Soylent isn't cheaper than a healthy diet


Hello, I would like to understand one of the points of soylent, fight the hunger.
According to the recipe it could cost around 220$/month, in many european countries, you can follow a healthy diet for less than 200€ per month, and survive with 100€/month, so how is going a 220$ product going to fight the hunger in really poor countries? Soylent may give them access to a better nutrition but it will be much more expensive than the amount of money that they need to buy food to survive, and those 220$ is probably much more than what they have for a salary.



One of the premises of Soylent was indeed the low price, but I’ve seen such wildly fluctuating recipe costs that I have to wonder.


Soylent could be much cheaper, if bought in huge amounts of bulk, so there are less middlemen who yells in your face “GIEF MONEY!”.

Also if the micro and macronutrients in Soylent could be manufactured from scratch, only for the purpose of Soylent, there are less money required to pay wages, and less stuff is going to be wasted in the production phase.


I hope they can industrialize the process a lower down soylent’s price, I think they will release today the crowdfunding, let’s wait for this to see what are the plans for soylent and how are they going to invest the money.


I highly doubt that on 200€/month one coulr consume all the same nutrients as with soylent.

I live in a country where wone can survive on 200€/month, but that’s it, just survive. Most people here live on less than that and still somehow make it. I can tell you though that I can see signs of underdevelopment in most people here. This is a serious development issue.

I am fairly certain that through open sourcing and commoditising the production of soylent itself we could bring down the price considerably. I also would not be suprized if soylent would quickly become the number market for the producers of the input substances.

All in all it should be relatively easy to bring down the price to less than 1 Dollar a day.


I think you’re confusing the cost of buying something with the cost of delivering something in the hand of the person who gets to eat it. Hungry people in deserts don’t have easy access to 7-Eleven.

In other words, imagine buying Soylent by the barrel and shipping it (by ships!) to wherever they’re needed, possibly storing them for months at a time whenever they’re not needed. You can’t do that with hamburgers. You can do that with a lot of dry rations that are currently used, but those aren’t cheap, and those aren’t as filling or as good for you as Soylent is/can be.


To add to the points here, everyone is buying niche ingredients individually. Buying and producing in bulk is much, much cheaper, which is where the real cost effectiveness currently lies. Also personally, I don’t have to spend nearly as much time preparing, cooking and eating it, which is great as i’m a slow eater and I want to spend more time studying T_T


I was simply talking about the cost Rob initially mentioned. Although I guess in some places supplements will be cheaper than in others.


Rob’s original need for soylent, was that he was living off Ramen and not getting good nutrition. So he tried to come up with a better way. He also noticed the large amount of effort associated with food. You have to go collect it. Then store it, sometimes in a refrigerator or freezer. Next it has to be prepared to be cooked. Then cooked. And finally you get to eat it. Preparing, cooking, and eating can also produce large amounts of dishes that then have to be cleaned. If all you needed was a big tub of powder, some water, and a shaker bottle, there is big savings of effort in obtaining food. In places where food is scarce, so is electricity, and other conveyances of the industrialized world.

I have known many friends that have lived off Ramen for a time as Rob did. Many because it is very cheap and just needs water. I have had to live off Food Stamps here in the US, which only paid $200 a month, but has little control over what people buy. You can not buy a hot prepared roasted chicken with food stamps, but you can buy all the HoHo’s you want. There is also a lot of time and money spent determining who is entitled to food stamps, how much they are allotted, and the distribution and collection of the food stamps themselves. I wounder if a slightly less robust formula, then most posted here, that was given out free upon request, would not be a cheaper system.

The current formula I am trying to create will cost $212 a month. If I take out the Alpha GPC, for choline, that drops the price $16 a mounth. There still is 30mg of choline in it, just not the 550mg. If I then dropped the CLA (Linoleic Acid – Omega 6) $7, Noopept $1, Creatine $3, and reduced the Potassium by $3 a month, that is a $30 saving. The MCT oil could be replaced with olive oil for more savings. There is also supplements for Lutien and Ginkgo Biloba that could be dropped for a $10 savings. I believe there are ways to reduce the costs of soylent, and keep the base nutrition. Many of the formulas here are after the best, for a reasonable price, not the most cost effective and just what you need to survive.

