I think Soylent is about $200 for 28 bags ($255 minus delivery, packaging, payment processing, subscription, and other non-food overhead).
In the article I see all the time:
“you can buy eggs” and do something with them. In case of Soylent somebody already bought for you, stored somewhere bulk ingredients, processed, checked quality, and thought how to make it better.
I think all labor that is done starting from coming to store, ending giving box to FedEx guy can easily cut from $200 another $30.
If we are comparing apples to apples:
Article guy is claiming $4 a day + all labor, delivery to door, and time used
Soylent is ~$6.07 ( or ($200-$30)/28 ) a day + same labor, time, delivery done by somebody else than you (you are outsourcing these actions, like you are outsourcing clothes production).
Inside this $6.07 a day there is definitely R&D part that is important for many.
Would you agree to pay 10% less for Soylent, but never see any development after version 1.1?
I think current Soylent’s price of $6.07 a day (before delivery and non-food overhead) is quite justifiable as pretty affordable. Cost of production is definitely less, but not much.
Of course if you are unemployed with plenty of free time and your own land, you can even live on $0.5 a day using your own apple trees, but in that case you are “valuing” 1 hour of your time and labor as zero dollars.
I personally value my time during working hours or my pleasure hours.