Apr 072017

Now you have to love a company that names a food product Soylent. And if a prominent local blogger and reviewer has an opportunity to be seen drinking from a bottle labeled Soylent, then he certainly must take it, mustn’t he?

Soylent is a line of products that includes ready-to-drink food in four flavors, as well as a powder concentrate. I drank the original flavor for this review. Other available flavors include cacao, nectar, and coffiest (with caffeine). Each vegan 14-oz. bottle contains 400 calories and 20% daily nutrition.

Quoting the label:

“While not intended to replace every meal, Soylent can replace any meal.”

Quoting the site:

“We fuel our bodies every day, and often it feels like hard work. That seemed wrong, so we created Soylent.”

And those two quotes tell you a lot about where the company is coming from. This isn’t supposed to be some magic formula for weight loss, super health, or anything else. This product is the result of a guy who started thinking, basically: hey, we have to eat or we’ll die, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass.

So, this is really one of the first commercial passes at the white goop they ate in The Matrix.

Now clearly, you don’t have to read BoWilliams.com or look at me long to see that I don’t feel that way. I enjoy food much too much. I do, however, frequently struggle with making a nutritionally sound breakfast fit my schedule consistently. If I’m hurried in the morning, then I’m a threat to hit the snack bar at work about 10, and there aren’t a lot of good choices there. So this could be an intriguing option for grabbing and going during the week.

Lea and the boys were interested in trying it, so we sat down together to review it. I chilled it for six hours before we tasted it.

I shook the bottle because it seemed like I should, but I can’t see that it says to, and I don’t think it was necessary. I poured it into a glass. It’s not quite as viscous as a milkshake, but maybe a little thicker than tomato juice. It’s a touch too beige to call it a cream color. There is a mild grainy smell that is noticeable, but not unpleasant.

I had read online that it was mildly sweet, and I think I expected it to taste something like kaopectate. It does not. It reminds me of an ice cream cone—just the cone part, without ice cream, and not a sugar or waffle cone but a mass-produced cheapie. So, not gustatory nirvana, but not bad, particularly considering all of the nutrition it’s packing.

Though I found it reasonably palatable, I never had any thought of making it last so I could “savor” it for a while, as I might with a good beer or coffee. So after I was sure I’d done all the careful tasting I wanted to do, I slammed it. This was a reasonable thing to do with it as well, producing no regret. I was able to drink it as quickly as a glass of water.

Lea thought it was all right, but complained of an aftertaste. Nathan pronounced it “like snot, but runnier.” Aaron said “it tastes like…I’m glad to have it out of my mouth.”

So we’re not talking about a family favorite. I think, however, that it hits its marks, and it should be judged by those. If eating is something to be expeditiously gotten out of the way so you can get back to what you’re doing, then Soylent is a success. A 12-pack delivered to your home is $34, with a slight break for “subscribing” (agreeing to regular shipments).

I will be trying the cacao, nectar, and Coffiest flavors as well, and will add brief notes to this review as I have them.

UPDATE 4/21/2017: I had the cacao flavor for breakfast this morning. It tastes very good—good enough that I’m going to bump my ranking a full point, up to 8/10. It’s smoother than the original and a little thicker than chocolate milk, but well within that taste framework. There are no odd undercurrents or aftertastes. You could give it to a child with a “here, chocolate milk!” and s/he would drink it without questioning it.

UPDATE 5/09/2017: We’ve had the Coffiest flavor around for a couple of days, and my older son and I have been using it “grab and go” as is the intent. It might be a little darker than the cacao flavor, but is of similar consistency. It tastes pleasantly and prominently of coffee, with perhaps a hint of chocolate. It is smooth and palatable enough to “slam,” just like the other two—but given the significant caffeine content, you may want to take just a few minutes with it to avoid an unpleasant sudden buzz.

UPDATE 5/18/2017: My younger son and I tried Nectar, the final flavor, this morning. It is roughly as thick as the original flavor, but unambiguously yellow.

It’s not entirely unpleasant, but it’s easily my least favorite of the four. It tastes strongly of the original flavor, but with an artificial sweetness, like cheap hard candy, overlaying it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really mix together and make anything unified. I’ll be drinking each of these in one shot, before I leave the house, rather than taking on my commute.

It seems to me there is one obvious flavor missing, however. I would love a vegetable variety, with perhaps jalapeno as a dominant flavor. Let’s see…what could they call it


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  2 Responses to “Review: Soylent Ready-to-Drink Food”

  1. All the valued nutrition presented would not even entice someone to drink this that would be highly allergic to soy and it’s products. Yuck, who has time for ER visit because of hives from soy. Not enough talk could ever put one in this situation. If you can hack it then please have at it. Pour it all down a drain somewhere other than those who could not because of an allergy…

    • Ummm…yes, indeed. If you are allergic to certain things, you should definitely stay away from those certain things. (?!?)

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