Will Soylent survive?


#1

Just a knee-jerk response to having received, on the same day (yesterday), 2 separate emails from Soylent letting me know that:

  • My refund for unused Soylent bars had been processed, and that reformulated bars might be available in 2017;
  • My 11/4 order for Soylent 1.6 powder was backordered and would not ship until sometime in 2017.

I realize the company has had periods of LONG backorders before, but that seemed like a time when the product was still largely experimental. I had assumed that things were under better control by this point than they actually seem to be, and I wonder how much the current hiccups are impacting the bottom line. One product / production glitch (bars) is just a problem; two at the same time is something of a disaster.

Any thoughts?


#2

I think it’s unrealistic to expect an organisation to do something that’s never been done before without encountering any unexpected problems. That’s the point of innovation: we do new stuff, therefore we can’t know what will happen.

No idea, but I presume $21.5 M in venture funding goes quite a long way.

[citation needed]

I’m gonna guess yes.


#3

My guess is they’re still in good shape. I’d also guess 2.0 and coffiest are dominant products and thus relatively unaffected by the bar/1.6 issues.

They way they handled the 1.6 issue does however compound the perception that they don’t know what they’re doing and human nutrition is still beyond them.

Cover ups rarely succeed in the long term but I still wonder if the 1.6 issue could have been resolved in a less public way… i.e. Quietly work on 1.7 while dealing with the occasional negative GI response one on one. Taking the opposite view I suppose they could imagine 4 or 5 more 1.6 customers going public with tales of severe GI distress… blowing up as another Food Bar type scandal. Hard to say.


#4

I think that the level of complaining was so high they couldn’t handle it quietly.


#5

I had two people that I suggested Soylent to inform me that they went with another product, I can’t blame them. I did say, do I look sick? However, when someone can’t order a product they will go to the competition.


#6

This company has survived worse. It’s amazing that RL has gotten as far as it has with all the opposition it received in media. All those in public that had a knee-jerk reaction to hearing of this product and the name it chose to be known as. “Do they realize Soylent is people!? Why would they choose that name!?” and other such comments we’ve all heard before ad nauseam.

Food Bar was their first try at something solid. 1.6 powder problems is a result of innovation and not mishandling or it containing toxins. It’s inevitable. While other companys take it easy and safe, this company ventures out only for other companies to swoop in and learn from it. Not that this is bad but RL has been, and I see for the distant future, will remain the company leading the market and inspiring those around it.

Without Soylent, we wouldn’t have Joylent, Hol Foods, Space Nutrients, and et al of whatever came out from here.

They’ve been responsible with this current ‘crisis’; Giving powder customers what amounts to a 50% off the price of 2.0 for the time being. They’re handling themselves respectfully and responsibly and I believe this will blow over fairly quickly.


#7

32-10 is not 50%
Qwerty


#8

I failed math, man :sweat:
But it’s still a sweet discount! :yum:


#9

I’ve gotten sick after eating at several restaurants in my lifetime. And most of those were all way worse than what Soylent did to me (drinking some 1.6 this week). Soylent gets a pass this time. First one’s free.

Between that and the fact that Soylent spent a long time being unpopular in the first place, I’d answer this question “yes.”


#10

They’ll survive as a subsidiary of Nestle.

:wink:


#11

My money is on Mondelez


#12

Yes, they are still making lots of money.


#13

Very likely (like most startups), their endgame is to be bought out by a larger company which would facilitate larger distribution and access to many more people.

Eventually, it is very likely they will get bought out by P&G or Unilever or Nestle or some other multi-national company.

This is a good thing, no matter how people try to frame it or denigrate such transactions.


#14

I disagree. It’s not a good thing when Unilver, Nestle and the sort buy a beloved product like Soylent. They only care about the bottom line. If they could get away with it, they would add a bunch of filler to increase profits. I’d rather they didn’t sell out.


#15

I also wouldn’t trust them with the ingredient list or making it more widely available to poorer nations.


#16

Technically, that is a good thing to care about the bottom line.

But, then the committed customers and other potential customers would quit buying it, so they would have no incentive to do that. (If they did, they would lose profit.)

Companies tend to do what is in their best interest as far as profit goes…


#17

My guess is, If a larger company purchased RL a number of things would change.

First a name change. While millennials and technophiles enjoy the name, and the name Soylent is a genius marketing stunt to get people talking about a product - a board of directors, and investors is going to have a different viewpoint regarding its relation to the Hollywood movie that involved the eating of people.

Release notes and versions would no longer be released to the public, there would be a single product name for each product. All the liquids would be under one name, with Coffiest being coffee flavored with an energy branding.

Flavors, I anticipate there would be flavors, my guess would be Plain/Original, Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla.

It’s current pro GMO labeling would probably be less focused or dropped all together.

I could see the branding moving away from using labeling like Vegan. Vegan is associated with health oriented people, but health oriented people view meal replacements as unhealthy preferring whole, foods. I could see a corporation going with lactose free labeling instead.

The product would be available at our local grocery stores and markets. They would probably want exposure in the breakfast isle over the pharmacy section, next to cliff bars, breakfast essentials, and fiber one as opposed to zone perfect bars and ensure.

Discourse would be taken down and user input would be accepted at first but slowly fazed out over a couple of years. There wouldn’t be new versions- new flavors, maybe new formula along with associated labeling but not new version numbers. New formulations would be developed over several years instead of months.

Everything that makes Soylent unique would go away and the passionate patrons that contribute to discourse would move on grudgingly to other products.


#18

Interesting points.

I’d argue our name is our selling point. There would be zero point at removing it, might as well just make a nutritionally complete product from scratch.

We have already toned down release notes because each version has smaller changes. Beyond that we have cut down on waste by only making release notes digital. But in the grand scheme of things they don’t take to much time to do. We have also already slowly transitioned away from a focus on versioning for products outside of Powder.

We are already working on a chocolate as we publicly beta’d it at our Coffiest Cafe. We have many flavors in alpha testing.

Again our GMO stance is a selling point and adds media value to the brand.

We rarely use “Vegan”, we use “Plant based Nutrition”.

When it comes to stores placement is not always up for discussion. On top of that placing a Coffiest next to cereals could damage a potential impulse purchase. Thats why companies invest in place testing.

Just food for thought :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

If RL is ever bought out, make sure that view point is represented at the board meetings!

I would argue if the Soylent name is your selling point, why is your company named Rosa Labs, and not Soylent - or Soylent Labs?


#20

And RR has said not all products will bear the Soylent name.