Soylent is a very unfortunate/amusingly named meal replacement drink that has the added cachet of being crowdfunded via Kickstarter; basically, it’s the hacking and disruption movement coming for your food. The company says a steady diet of Soylent could replace your meals, as it is formulated to be nutritionally balanced. I had a free sample, and here’s what I thought:
As you can see from the video above, it wasn’t terrible, but didn’t really blow me away with the flavor either. It tasted a bit like liquid Kix, or like Muscle Milk without any added flavors. In other words, it was vaguely sweet, but also had a savory dimension too. Unfortunately, I drank it for breakfast at 9am, and it’s now 3:50pm and I still have an aftertaste in my mouth. None of my coworkers wanted to try a sip either, so I am on my own suffering through this weird taste. It’s very hard to measure anything, especially a meal replacement on one meal, but the good news is that I didn’t really get hungry until lunchtime. The bad news is that I did get fairly grumpy and crash at lunch, so I think the 400 calories of Soylent didn’t quite fill me up the way my normal breakfast does [omelette or frittata with veggies, cheese, and sausage, usually around 300-350 calories.]
Soylent believes they can offer nutritionally sound food for around $2.42 per 400 calories, which would translate to under $10/day for a 1600 calorie diet, or about $12.10/day for a 2000 calorie diet. That may be true, but unless I knew I was heading somewhere where there were absolutely no other edible food options, I can’t imagine reaching for a Soylent first. It’s a creative approach to nutrition, and I understand that the company envisions it as a way to reduce world hunger, but the flavor is so overwhelming it negates any positives. This is their second iteration of the Soylent formula, and they’ve moved it from powder you need to mix yourself to premade (recyclable) bottles. Maybe by Soylent 3.0 they’ll have found a balance between nutrition and flavor. And hopefully by then the aftertaste will have faded.
On the upside, Soylent 2.0 is vegan, so I’m 99% sure it’s NOT people, and no one needs to worry about the ghost of Charlton Heston showing up to say “I TOLD YOU SO!”