It might seem surprising (or not, depending on your personal taste) that a life lived on instant ramen could lead to a breakthrough in nutrition. But that’s exactly what led Robert Rhinehart to want a food product that provided all of the nutrients of a full meal while maintaining the simplicity of something like an instant noodle. So he created Soylent, which is touted as the biggest pivot in YC (Y-Combinator) history.
With roughly the consistency of a milkshake, Soylent is described on the company’s website as providing “maximum nutrition with minimum effort.”
Click the media player above to hear Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio try Soylent for himself.
$85 will buy you a week’s worth of the product (28+ meals, according to the site). For $300, you get 112+ meals, which the company says is enough for 4 weeks of sustenance.
The Washington Post sat down with a nutritionist to breakdown of some of the benefits and drawbacks of the product. While both the absence of added sugar and preservatives, as well as the elimination of waste were acknowledged as benefits, the article also points to the cultural necessity of food preparation and community. The need for dietary fiber and variety in diet are also cited as concerns.
For his part, Rhinehart says that he was drawn to how a product like Soylent could eliminate some of the complexities of meal preparation from his daily life. And, he points out, traditional meals will be there when you want them.