Why is Soylent a powder/oil/shake?


#1

It seems that the a lot of the problems with and complaints about Soylent has been due to the fact that it’s a powdered shake mix- it’s too chalky, gritty, lumpy, doesn’t mix, doesn’t keep, ect. It has certainly caused production problems. Why not make in a solid form, like a bar or cracker or even nuggets (like real bachelor chow)?

Not only would that remove many of the aesthetic complaints, it would also save people having to carry around messy powders and oils, some kind of blender or mixing cup, and a container or mixing water. They could just carry some bars in my bag or my desk at work and eat it when i was hungry. Some liquid would be advisable I imagine. This would also satisfy the “humans must chew” crowd.

I’ve looked into a few cookie recipes and done some experimenting, but I’d rather not have to bake cookies, and baking will destroy some nutrients. I’m sure at a factory level you could mix some binders and press it, or some other alternatives better than home baking. Some starchy or fibrous binders could offer additional health benefits.

If you do decide to offer bars, please also offer chocolate covered bars! :smile:

Thanks!


#2

Forgot to mention that this would help control portioning too. If the bars/cookie had a fixed calorie content, say 200, the person would just eat how how many their diet required. Another option would to have a larger bar that was semi-divided into squares like a chocolate bar and then the person could just break off the desired portion size. a 2100 ‘male diet’ calorie bar that could be broken into sixths could give a 1750 cal ‘female diet’ bar. The broken off sixth pieces would be saved and eaten later.


#3

Given a little time they will get there. This is just phase one, I’m sure that a few years from now we will have a nice variety of options, a 'plethora of piñatas’
if you will.


#4

The powder is in prepackaged portions. And the shelf life of powdered soylent is way longer than a premade cookie or bar would be. The shelf life for the powder is over a year.


#5

As Jahluv101 mentions, it’s at least partially shelf life. There are people making it into cookies and things; @isaackotlicky has gone all Alton Brown on it, with key lime pie, pizza, SOYLENT stuffed GREEN peppers (had to put that in. :D) and has other ideas for recipes here.

@sintax has an oatmeal cookie recipe here that I want to try when I get into it too…


#6

the powder form allows it to work as a base. You can add some of your own flavorings easily, making it cinnamon or vanilla or whatever suits you, or use it as a base in cooking. Making it into a solid bar or whatever wouldn’t eliminate all of the development to make consuming it pleasant. Look at things like hardtack; being a solid does not automatically translate to being pleasant. All it does is shift the requirements for making it pleasant. After all, hardtack’s primary goal was being nonperishable, trying to get something nutritionally complete, with a long shelf life, and pleasant to consume is a high bar to meet


#7

Yup yup. Hardtack is disgusting. I wonder how people with no teeth ate it during the civil war. Soaked it in water first or broke it up with a hammer?


#8

Soaked it in water, usually. (/AntiJokeChicken) :smiley:

Hardtack was also useful for shark attacks. Toss one into their mouth and it’d sink them like a torpedo.


#9

When I was a child I spent some time in the pacific islands, and we were given milk biscuits at school on a daily basis. You can still buy them. They are basically powdered milk that has been compacted to the point of becoming a solid biscuit. They are brittle, and if you like eating powdered milk, delicious.

milk biscuits

milk biscuits out of thier packaging

It’s possible that you could do the same with soylent, except for the fat/oil content. Maybe a powdered fat would work as a binding agent.

There is a company selling powdered fat here.


#10

If those were supposed to be links or pictures, they didn’t work…

What was the purpose of those? Just to eat, or as a ‘stick it in a glass of water to get milk’?

And I think they’re using some powdered MCT oil, or at least there’s a lot of mention of it around here on the site…


#11

Not sure why the images did not display at first. I have moved them to an image sharing site, which seems to work. I think the original URLs were too long and the discourse software filtered them out or something.

The milk biscuits you just ate. I was presenting them here as a “proof of concept” that powders can be machine compacted into an edible dense biscuit, and this has been done with milk powder .


#12

I did not! (furtively wipes whiskers just in case)

I kind of figured it was something like that. I wonder if Soylent could be done like this, and if you wanted a liquid, you plunk it in some water and swirl, or just eat with a drink. I know there are oatmeal bars that are designed like that. My fiancee when she was doing S&R would carry some. Can eat them as is, or if you happen to have some hot water around (luxury!) you could soak them and they’d turn into a bowl of oatmeal.


