I’ve been thinking about the possibility of starting up a soylent shop. I could see a few advantages, for the local people, of having a soylent shop. An obvious one is the convenience of going to the store instead of ordering locally.
A further advantage is that it would be easy for the soylent shop to buy (or create) the powder mix, and then mix it into liquid on site. The reason soylent can’t come pre-mixed with water is that it would increase shipping costs dramatically and reduce the shelf life; but neither of those is a significant concern if it’s being mixed at a local shop. People could just drop in once a week and buy half a dozen cartons of liquid soylent.
I also think that a soylent shop would increase soylent’s exposure. I think there are a lot of people who want soylent but don’t realize it yet. Having a physical storefront for people to look at would raise awareness.
The soylent shop could be a social setting, like a coffee shop. It would be cool to see people coming in to do work or hang out over a glass of soylent.
I think there’s a lot to be done in terms of culinary innovation with soylent, and that’s something a soylent shop could work on. How many different appetizing forms can we put it into? For example, I’m a fan of Clif’s Builder Bars, and it would be cool to have soylent in a similar form. The Builder Bars are a two-layer thing, where the bottom is rolled oats and rice crisps bound together (I think by brown rice syrup), and then the top layer is a mixture involving a lot of soy protein isolate. Then the whole deal is covered in chocolate. Imitating that structure, but with a soylent mix, could give cool results. That’s just one idea.
I’m picturing the shop having a “soylent machine.” I recently made two months of soylent for @dunmatt by hand, and it was pretty time-consuming. It wouldn’t be practical to do this on a larger scale. It seems like it wouldn’t be extraordinarily difficult to build a machine which makes soylent, measuring out and mixing everything. With such a machine, it would be easy to take orders for custom recipes.
The shop could also sell raw ingredients for people who want to mix it themselves. The staff could serve as a source of knowledge for people trying to do DIY soylent. And also for more basic questions, the endless variations of “is this going to kill me?”
I’m considering the possibility of moving to a major city and trying to start one of these after I get out of grad school. I guess five years (the time I have in grad school) will be enough time to see how big soylent is going to get in the near future, and so it’d be late enough in the game then to guess whether a soylent shop would be profitable.