Soylent Manufacturing Update 3/13


#1

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.


Axiom and AIDP Rice Protein Samples?
#2

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but you guys seem to have really backed yourselves into a corner in selecting rice protein. Would whey isolate really have been so bad for Soylent 1.0? You might have set up a parallel track for a vegan formula – and then only a relatively small portion of your customer base would have been reading about supplier-related delays and the vagaries of rice protein “mesh size.”


#3

I’m glad you’re looking into alternatives should this supplier prove similarly disastrous in the future. I don’t blame you guys at all for another company’s failures, though I would blame you for not protecting against them happening again!

I’m currently mixing up my own Soylent and have been trying it out; it’s pretty good, but I can’t wait to try to “real thing”!


#4

Thanks for the comprehensive update. You’re doing the right thing in not compromising, and all the reasons you put forth for why staying with this provider is the quickest way to ship make sense. I’m looking forward to my shipment!


#5

The best thing about this process, so far, may be the discovery of Algal protein. From what I’ve read, it is a superior, complete protein source that is both sustainable and great tasting. It is a very forward-looking solution that is already scaled to a point that would meet Soylent’s needs, and like Soylent, it is part of the future of nutrition. I hope Soylent goes in that direction in the near future. It will be yet another part of Soylent to look forward to. Thanks for a great update. I’ll be very happy to start drinking Soylent in the coming weeks.


#6

I forgive you guys for the extra delay :smiley: as I wouldn’t have been affected because I am from europe… one question though… has this delay because of the rice protein had an effect on the international soylent in terms of maybe delaying that also? or is that completly different?


#7

In before more people cry foul and ask for refunds :stuck_out_tongue:

Add me to the list of “sad about delay but happy you’re not compromising.” And do keep looking into that algal protein thing. I don’t know much about it but if it is as great as some people say that could definitely end up being a good way to go.

Thanks for all your hard work, and for the update–even if it’s not what we’d love to hear!


#8

If there is another delay, customers will be coming up on the one year anniversary of the original promised ship date of Soylent. Pretty crazy.


#9

er… if that single delay is almost double equal to half the sum total of all the delays thus far, sure. Original ship date was mid-DecemberAugust 2013: so far we’re working on 48ish months late, not a year :laughing:

edit:
Heck, with the current projection, we’re still over a month out from an anniversary on the date placing orders was first available

Edit2: I stand corrected - initial ship date was August. I forgot that the backerkit email I was referencing came out after a few delays had already happened. So considerably closer, but 8 months is still a full quarter-year off from being an anniversary. At this point I’m less worried about one big delay than I am about Zeno’s paradox (“It’s shipping next femtosecond guys, promise!”)


#11

I am looking very forward to my new food. Since I truly dislike eating this is something I have been supporting since I first learned of it. Keep up the high standards and I will be happy with a quality product.
Thank you for your hard work and research.


#12

Thanks for the update, although actually Brackish is not off, the ORIGINAL shipping date was last August, not December, below is a link to Soylent’s blog about missing August’s ship date to end of September.

Soylent August ship date slips to September


#14

Who do we need to bribe in customs to get it cleared sooner?


#15

Ah, you are correct sir. I was going by my confirmation email from backerkit, and forgot that those weren’t sent out until after a delay or two had been announced.

Still though, for another delay to put us at a year, that would be four more months – not really “almost” :smile:


#16

This is getting pretty out of hand. I understand that things happen, but this makes me really nervous to support Soylent. Even if I enjoy my first shipment, what about the second? Am I going to have to wait 4+ months every time I order? You guys keep making promises, but are not standing by them.

I’m sorry, but I have to back out of this. This is crippling for a company, and all faith that I had has been lost.

Delay me once, shame on you, delay me twice, shame on me, delay me a third time, shame on my money. At least I can get that back.


#17

If rice and algae don’t work out, have you considered using people? I hear it may have worked for others.


#18

Alternate protein sources for future formulas

This should immediately be priority #1, for Soylent version 1.0.1.

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.

What I’m reading: we’re the only purchaser of a new product from a company that isn’t ready to deliver on the scale that we need and deprioritizes our deliveries. If ever there was a time to being work switching to another (algan) protein, it’s right after your first shipment. I mean, you guys are just sitting around waiting for the other guy to deliver, right? That’s the impression that I’m getting from your posts, and it’s not a good one.

I’ve stopped telling people about Soylent. It has become embarrassing to tell people about anything after the 2nd-3rd delay (I stopped counting).


#19

Thank you for remaining transparent in the updates.


#20

I wish you guys would have just stuck to whey protein for the first production batch. The use of the fish oil already makes it non vegan. I understand we need a vegan option, but what percentage of your customers are actually ordering the vegan option? Is this product delay to please 5% of the consumer base, or is it higher?


#21

I appreciate your desire for both maintaining the quality and integrity of the product. These delays are not your fault, and I believe you’re doing your utmost best to keep us informed in the process. I’m reminded of another kickstarter campaign I funded - Shemie - She too had months and months of delays, all of which were related to manufacturers.

I prefer that people under promise and over deliver, rather than over promise and under deliver. I trust you’re doing your best and that very soon we will all be enjoying Soylent.


#22

Hi - I need to update my shipping information because I have moved addresses. Where can I do this?