Will convenience outweigh cost for 2.0?


#1

Personally, the sheer convenience of a pre-mixed (but more importantly bottled) version of soylent has me quite ecstatic. Each day, I find myself filling a thermos, lugging it around, and having to clean it before leaving school because of the smell and residue that it leaves behind. With a bottle, I can just quickly grab it in the morning and dispose (recycle) it by the end of my “meal”. This ultra productive, no frills version of the already much more efficient soylent really appeals to me, and that slight bump in price is well worth it for the benefit of bottling. However, it does seem to be counter to the notion that Soylent is designed to have ecology and the environment in mind. What are your thoughts on the new product and bottling? Does it come as a contrary product to the original idea of soylent?
-Andre Radensky @aradensky


#2

Well right now it costs ~$340 for 28 days of the drink and $216 for 28 days of the powder. That’s a pretty big difference, so I’ll be sticking with the powder. I’m betting the drink price drops too, but even then it’ll always be higher than powder because they’re shipping several times more weight in total and shipping is their biggest expense afaik.


#3

I feel like the bottles will be for people who drink Soylent very occasionally. Scooping and measurement powder from an opened bag is not very fun, especially when you’re supposed to let it sit after for a while for optimal taste. You’re not even supposed to keep an opened bag for too long, as it can go bad.


#4

The environmental impact of 2.0 is still a good bit less then most other types of food, both normally, and with the 20% algae, and recycle the bottle.

Worse then powder, yes, but still better.


#5

I plan to keep a stock of 2.0 in the refrigerator at the office - but it’ll be 1.5 for all home meals.


#6

I am pausing my powder subscription in order to try the liquid version. I’ll switch back after a month, due to the price. I just wanted to give it a whirl. No matter what, the price is too high for me to make a permanent switch.

I’m not concerned about any perceived move away from being ecologically sound. If anything, it’s better than powdered, as recycling bottles is trivial, while I can’t recycle the powder pouches here.


#7

Depending on how many meals your thermos carries, you might well be grabbing more than one bottle of 2.0.


#8

If the liquid tastes like the powder, a lot of people will want to flavor it like they do the powder. Maybe they’ve improved the taste (vanilla?) but otherwise I think this will be a sticking point in the sales.

And yes the bottle waste seems like a problem for the brand’s image, both because of the environmental waste problem and because it puts it squarely in contrast with other products like Ensure.


#9

Putting it face to face against Ensure works in its favor as they cost about the same but it has a better nutrition profile, mainly because they use a lot of table sugar.


#10

I don’t understand the “bottles = environmental waste” issue when it’s trivial to recycle them compared to the powder pouches. Seems to be a step up, to me.


#11

The waste of shipping water. Far better would be tubs of powdered Soylent.


#12

But remember, HDPE plastic is made out of petroleum. Even if the bottles are recyclable they still needed to be created in the first place. The bags appear to be made of plastic also, and some aluminum maybe? But something tells me 5 bottles will contain a lot more mass than one bag.

Looking at my food pantry, most of the packaging used for my daily food items is similar: Peanut butter and honey jars (HDPE?), bread (plastic bag), chicken (plastic and some kind of foam tray) etc, etc.

In addition to the packaging, I consider the ecological impact of producing all the food I normally eat. That adds up to a lot of water and land, not to mention the suffering of different animals like chickens and cows.


#13

Gotcha. The water part doesn’t bother me but I see the point. It’s a minor quibble, from my view, but I understand thinking differently.

I’d love to be able to purchase powdered Soylent by the tub. :grinning:

Plastic bottles are able to be made from 100% recycled materials.


#14

I hope they explore using plastiglass bottles like glasstic. Plastic on the outside and glass on the inside. Although they cant be recycycled (assuming)…they can be ‘reused’ which is even better than recycling. RL could take back empty bottles and clean/sterilse them and fill it up with soylent again and ship it to consumers. Like coco-cola/pepsi do with their softdrink bottles. And although they could be expensive to buy initially than plastic-only bottles, since they can be reused it could be cheaper for RL to use them over plastic-only bottles in the long term.

Ability to reuse them will also take care of environmental concerns that could arise by using/disposing plastic-only bottles. And no possible danger of the plastic leaching into the soylent.


#15

Coke and Pepsi have many years since stopped taking back and reusing their bottles in the U.S. You can’t even buy American-made Coke or Pepsi in glass bottles (though Mexican Coke in glass bottles is fairly available, popular among those who either like the old-school experience or prefer their cola made with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup).

Can bottles that are part plastic actually be sterilized? Regardless, it seems like a logistical nightmare for a company that’s entirely mail-order.


#16

http://www.amazon.com/Coca-Cola-Classic-Glass-Bottles-Packs/dp/B007XNW1ZO


#17

Okay, you got me there: they do make and sell American Coke in glass mini-bottles still. That’s a novelty you’ll find in even fewer stores than imported Mexican Cokes, though. And they’re not deposit-for-return-and-reuse bottles.


#18

$11+ a day is over 5 times the cost we should be paying. That targets single individuals or couples who have disposable income, making Soylent a luxury good rather than a staple food. Soylent’s value is in good nutrition and convenience, but lacks the economic incentive to make it a candidate for staple food.

The question boils down to, at least in my mind, whether Rosa wants 3 million units per month at 10 cents profit per unit or 10,000 units per month at $2.00 profit per unit. Unfortunately, it is a significant risk. Cheap Soylent might flop and they’d lose a lot of money on unsold product .

I will give a month’s worth of 2.0 a shot, but it will most likely be a novelty and convenience purchase, not a staple food purchase.

Instead of 650 calorie 99 cent meals, Soylent went with 400 calorie $2.42 meals (with subscription, $2.84 without), but they got the bottles right. I wish I had $1million to invest in giving Rosa the means to pursue cheap Soylent.


#19

@jrowe47: The powdered version of Soylent just had a significant price drop and is much cheaper. If you are looking for a cheaper version, I would look into that one.
It will only cost you around $7.70 per day at the current price point.


#20

Oh definitely, and I think its a good step in the right direction. Rob’s post on making food “so cheap only the rich will cook” begins to ring true , but there’s a long way to go. Soylent needs to be qualitatively “cheap” and not just “relatively cheaper than it was before.” That means, in American terms, 99 cents a meal, $3 or less a day - and it’s possible. Rosa’s getting all the pieces put together - I just think they would be surprised at how fast cheap Soylent would take off.

Then again, it could be a bottleneck keeping the price to produce at some unavoidably high constant.