Soylent is a supposed meal-replacement drink that, for the student and working population (likely urban middle or upper class), exposes the consumer’s desperation in using it. Its unpleasant taste leaves the drinker desiring both solid food, and a less-pressured lifestyle that would allow them to fit meal times into their schedules. The austere, almost sterile look of the bottles distances the product from any enjoyment we may derive from eating as a species. Although the company trumpets a revolution in nutrition intake and increasing accessibility to those experiencing food insecurity, the relative invisibility in this part of Soylent’s campaign (they use Photoshopped animal images as part of their advertising) hints at a confused product image.
My review is less forgiving than the previous one (see below). Although we agree on the product’s taste, I focus a bit more on the less obvious audience Soylent targets (its campaign to provide nutrition to populations much less privileged than that of our stereotypical image of a Soylent drinker).
“For an aspiring minimalist like myself, Soylent is the dream. Perfectly healthy, zero preparation time, and only a little over $2 per meal. What’s not to like? The taste probably. But that’s a luxury college students can’t afford. What I find amazing, is how well Soylent has rebranded itself with the second version of its product.
The marketing features the product similar to milk. It comes packaged in beautiful white bottles and appears to have a similar texture to melted ice cream. The website highlights the low environmental impact, low cost per meal, and the attractive young people who drink it. This is a pretty powerful branding effort on a product that was traditionally enjoyed only by the biggest life hackers. My plan? To try it out this summer in addition to other human food.”