- Walmart is set to start stocking Silicon Valley meal-replacement favourite Soylent.
- The retailer will sell Soylent in 450 locations across the US.
- The Walmart deal, as well as a 2017 partnership with 7-Eleven, reveals a push towards the mainstream for a brand that originally positioned itself as a tech startup.
Walmart is now stocking Soylent.
On Wednesday, Rosa Foods, the maker of Silicon Valley’s favourite “open source” meal replacement Soylent, announced that the product will be available in 450 Walmart locations across the US. Soylent’s website allows shoppers to search for where they can find a nearby store that sells Soylent.
The deal follows Soylent’s debut in more than 2,500 7-Eleven locations. Before the 2017 7-Eleven deal, Soylent was solely available online, on Amazon.com, and on the brand’s website.
“Our expansion to retail and now with Walmart is a great opportunity for Soylent to continue our focus on making unhealthy and unsustainable food voids obsolete for consumers everywhere,” Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley said in a statement.
Soylent originally gained attention for its tech-centric take on food replacement, which made it a Silicon Valley darling.
Rob Rhinehart, who stepped down as the company’s CEO in late 2017, invented the first iteration of Soylent in 2013 as part of an experiment to swap food for raw ingredients to save time and money. Rhinehart engineered Soylent to be “open-source,” encouraging people to tinker with its recipe, and positioned the brand as a tech startup.
“Soylent is a community of people who are enthusiastic about using science to improve food and nutrition,” Chris Dixon, who works at venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, wrote in a 2015 blog post after Andreessen Horowitz invested $US20 million in the company. “If you look at Soylent as just a food company, you misjudge the core of the company.”
Soylent has continued to emphasise its dedication to making nutrition more accessible for all people. However, with its move into the mainstream, the brand runs the risk of losing touch with its tech startup roots.
As recently as 2016, Soylent only had one flavour – Soylent Original – available in powder or liquid form. The drink was designed for function, not taste.
However, since the debut of Soylent Coffiest in August 2016, the chain has added flavours including Cacao, Nectar, Cafe Vanilla, and Cafe Chai, as well as the currently discontinued Soylent Bar. Walmart locations won’t carry the original – which has been described as “milk leftover from eating a bowl of Cheerios” in its flavour – but will stock Cacao, Vanilla Latte, and Coffiest.
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