Food & Beverage Technology Blog

Food & Beverage Technology

The Food & Beverage Technology Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about Processing, Packaging/Storage/Preservation, Materials Handling, and Inspection/Quality. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Previous in Blog: In Defense of GMO   Next in Blog: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking
Close
Close
Close
4 comments

Soylent is Feeding Innovation

Posted July 31, 2013 10:40 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: food manufacturing soylent

There are few things humans cherish as much as food, but the effort needed to acquire our meals has never been constant.

Long gone are the days where spear-in-fist and loincloth-on-waist we'd hunt down wooly mammoths after tracking them for miles. Though we may have been rather proficient at our hunting duties - humans are the most impressive endurance animals on Earth - sometime between the discovery of agriculture and the invention of the Foreman Grill our predatory instinct to stalk was replaced with the urge to stuff our faces as-quickly-as-freaking possible. The effort of catching your dinner, bringing it back home and preparing it has been replaced with a shopping trip to the grocery or, even worse, a short wait at the drive thru. It's even somewhat depressing to think about all the people who haven't earned -- either by work or calorie expenditure -- their food, yet hundreds of thousands go starving each month.

But there is at least one constant in regards to our cultural attitudes with food: ritual and celebration. We love to share our food with friends and family. "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach." We pay a person to go out to eat and tell you everything that's wrong with their meal. Students spend years at culinary institutes learning how to make exquisite cuisine. We have channels and magazines dedicated to food, and shows entirely about reprimanding people who cook "f***ing rubbish!" (language warning: Gordon Ramsay).

So what happens in a world where there is no food? Nourishment, sure; but no food. If a software engineer from California has his way, we'll be drinking the same exact thing for each meal, every day.

It's not that crazy of a concept, after all. Our canine and feline friends often make-do with the same food non-stop. Heck, Canidae dog food is my dog's favorite thing in the world. Even though there hasn't been a scientific conclusion about the value of feeding our pets rotating diets, many dog owners are proponents. And we already have meal replacement drinks, they're just not food replacement drinks. It's easy to picture a day where the entire human population consumes the same nutrients. Not only would it peak our measures of sustainability, but it'd be easy to distribute to impoverished areas of the globe. This could be one of the key steps towards achieving a human dystopia, if you're into that kind of thing.

Rob Rhinehart didn't invent Soylent with an altruistic vision in mind. Rather, he was a poor, unemployed software engineer in San Francisco struggling to get by. Before Soylent, his diet was heavily-based on Ramen Noodles and corndogs. Rhinehart recalls, "I was unhealthy, hated cooking, shopping, and cleaning, and my only major expenditure was food." After considerable research, he ordered a selection of powders and nutritional supplements from laboratory supply stores. The result was a gross, milky concoction (pictured right) that left Rhinehart with a cardiac arrhythmia and flushing, but after some revisions Rhinehart has noticed an increase in energy and healthier skin. Somewhere there's a trade-off.

While this drink hardly sounds or looks appetizing, Rhinehart has raised $800,000 to further research Soylent. He plans to formulate several versions to cater to individual nutritional needs. An athlete would need more protein; an aging female may need more calcium; an overweight person could use less calories. Rhinehart relies on Soylent for 92% of his calorie intake, but like everyone else ever he has a weakness for bacon and it also provides him with some additional fat. This fall, Rhinehart expects to be shipping Soylent to customers worldwide.

There is one major oversight of Soylent however, and that is the taste. It seems as if Rhinehart wanted the drink to taste gross. He claims, "I'm not trying to make something delicious. There are already a lot of delicious things." A few individuals at Gawker tried Soylent, and reviews included such phrases as "My mouth is hot and tastes like old cheese," and "Tastes like homemade non-toxic Play Doh." There were also some not-safe-for-work comparisons. For Soylent to ever achieve real success, it is my opinion that Soylent's taste needs to be improved. Though this radical meal replacement was borne from high-tech 'biohacking', refusing to address this critical aspect of the human-food relationship is absurd.

Next time you're visiting the local market, I advise you to consider the future of your food. While I feel like this next-era innovation is incredible, and can possibly become a part of the solution to global hunger, I know that it's never going to replace the satisfaction of enjoying a delicious meal with loved ones.

Resources


Wikipedia - Soylent

Tech Crunch - Silocon Valley and the Reinvention of Food

Popular Science, Aug 2013 (print) - How To Live Without Food


Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 30802
Good Answers: 1722
#1

Re: Soylent is Feeding Innovation

07/31/2013 5:09 PM

Ha!! good luck with that.....Soylent Green was successful because it tasted good....People tend to care more about how something tastes rather than what's in it...

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 507
Good Answers: 3
#2

Re: Soylent is Feeding Innovation

08/01/2013 10:35 AM

I once stayed alive on nothing but a protine drink , Adell Davis, for 6 months. Did not gain or lose a pound, rode my bicycle to school and work.

__________________
I went to Texas A&M, I am proud to be an Aggee. Proud to be an Aggey, Proud to be an Agie.............Proud to have gone to Texas A&M.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 30802
Good Answers: 1722
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Soylent is Feeding Innovation

08/01/2013 12:55 PM

You didn't lose weight because it probably had sugar in it....You can lose weight on the Atkins diet, but you must eliminate any form of sugar for it to work.....

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 523
Good Answers: 17
#4

Re: Soylent is Feeding Innovation

08/01/2013 1:58 PM

Amazingly, this guy knows something that no one else on the planet knows: a one size fits all complete nutrition. Absolutely sure there is nothing missing? Hypoallergenic? No interactions with any medications? Cheaper or safer to use unregulated food supplements?

As for myself, I will continue to eat a variety of tasty poisons and let my liver sort things out.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 4 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

reward54 (1); ronclarke (1); SolarEagle (2)

Previous in Blog: In Defense of GMO   Next in Blog: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

Advertisement