In this update:
- Rice protein shipment delay pushes back first shipping date to mid-April
- Alternate protein sources for future formulas
- SXSW coverage
We were in Austin until Tuesday for SXSW, Rob moderated an awesome panel on Sunday (The Future of Food Processing) with three other foodtech CEOs. We’ll be posting a link to the video once it’s live.
Since our last update, we have been working with our manufacturer and rice protein supplier to secure our protein shipment, which is the last ingredient that is required to begin Soylent production.
Even after the original delivery date was pushed back several weeks, the protein manufacturer did not meet their expected production levels over the course of the past month. This means that the shipment of rice protein is set to arrive at the RFI facility by April 9th at the latest, which would place first shipments going out to supporters around April 25th.
This is an unacceptable delay, and RFI has ordered several pallets of rice protein via air freight, so the manufacturing process can begin earlier and supporters can start receiving shipments. The pallets flew out on a cargo plane today and arrive in Los Angeles tonight, but because of customs they will only clear LAX around March 29th.
After that they will be expedited to RFI’s Broomfield, Colorado facility, which houses RFI’s in-house QA testing lab. The proximity of the lab will accelerate the production process over their factory in Modesto, California, which was initially slated for our use.
As long as the shipments pass customs in the expected amount of time, our best guess for first shipments going out to supporters is April 17th, about 4 weeks from today.
Many supporters have emailed us asking why we cannot simply switch to a different rice protein given these delays. This rice protein is the highest mesh size on the market, which results in a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. This is in comparison to other proteins, which tend to have a gritty/chalky texture which was the subject of many negative comments from our beta testers and media articles.
We are exclusive customers of this particular rice protein at this time. Since it is an entirely new product they are still working on scaling production upwards, which contributed to the delays. Unfortunately, the supplier produces other brown rice protein isolates and these have been given priority in production over ours.
Additionally, since all of our nutritional information was calculated based on this specific rice protein, switching at this time would take even longer than waiting for the current protein to arrive — it would likely require altering the amounts of other macro ingredients, blending/testing sample batches, placing a new PO with a different manufacturer, etc.
We are actively looking for alternate rice protein suppliers (though for the above reasons we are not optimistic about finding a better rice protein), and exploring the possibility of using algal protein (Rob tasted some recently and it was amazing and buttery smooth) for future production runs. We’ll post updates on alternate protein sourcing as they become available.
We do not expect our current protein supplier to have ongoing issues with order fulfillment, but we feel terrible that there is nothing more we can do to expedite this initial sourcing process.
Thank you all again so much for your patience and understanding as the Soylent ingredients make their long journeys from fields, laboratories and factories worldwide, to our facility in Colorado, and finally to your homes and businesses. We are confident that after you try your first sip of Soylent 1.0, the long wait and many delays will feel like a lifetime ago.