By FARHAD MANJOO
May 28, 2014
I just spent more than a week experiencing Soylent, the most joyless new technology to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS.
Soylent is a drink mix invented by a group of engineers who harbor ambitions of shaking up the global food business. Robert Rhinehart, the 25-year-old co-founder and chief executive of the firm selling the drink, hit upon the idea when he found himself spending too much time and money searching for nutritious meals while he was working on a wireless-tech start-up in San Francisco. Using a process Mr. Rhinehart calls “scientific,” the firm claims to have mixed a cornucopia of supplements to form a technologically novel food that offers the complete set of nutrients the human body needs for survival.
You can live on Soylent alone, Mr. Rhinehart claims, though in practice he said customers would most likely use it to replace just their “staple meals,” by which he meant most of the junk you eat every day to fill yourself up. Mr. Rhinehart argued that Soylent, which costs about $3 per serving, is cheaper, easier to prepare and more nutritious than much of the food that makes up the typical American officer worker’s diet today.