#13

The raw ingredients would be the same if it was a powder or a powder compressed into a block so the shelf life should be identical. That might not be true of the oil but I’m not sure.

unpleasant-tasting bar:

  1. Eat
  2. skowl
    3.Chase with beverage of choice- Done!

unpleasant-tasting powder:

  1. Open powder.
  2. Find a clean glass
  3. measure powder into container.
  4. wipe up spilled powder
  5. Go to kitchen/break room
  6. fill container with water, but not too full
  7. stir/shake/blend
  8. still lumpy, repeat # 7
  9. clean up splatter
    return to desk/living room
    10.drink some
  10. Skowl
  11. repeat #10-11
  12. look at wasted sludge in glass
    go back to break room
    14.wash glass
  13. put away glass and powders
  14. clean up water,
    go back to desk

#14

(snork) That might be the funniest thing I read all day. :smiley:

The ingredients would be the same, to be sure, but the Soylent may not tolerate compression as well as a homogenous mostly-protein milk powder does.

If they were using a powdered oil, could biscuitize it first then encase it in the rest to help prevent air getting to it…


#15

Whats the difference of powder in a sealed pouch and a pressed block of soylent? Still requires the same preparation. Actually the compressed brick would be more difficult because you would have to break off chunks which would make it harder to mix. Unless the brick is already prepared. Soylent has a long shelf life because it hasnt been mixed with water yet. First of all if you have a problem with measuring water and measuring it is i time consuming and inexact for you I pray you do not cook. LMAO! I will just be drinking it out of the shaker bottle. Which I will wash every day since thats what I do. So.

  1. Grab shaker 2 seconds
  2. Fill with water (oh shoot too much pour a little out) 2 seconds
  3. Open powder and pour in shaker. 2 seconds
  4. Shake to mix 30 seconds
  5. Open lid Less than one second
  6. Drink at my desired speed. dont break teeth on hardtack brick
  7. No scowl No time consumed (according to most of the beta testers the flavor is not unpleasant.)
  8. Rinse shaker 5 seconds
    So all except for consumption time less than 41 seconds for preparation. Wait, lets add another 30 seconds to take care of invariables like waiting in line at the sink or something. So a total of about 1 minute 11 seconds preparation time. xD

Ive had hard tack. My mom is a civil war reenactor. Its freaking gross. And its like eating a rock. Give me soylent in its current form.


#16

Wish I had water flow like that at my house…It takes at least 6-8 seconds to fill up.


#18

Uh, guys?
Yeah.
Soylent bars is what I do.

If you step back and squint, the whole concept of soylent is basically protein heavy, nutrient enriched bread mix. Feel free to drink it, but I love me some soylent pizza!

The fact is, there is an awful lot more processing involved in taking the powder and packing it into bars than people realize. The mechanics involved would significantly complicate the flow and increase the costs of the fledgling startup.

For comparison, in the current process they:

  1. Research and develop the product
  2. Source materials/suppliers
  3. Liase with their copacker and suppliers for shipping
  4. RFI mixes in bulk and measures the ingredients into bags which are then sealed and labeled.
  5. Random sampling for quality control

If you start making bars, you add to this list:

  1. Reformulating the Soylent formula to account for processing changes
  2. Taking bulk powder and pre-processing it/mixing it into batter/dough
  3. Baking/pressing bars on industrial machinery
  4. Shrink-wrapping bars, and then bundling them into bulk orders

The current powder product has Kosher Supervision, the additional processing to make bars will make that a costlier process more prone to rejection (currently it costs them very little since the copacker is already certified).

The added steps could double the cost of Soylent, basically sinking the company before it gets off the ground. Official “Soylent Bars,” if they come, will be more expensive than your daily Soylent, will be inappropriately compared to established products Cliff Bars, and are unlikely to successful as a product until Soylent really takes off with a userbase able to support the new venture.

Assuming the product is met with positive press and a receptive public, I give it five years, at least.


#19

In my case it was just an intellectual exercise, ‘would it work’ more than anything else. I don’t want to gnaw on a brick, would rather drink it. :stuck_out_tongue:


#20

Whatever you eat you still need to hydrate. With my DIY, most of my fluid intake is … DIY

By making and consuming liquid soylent, it makes the tracking of both nutrients and liquid intake much easier.

Plus there is the pre-slurried food aspect, which I think may be overlooked. When you eat solid food a huge chunk of work has to be done to it to get it ready to begin digesting it. This does not happen by accident. Your stomach muscles have to expend physical effort, which logically has to be fuelled (by a previous meal). By reducing this work, your food becomes more efficient.

This does raise an issue - abandoning solid food entirely possibly may over time cause some form of atrophy for those muscles. While we may not want or need to, a “proper meal” once a week is possibly good for this reason alone.


#21

In my case, I’d prefer the inefficient expenditure of calories in consuming calories to the efficient slurry of liquid soylent. I do it for weight loss, so the efficient aspect of soylent is it’s ease of use, nutrient, time, and cost efficiencies.