


#17

To be fair, saying what it costs to “get” lunch in your area is not a valid comparison. The OP is working from a budget where “getting” is simply not an option. He’s bringing his lunch, and you could do that in your area for a lot less than $10 a meal.


#18

Your picture says “$180 … including shipping for $25” with the shipping in a finer off colored text. If you change the shipping to something more than $25, they will only cover $25 of it. When I go through the check out process the shipping method says “Standard Shipping - FREE”. It might be your picture is outdated.


#19

@Eryk
f you can afford to live off fast food, your situation is not even vaguely comparable. Living in an “expensive area” means that you can afford to live there or are provided housing. Your wage is juuust shy of double mine.

In fact, that seems to be the message in most of this thread - “If you were already wildly over-spending on food, Soylent lets you do it more healthily!”

@Matt88
My fiance works at Wal-Mart, where we shop, so there is no additional gas expenditure.

@nwoll27
The cost is $10 per day unless you can afford to pay over $100 in a single payment, something people with normal adult bills and low incomes cannot do!

@aoxfordca
DIY soylent recipes involve an initial investment of between $150 and $300, equally unfeasible on our budget. “If you had much more money, you could save a ton of money!”

@gambit
It’s actually something of a shock to me that I’m in such a low bracket, although I imagine there are many people using government assistance to bridge the gap. I definitely spend $150-$200, because we buy every week and if my total reaches $60, I reload the items into my cart and cut down my purchase until it’s under the limit. Your post seems to amount to “You are too poor to participate in this discussion”.

@materialsguy
Again quoting the misleading $9 figure (that $1 difference is a $30 difference per month, a sizeable percentage of our budget). Also, again, you can afford to spend $300 on food. If you have recently eaten at Burger King, you are in a totally different economic world than mine.

@OmegaJeff
So you can both afford to live in an area where meals cost $10, AND you can afford to spend $10 on a meal? You sir, are living in a delusion if you think you are qualified to discuss harsh economic conditions. What’s your rent, pray? Are there NO grocery stores within 10 miles of you? And exactly what income is allowing you to maintain this lifestyle?

@inod3
Peanut butter is probably something like a quarter of our caloric intake - cheese is also a big one.

@Discourse391
Trying to compare healthy alternatives is utterly irrelevant. Your failure to grasp that basic idea means that you have never faced serious economic realities, and that you are operating from false, frankly naive assumptions that people on normal incomes can even come CLOSE to attaining healthy diets.

Your second point, that I’m “reducing overall sympathy” for myself among the community here is particularly puzzling. The community here is exactly the problem - it’s a community of people much more well-off than they seem to realize. I’m not asking for support from this community - I’m providing the feedback that the community here doesn’t represent people in my situation, or for that matter the people Soylent was supposedly originally designed for.

This thread itself is a bitter indictment of your “community” - a deluge of condescending “advice” from exactly the upper-class rich-kid foodies I described.


#20

Yikes. I am certainly not a “rich-kid” but I make a decent living. I’m currently working full-time and am studying to earn my MBA without student loans (I hate being in debt). Tuition puts a squeeze on my finances, to be sure… not to mention my time, which is why soylent is really valuable to me.

You seem to be correct that we are not in the same socioeconomic class. I prefer to refrain from stereotyping and name-calling though. Best of luck to you in your search for low-cost, nutritious meals. I’m sorry to hear S/soylent isn’t the answer for you.


#21

Khyron42,
I won’t argue that you may be in a worse economic situation than I and that Soylent is too expensive for you, but the reason you feel you are “getting a deluge of condescending “advice” from upper-class rich-kid foodies” is a direct result of the antagonistic tone you took in your initial post.

Please re-read your opening post. You claim Soylent is completely unfeasible for anyone who lives in the real world. Soylent is only for upper-class rich kids with no financial responsibilities.

This is just not an accurate representation of what reasonable food costs are in the US.

The bottom 20% average 3200$ a year on food. They also spend roughly 16% of their income. So as a single guy, if I make 20,000 a year then on average I am spending close to 300$ a month on food. 20,000 is not rich, and is more than I make.

A single person can qualify for SNAP (food stamps) below 1250$ a month, but benefits are reduced by 0.3 x salary because the government assumes you are spending 30% of your income on food. So people that qualify for SNAP are thought to spend close to 400$ a month on food.

When I ordered Soylent they charged me 255$ for 28 days including shipping. The reality you don’t seem to want to hear is that this amount is below what many ‘poor’ spend on food. It is not out of the price range of all but the rich.

If you wrote your post as " I am desperately poor and can only afford 100$ a month for food, how long until Soylent can help me?" I think you would have received a sympathetic response from most on these boards. Half my meals come from a DIY recipe that costs 4$ a day, lowering costs is a theme for many of the DIY people.

But no, you come on the boards and start off with " if you can afford to drink Soylent then your just the idle rich with no financial responsibilities" and you are surprised when the responses you get are confrontational?

Frankly I’m surprised at how polite all the responses to your posts have been.