Never heard of Soylent. Was there not an old film called Soylent Green where soylent green was the populations main food. Turned out at the end that it was made from recycled dead people. Think Ill stick with Huel.
It is always good to see more competition and more brands, but I think Soylent will fail in the UK (and Europe).
I need to write an article about it but I feel that Soylent does not bring much to the table aside for their name. Saturo is already almost the same thing as Soylent, so it is not a new product they are bringing.
They are tons of RTD that are sold in Amazon, including Saturo and YFood (in my opinion better tasting), so that is not new either.
And price wise there are better deals out there like Plenny Drink.
When Huel finally launches their RTD, I feel like Soylent’s consumer base will only be the hardcore fanbase.
You sound like a reporter from an episode of Superman!
We’ve been ‘competing’ with Soylent in the USA for over a year so this doesn’t change too much, we don’t really consider Soylent competition - we’re both striving towards the same goal. The real competition is unhealthy junk food that so many eat every day to get by. The more brands in this space not only makes us all strive for better and more innovative solutions but also justifies the concept.
If J. Bloggs on the street reads press that a US company has totally revamped their formula just so they can get over here then it proves that complete foods are a viable concept.
It’s worth noting that Huel Powder and Soylent v2.0 are totally different products with very different nutritional profiles. So definitely read up.
Are any Complete Foods a new product? Soylent was the first proper nutritionally complete powdered meal outside of pharma’ products. The reason we have Huel, Jimmy Joy, Saturo, etc is because Soylent was US only and some Europeans saw the opportunity - but they are all variations on a theme with tweaked recipes and flavours. Without Soylent it’s arguable that Complete Foods in Europe wouldn’t exist in their current format.
Ok maybe I should clarify what I mean by new product.
Yes there are new products. Any new format, RTD, powder, powder in a bottle that just needs to add water, bars… are new products. They offer something different to the consumer that they did not have before. E.g. Bars offer portability that powder doesn’t and also allows to chew and have the “eating sensation”.
Also when Huel first came into the market they also offered a new product, because their nutritional value was different. It could cater for different people.
YFood offers “a new product” aka different to soylent because it incorporates whey protein instead of soy and it also has more protein. Thus, it is more appealing for me.
Nutberg or ambronite offer complete foods from “real”/whole foods. Thus, they have a new product…
Perhaps new value proposition would have been a better way to explain it.
In Soylent’s case though, I do not think they bring “anything” (much) new to the table. They have no edge.
Nutrition? Saturo is basically Soylent nutrition wise and has a much lower price tag, a bigger history in the European market and already sells in shops in central Europe.
Ingredients? Nothing new there, a formula that is seen in many other shakes, including Saturo.
Packaging? Is Soylent bringing a new fully recyclable RTD? A revolutionary meal size? An option never seen before? No.
Availability in Amazon? No, since Saturo, Yfood, Huel, Nutberg… already sell their products in Amazon.
Taste? I am yet to taste the EU Soylent (only tried it while in LA), but it should not be any different. You know which brand tastes almost identical to Soylent? Saturo, you guessed right. They have the same soy background, but Saturo actually offers more flavours (up to 8).
The company and their marketing? Since they are not going to be moving to an UK warehouse or make an EU team, I do not see their customer service, shipping terms or overall customer attention being better than any of the competitions.
Their Name? Yes, there will be fanboys everywhere, but once the initial craze dies down, I think people will realize there are better brands out there. European complete food consumers are aware that there are more opportunities and tend to spread out more (as seen by the sheer numbers of companies).
I posted all this and more in my article with thoughts over this topic:
I do, because they don’t need an edge to be massively successful - they need money for marketing and sponsorships, and they’ve got a pit full of that.
All of those have existed in Europe as Complete Food products for at least 18 months. Mana RTD for example has been out for around two years, yet still there was space for Saturo, YFood and MyPopUpMeal.
Nutrition, ingredients and packaging - the only reason you’ve seen similar formulas elsewhere is because the EU brands were all born of imitating Soylent and there’s only so much you can do with a recipe and still adhere to RDI’s. Any big deviation would mean defective nutritional.
The EU brands have done amazingly, but it’s still a very niche sector that’s just starting to grow out of it’s early biohacker/tech/experimenter roots. it’s amazing that Huel have sold 20m+ meals since launch three years ago, but Tesco sell over 100m meal deals every year - and that is who Soylent wants to compete with. (Just like Huel does).
Yet, Mana, Saturo and Yfood are slightly different among each other.
I agree that many were born imitating Soylent, and yet most of the European brands have followed slightly different routes, to what soylent has. Yes a lot of them are Vegan and HFLC, but most of them have defining characteristic, like non-GMO, locally sourced, RTD only…
And because Soylent was not available in Europe, it is only normal that few copycats would take the space Soylent would have (saturo).
This is something I fully agree with and it is something one of my readers commented upon. The market will grow and thus the opportunities to sell meals. Soylent has the product and the resources to tap into that market. However, seen their track record (canada, soylent bar, little evolution in their brand…) I cannot fully trust Soylent to do things well.
The reader pointed out that their marketing in the US has been terrible (something I can neither agree or disagree, since I don’t live there). However, it does feel like they have been dormant. The rate at which other companies are evolving is much greater than what Soylent has shown.
Yes, they have the money and the American consumer base, but they Europeans are getting money too (Feed., Saturo…).
As a side point, it must also be said that marketing in Europe is very different to marketing in the US. In Europe there is borders, cultural differences, strong attachment to food, and many other challenges that none of the brands have solved yet.
If Soylent can do that, then perhaps they will overrule the local brands.
P.S. Success is relative. When I am talking about success and failure here, I do not mean that Soylent will go back to the states, but that they will not be able to obtain a big market share. I do not think they will reach the likes of JJ, Huel, Mana or Saturo. I think they will be a small company.
There are many, many examples of what is generally perceived to be ‘the best’ losing out to inferior competitors for various reasons…I wouldn’t write-off Soylent yet, particularly as this appears to be a very soft launch. They’ve had a rocky ride but ironically this has helped put their name and the liquid food concept out there like no other.
How many Amazon only launches get a BBC News article? For whatever reason, maybe because they were first, Soylent does appear to have fairly wide brand recognition. It was certainly the first complete food I ever heard of (last year, so plenty of others in the market by then).
If an RTD can penetrate somewhere like Tesco and their name becomes shorthand for meal replacement that’s half the battle won, even if there are cheaper/better alternatives. In my industry (photography) Canon are at least a generation behind with consumer DSLRs, yet many newbies looking for their first DSLR will buy Canon because of the name.
The big issue is they don’t sell one bottle to try. Same with Saturn. I’m not spending £40 to find out I may not like it. They need a trial sample to sell. Not many companies are doing trials which is a barrier for potential customers.