I am trying to feed a household of 3 for under $600 a month, without food stamps, and it just can not be done and keep everyone satisfied. Monthly we have to have a minimum of 4 trips to collect food, Wal-mart (groceries), Sam’s Club (Warehouse/bulk), the farmer’s market, and another grocery store for what we can not get at the other three. We have a full size upright freezer and refrigerator for storage, and a powerful microwave and gas stove for cooking. There is also the food saver, vacuum sealer, for breaking up bulk items into meal sizes and freezing. Further, all this effort dose not meet our needs, frequently each of us is at school or work, without access to our storage, making buying a meal practical, but at high expense. A non-refrigerated bottle of soylent, would reduce this cost. I do not intend to stop cooking, but if I can replace one or two meals a day with most of what we need, leaving the third meal being mainly protein and carbohydrates, I believe we will start wanting less in that third meal and our overall food cost will go down. On the nutrition side, the multivitamin we all need, as wells as other supplements that are in soylent, are an additional expense above the food cost, and often get cut because we just can not afford them.


I own a condiment company and one of the things we make requires ketchup as a base and we pay .36 a pound for ketchup in bulk. where as a grocery store in commercial packaging your paying something like $5 a pound so buying things in bulk can be a massive difference in price.


What you’ve said is the use case for Soylent I’ve had bouncing around my head the whole time.


Currently dry ratios are not used to feed people in deserts, grains are. Corn, millet, with some vitamin powder on the side.


I have a friend (in the U.S.) who claims to be eating for $2-3 a day. He described his diet, and it consisted of things like oats, fruit, rice, beans, peanuts, etc. It sounded pretty healthy. He said that he obtained many of his vegetables through foraging. It seems plausible to me that with sufficient thriftiness, eating a healthy diet could be quite a lot cheaper than soylent.


Foraging is not a scalable solution.

Even still, $2-3 a day does not sound realistic.


My recipe’s down to £2.74/day, almost entirely from fairly reputable eBay shops. I currently spend more than that on chicken.


I have to agree with others here that it could be made cheaper on a larger scale, and that will make a huge difference. An important thing to keep in mind is the amount of, and variety of nutrients per pound is not comparable to the current food sources being used to feed the hungry. So, as tofagerl touched on, by the time you account for shipping expenses, you end up with a higher nutrition per shipping dollar in a smaller volume. I’d also imagine not all of the humanitarian organizations are actually providing 2,000 calories per day, but I really don’t know that.


My current formula is less than four dollars a day–and it’s not nearly the bulk sizes that a company could buy. I really wouldn’t be surprised if Soylent could be around three dollars a day eventually. Not that they’d sell it for that cheap, of course. But we’ll see.


What you are also forgetting, is that people who think they are ‘eating a healthy diet’ are most likely not actually getting the rda’s at all. Go over to and have a play around with your healthy food diets. It is actually quite hard to get the rda in everything even with unlimited funds and time to get the best foods.

When I tried I was eating a paleo style diet, ( so perhaps this differs )… but that diet was high in meats and vegetables and it still was hard to get the rda’s in things like magnesium / potassium etc. Calcium is physically impossible to get the rda’s without eating dairy (an interesting observation in itself!).

Anyway, start reducing the available funds, and the available time and you will find you start dropping behind the rda’s very easily I think. On a tight budget (usually this means cutting meats out for example), and you aren’t getting the RDA’s (zinc, k, etc). Happy to be proven wrong on this, but I would be surprised.

Now you can get the RDA’s cheaply with real foods and supplementing, in fact this is probably the cheapest possible way to get the RDA’s. This I think is only because foods are consumed in vast quantities so costs are lower. Long term soylent probably has the potential to be way cheaper with mass production of the components.


What is your recipe? At 4 USD, heck, even 5 USD a day I’d start with Soylent immediately!


there’s the link to my recipe.