The psychology of Soylent and the prison of first-world food choices
J Thoendell stashed this in Food
So what is it good for? Right now, Soylent is a relatively low-cost, apparently healthy product that folks in the United States can use to supplement or replace snacks or meals. And it’s important to emphasize that, marketing aspirations of Rob Rhinehart and Rosa Labs aside, that’s all it is. In spite of many people pinning their hopes of rescue from a prison of choice and the enticing tyranny of junk food addiction, Soylent's creators haven't necessarily set out to cure depression or salvage someone from a pit of unhealthiness.
Much like how Soylent can be altered by adding additional flavoring, its customers are shaping its market and purpose with their intentions. International orders are slated to begin at some point in the next few months, which will open things up to non-domestic customers, but the "Soylent revolution" won’t be a giant beige tidal wave that wipes all cooking and social interaction off the table. It sounds like it has the possibility of helping some unhealthy folks start a journey toward less-unhealthy living—after all, even if it turns out Soylent isn’t really all that great for you, it’s almost certainly better than a Whopper and fries—and it will also unquestionably make Rob Rhinehart and some of the Rosa Labs people (and their VC backers) a whole hell of a lot of money.
But don’t sell your knives and forks just yet. Real food isn’t going anywhere. Even though I’m Soylent-ing it for at least a bit on most days, I’m not at all giving up on my garlic chicken recipe. I don't have to. On the other hand, if it helps pull my buddy Matt and other despairing, unhealthy folks back from the self-described cliffs they feel they're standing over, then Rob Rhinehart has truly done something good.
"Soylent is a relatively low-cost, apparently healthy product that folks in the United States can use to supplement or replace snacks or meals."
I'd still be interested in seeing if it has an application in eradicating world hunger.