Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Soylent: For people, not of people

Posted By on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Those of us versed in pop culture have a knee-jerk reaction when we hear the term "Soylent." We think it's made of humans because of the movie Soylent Green. But a new meal-replacement product called simply Soylent that will soon hit the market isn't made of people at all - it's made for people out of non-human protein and other vegan-friendly nutritional sources. This macronutritious food replacement cocktail is all approved by the FDA.

With flying cars and Soylent both in the news recently, we're well on our way to a very Jetsonian existence.

Here's the skinny from Vice:Image: Vice

Soylent is a liquid food replacement that aims to deliver a full allotment of a human being's daily nutritional needs. It's cobbled together from basic ingredients like maltodextrin, rice protein, and potassium gluconate. Its founder Rob Rhinehart subsisted on the drink alone for 30 days as a proof of concept. Rhinehart, an alum of the influential tech startup bootcamp Y-combinator, meticulously blogged the experience, warts and all - at one point he experienced joint aches as a result of a sulfur deficiency - and won a devoted following. He's now soliciting data from some 50 beta testers to refine the product, which is currently at version 0.8.

The company, which is based in Oakland, has already surpassed $1 million in pre-orders, and is about to begin mass-producing Soylent and shipping to consumers by the end of September. He's also fielding meetings with VCs, who've no doubt seen the explosive and he's getting ready to mass produce the finalized Soylent formula. His project has also engendered a grassroots effort amongst DIY food drink hackers - people across the nation are sharing their own Soylent recipes.

The end goal is to make a cheap, nutritious alternative for people who don't have the time or the means to eat well. Rhinehart is aiming for nothing less than to change the way we eat; he imagines a future where meals of solid food are largely recreational, and only eaten a few times a day. He also hopes his product will be a boon to the hungry - when production scales up, he hopes to sell a day's worth of Soylent for just $5.

The prospects for ending global hunger are huge with this project, but would you put it in your mouth or replace your entire food intake with it like the inventors hope?

For more commentary, follow me on Twitter @dbirdy, for more photos peep my Flickr and to see all videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

Teaser image credit: The Warehouse Webcomic

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