"Soylent Has Competition and the Marketing Is Gonna Get Weird"

Inverse article:
“Soylent Has Competition and the Marketing Is Gonna Get Weird”
“When your product does nothing but keep folks alive, you sell them…life.”

It is just a few paragraphs, mainly about the new product Huel as competition to Soylent.
(I’m not sure why they didn’t mention the many other existing competitors to Soylent.)

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I think it started as a look at Huel - and Soylent was brought in as the obvious source of the knock-off. It wasn’t meant to be a review of the market segment.

(Also, I think the author got it wrong about Soylent and Huel not providing anything.)

Which is quite funny because he rags on Huel for strawmen, while his article is full of his own strawmen.


With some editing, I think that “article” could be cut down to tweet length.


What I found interesting about that article is this:

After all, they’ve been engineered to taste like nothing. What does that mean for the companies putting this stuff out: Price point is everything.

Everything I’ve seen on these forums is that you guys want Soylent to have less of a taste, so I’m not sure about Huel, but for Soylent it seems like a matter of listening to customers so that they can flavor it themselves (which allows for variety).

I’ll say this: I hope Soylent never goes down that cheap route. From looking into Soylent, one thing that always impressed me was how often they adjusted their recipes. If they start going the cheap route I think it will push customers away, but obviously if these new recipes are adding more and more stuff the costs are going to go up. I’d rather the cost be passed down to the customer (an extra $1 can go a long ways towards adding quality ingredients) rather than cutting the quality of the product.

“Soylent has many loyal customers who eager consume”

That is a nice piece of Engrish right there.

“Soylent Has Competition and the Marketing Is Gonna Get Weird”

That’s good twitter for that article basically.

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“Trying to differentiate between the two products is impossible online”

Based on this and the previous articles on Soylent, it seems journalists are completely incapable of reading a nutrition label.


I wouldn’t really consider Huel to be a Soylent competitor at the moment…a clone, sure, but not a competitor. Not until either Huel sets up a warehouse/distribution center in the US, or Soylent does likewise in the UK. Looks like the closest clone I’ve seen, though, as far as appearance, ingredients, preparation, and packaging.

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You don’t have to set up a distribution centre to be a competitor. Jake now ships to the US and as such is now a strong competitor of soylent, despite being located in Holland. One edge that Jake has is that it comes in single meal bags, infinitely easier to prepare. Joylent also ships to the US and I assume other European brands will also ship to the US so competition does exist. Soylent has done well to build up a strong following but they have been slow to distribute and that slack has been taken up by the European new starts.

But you do need scale to really be a competitor.

If your capacity is 0.1% of Rosa Lab’s output, you’re an alternative, not so much a competitor… though you may grow into one.

On the other hand, to you, Rosa Labs is a competitor… because all of your customers can migrate to Rosa Labs at any time.


The problem with international sellers who don’t have warehouses or distribution centers in other countries is that international buyers have to pay shipping charges, which could potentially be quite large, and also run the risk of being faced with huge customs charges. So even if their regular price is similar to, or less than, Soylent, it usually ends up costing more. And when the product is basically a clone of Soylent, there’s no motivation to spend more(except for the people who have major issues digesting soilent and want to try other formulas). The only reason I switched from 100%Food to Soylent is because of the cost of shipping to Canada. It wasn’t much of a difference, because Spaceman had made changes to the shipping process so that we wouldn’t get hit with customs charges and reduced the out-of-pocket shipping expense to $17. But Soylent offers free shipping in Canada, so I save money by making the switch. However, 100%Food is different enough from Soylent to compete despite the difference in cost. Many would still prefer 100%Food for the taste, texture, multiple formula types, and custom order varieties. But for a Soylent clone? I think cost would win for most people.

Has anyone tried Huel?

The Huel/Soylent comparison via the Huel website:
(disparaging to Soylent)

That’s an interesting strategy, going head-to-head with Soylent.

It worked (to some extent) with Pepsi, going after the market leader by name. But Pepsi was already somewhat established when they singled out Coke. And by singling out the primary, U.S.-based product, Huel is ignoring the many EU competitors.

I don’t know if it is a good marketing move or a bad one. As such, I like it, just to see how it turns out. Bully for them!

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From @inquirerer’s Huel link:

Per 2,000 calories:
Huel (v1.0) - £45
Soylent (v1.5) - £54.58

I’ve got Soylent at £5.92 per 2,000 calories, so they’re off by an order of magnitude, and have no idea at all how they intend to charge £45 per 2,000 calories anywhere, much less in countries poorer than the U.S. (like the UK).

It appears that £45 is their 1 week price:

I would assume that £54.58 is what they are considering a 1 week price for Soylent is? According to the google converter I used, $70 (subscription price) is equal to £45.56, and $85 (nonsubscription price) is equal to £55.33 at current conversion rates.

Of course, it is really moot since it would cost more than that to use a re-shipper since Soylent isn’t yet (as of me writing this) available in the UK.

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That would certainly make a lot more sense, but I consider their inability to create a sensible comparison chart to be an inauspicious start. Also on a month to month comparison of prices using the new Huel link it looks like they’re at £162 ($248.93) and Soylent is at £165.95 ($255).

When you say it’s per 2,000 calories and are off by a factor of 10 (or 7 or whatever) I would personally start to doubt your aptitude at designing something I want to put in my body. Hopefully they aren’t off by an order of magnitude on the heavy metals in their soylent or California will be quite cross with them.


The one-week price of Huel is the same as one-week of Soylent, subscription price. They are clearly cherry-picking their figures.

From their forum, two days ago:

Odd that they chose to compare their product, not available in the USA, to Soylent, a product not available in the UK. Now it just seems silly that they didn’t compare Huel to any of the multiple European soylents that ship to the UK.