Product Idea/Question


#1

I’m really excited about this Soylent as a product and as a idea, and I just had an idea of my own that hopefully was already thought of. Looking at the ingredients list, I can’t help but notice how it might break down into different categories: Flour, Protein, Salt, Flavoring, Sweetener, Oils, other assorted ingredients for mouthfeel/texture, and the Vitamin and Mineral blend I’m sure has taken a good portion of the R&D time to figure out.

My idea actually comes from how you already package the product, which out of necessity comes in a dry packet and an oil packet (which gets mixed with water). I think it would be nice if a future version of the product came more compartmentalized. People have favorites, and I would think being able to mix and match at least some of the major ingredients would lend a sense of individualization and customization that the all-in-one product currently lacks.

For example, I’m not too fond of the idea of using Sucralose as a sweetener. Currently, I don’t have much of a choice but to take the mix as is, but if the Sucralose were in separate sugar packets, that would allow me to sub in a sweetener of my own like honey or agave or raw sugar.

For another example, if the protein were in it’s own protein packet, and someone reguarly uses protein shakes/drinks when they go to the gym, they can mix their current protein drink (which usually has sweetners and some of the other ingredients) and actually be able to modify the percentage of protein in the shake.

If eventually the Vitamin and Mineral mixture were sold separately, I think this would allow for the ultimate ability to mix and match for a consumer market because this is the core of what I consider to be the idea behind Soylent. Many of the other ingredients can be purchased separately at a supermarket easily, and the separation allows people to make their own substitutions where they might want to. There could even be an experimental group that finds good mixes with other ingredients that would taste as good as the finished product Soylent will be, and include it as a sort of cookbook with the Vitamin/Mineral mix.

I apologize for my first posting being an idea like this, but I am really excited by Soylent and I wanted to share my ideas in case it hasn’t been thought of yet.


#2

How about something that is vegan or vegetarian friendly by replacing the fish oil with say algae produced oil if what you’re looking for is a DHA and Omega3 source.and replacing any other ingredients that are animal derived. You would find yourself appealing to a much broader market in doing so.


#3

Define “much.”

From what I can tell, the market of “vegans who are interested in purchasing powdered food replacements” is, in fact, rather small. Most people who are socially conscious enough to go full vegan are generally uninterested in unnatural food stuffs.

Not a criticism, but I’m just pointing out that complicating their production and packaging process for a very small number of consumers who are just as likely to leave it as not isn’t sound business sense.


#4

I believe this is already the plan. As of the last update I heard, the fish oil was the only animal derived component, and is only being used because they cannot currently obtain a vegan DHA/O3 source in the quantities needed for such a large production volume.


#5

I have been buying an algae-based oil for many years, don’t know why it should be that difficult to culture algae in great quantities. In reply to the person saying there would not be enough vegan interest, I’m sure there will be many tending towards a vegetarian diet who would use it and there are many more of those than pure vegans who also don’t eat fish products either. Many of those are vegan wannabees afraid of not getting enough nutrition who will use Soylent as an excuse to go that route.


#6

Re: growing algae - it’s not that they couldn’t, but scaling up production for a completely new product with no market history is a risky business for everyone involved. It just makes sense to start with abundant suppliers before moving to specialty requests.

See the whole rice powder problem as an example of this that was, unfortunately, unavoidable. Adding in another delay due to algae production problems would basically have sunk the community reception of this product. Stability first, perfection second.

The concern was more of the “separate everything out into separate packages,” which, as an economist, makes very little sense for a product designed to be as simple as possible. Once people start mixing individual components (and then you have to worry about consumer experience, since they won’t mix evenly), why not go the cheaper DIY route?
The idea of selling individual components actually runs against their business model.


#7

The idea itself is a good one in theory but next to impossible in practice. This is however, the exact reason that the DIY community is alive and thriving. If you have experimented with the DIY tool then you will know how individual each ingredient can be and one cannot simply replace one protein for the other without mucking up a bunch of other nutrients.

This is one of the reasons official Soylent has been delayed so often. They have to source ingredients and when one doesn’t show up, they can’t just throw in a substitute.


#8

I understand your point. I still think it would be cool if the vitamin and mineral mix were available as a separate product eventually because I could see the DIY method being intimadating once you get into needing to buy pure chemicals like that. All of the other ingredients are easy to find in supermarkets, and relatively harmless to experiment with.

That being said, I agree simplicity is another key component of the Soylent idea. Getting a single product to market first and proving its viability is the first step towards what is hopefully a very successful, diverse, and ubiquitious new market.


#9

From past discussion, it’s sounded pretty solid that there will, eventually, be “custom” Soylent. Actual implementation is still immaterial and vague, but a base/add-in packet is probably a possibility. Sort of similar to the “fortified” options a bunch of smoothie places have now.


#10

I’d really like a supplemental set of micros so that I can reduce my caloric intake to 1600 or so and still keep up on all the good stuff.


#11

@noxylophone You should be fine.

No need to worry about not getting enough micros. The included amounts have some breathing room such that even 1/2-2/3 of consumption should be plenty. Just use your body’s built-in mechanisms for hunger and you should feel fine, as it seems you do.


#12

My soylent is already hovering around 1600 Cal and it works just fine for me. The only problems I’ve got is that it’s a little low on Vitamins C and K.


#13

Perfect! I’ve crept back up to 175 or so in the past couple of months, but I don’t have a working kitchen at the moment - it’s really difficult to stay on a restricted-calorie diet when you’re eating out all the time.