Soylent for the underprivileged


I’m a new member here and also an avid follower of the Soylent story - I’d like to find out what realistic chances there are of this being used to help the poor - of which South Africa has spans and spans. I’m involved locally in my community pretty heavily and I’d absolutely love to get this sort of stuff out there for the people I’m close to and see what happens from there.


I think we all agree that it’s pretty good as a meal replacement. It goes beyond what Wawa Mum and other things try to do.

The product itself is pretty cheap as the raw materials are, at least in the Western world. I guess the problem for you is

a) How expensive is it to import Soylent in large quantities

b) How expensive is it to manufacture it locally, given that the recipe is open-source (-ish. Hear that guys? Release it already).

But you say you are involved in the community. While Soylent is perfect in terms of nutrition I think it’s the wrong solution to your problem. I believe you may want to see what the UN did with Wawa Mum and copy that. Create a high-caloric nutrient complete meal with locally sourced materials.

I’d ask for a government grant to create a meal replacement with ingredients bought from local farmers and distributed among the local poor, especially school children.

Don’t forget that Soylent is pretty big with the tech community but others may react to its foreignness. Giving people a meal with ingredients they know and trust is a much better thing to do.


Hear, hear. That’s the most good sense I’ve yet seen posted here on this subject. Imported techie solutions are really not that great a move against problems involving local poverty, deprivation, and malnutrition. To solve problems of that kind permanently you need to get local people and resources involved. Attempting to impose a tech solution from USA isn’t likely to do the job; it may be seen as just more colonialism/imperialism.


Official Soylent as of yet is still relatively expensive even by first world standards. While the price will fall as production scales up, it may be a long time before there’s a Soylent available at prices that can actually help the poor.

An intermediate step that would be both cheaper and perhaps more likely to be willingly adopted would be a partial soylent that offers nutrients that people in a particular area tend to miss, so that it becomes a complement to their existing diet, not a substitute for it.


Oh totally - I’m certainly not talking about imposing anything, just exploring the possibility. Setting up local production lines would be a helluva lot easier than importing. We’ve looked at Wawa Mum and it’s also quite interesting though I’ve yet to see someone here able to get it into the country.