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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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A Web developer in Atlanta has developed a meal replacement called Soylent. This drink seemingly achieves what I wanted many years ago.

There are a couple objections raised in various fora:

  1. This guy's just a Web developer. How could he have succeeded where all these vested interests have failed?
  2. His concoction is missing the mark on our nutritional needs and he's a goner.

As a fan of the idea behind the product, I want to address these without commenting on his specific solution since I haven't tried it and am barely familiar with the field of nutrition.

I think that this type of product hasn't really been tried outside of medical supply firms. If you look at the field of convenience foods, they typically compete on quality, taste, or price. I have to think that the market for a simple, plain drink that addresses extreme laziness is pretty limited. Most people I know like cooking, variety, or mouth feel. Most people, when learning of Soylent, recoil at the idea of eating the same glop every meal.

So it doesn't surprise me that this market hasn't developed and it doesn't surprise me that someone like me would have created this.

But has he gotten it right? He claims to have read a nutrition textbook and looked on the Internet for the necessary nutrients. Naturally, this has people in an uproar—forgetting that people eat a lot of junk, many exclusively so. The human body is pretty forgiving about what you shove down your mouth hole.

In my original blog entry, I suggested that "People Chow" should take a solid form. I think this is probably a better direction than Soylent because of the need for solids to keep the muscles involved in peristalsis from atrophying. Plus, the idea of adding milk to the solids could provide some variety.

At any rate, I am excited that there's some progress on this front. I signed up to be a beta tester and will document it here if I make it in.