milk in glassIf the vision of Soylent’s founder is shared by the world, we will soon happily drink a glass of his company’s powdered nutrients whisked into water for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And why would we willingly chug down glasses of  colorless, tasteless slush three times a day instead of enjoying plates of colorful, flavor-packed, satisfying foods? According to Rob Rhinehart, Soylent’s CEO, many people are way too busy these days to bother with mundane tasks like food shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning up. These people prefer to spend time on more enjoyable activities. And they are willing to pay for that freedom, having already shelled out over $500,000 to Soylent by ordering weekly and monthly supplies of the product. Composed of at least 14 dry ingredients including carbs, proteins, essential vitamins and minerals and packaged into single meals, the orders are projected to start shipping in August.

Rhinehart also claims the $65.00 weekly cost of Soylent per person is cheaper than the cost of consuming regular groceries. Not in this apartment. Mostly a vegetarian, I spend little on meat and lots on fresh foods, which totals far less than $65.00 a week.

Soylent’s expense also tops the American Department of Agriculture’s recent calculation for the weekly cost of a family’s healthy, home-cooked meals, which average $36.50 per person for a family of four. In the unimpressed opinion of Adam Drewnowski, director of the Centre for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, “Soylent is an expensive glass of milk,”

Another interesting price comparison reported in the Economist is a stir and drink food product that provides emergency nutrition for malnourished children, which costs less than $10.00 a week. With a peanut butter base, this French product has a great name – Plumpy’Nut. This name perfectly says what it is, invoking “good health and nutrition, restoration and yumminess” all in one.

Soylent’s name on the other hand, doesn’t reverberate with this duo mind and mouth appeal. I can’t imagine which definition of “lent” the founders had in mind when they tacked it on to “Soy”. In my case I first associated the Easter “lent” with their name, not a positive connection with its suggestion of deprivation, fasting and glum austerity. Also the first five letters of Soylent spell “soyle” which hints at “soil,” which is not an optimum association for high quality food.

Can you see yourself shaking up packets of Soylent powder and water for your major food intake?

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