For several years Soylent has been the the meal replacement of choice for busy Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, but now Rosa Labs is branching out and releasing the first non-liquid version of Soylent, the Soylent Bar. As a frequent drinker of Soylent for the past year or two, I was excited to try this new offering from the company. Did it meet my expectations? How was the taste? Is it worth buying? Let’s dive in to our Soylent Bar review and find out. (NOTE: Soylent has since recalled the Soylent Bar because, in rare cases, it induced vomiting. Neither myself or my friends ever felt queasy while eating the product, but some did. We will update this post or create a new one if a new version is released.)
What is Soylent?
Soylent is a line of meal replacements available in both liquid and solid form. Initially created as an experiment to create a perfectly balanced food, Soylent is now increasingly popular among entrepreneurs, particularly in Silicon Valley. It is formulated to provide 100% of the vitamins and nutrients that you need for optimal health. The original liquid version has been out for several years, but the Soylent Bar is brand new.
For those of us used to the slightly bland taste of liquid Soylent, the first taste of a Soylent bar is actually a huge shock. They’re sweet, and taste a bit like caramel. This has challenged my idea that good nutrition doesn’t taste like desert.
Soylent is special because of its formulation.
Their caramel taste is why I initially didn’t like the bars–but it is also why I think they will be quite successful in the marketplace. I’ve always thought most bars are too sweet, and so it is not surprising Soylent took this route when designing their offering. Furthermore, the Soylent bar is certainly far from the sweetest bar I’ve tried, so, on a comparative scale, it is not that sweet. As with anything relating to taste, your mileage may vary, but I think the only people who really won’t find the taste acceptable are those who dislike caramel. I’ve grown to adapt to the taste.
Soylent is special because of its formulation. It is designed to be a balanced meal, with nearly the exact percentage of fat, carbohydrates and vitamins for optimal health. For example, the recommended daily caloric intake for the average adult is 2000 calories. A Soylent bar contains 250 calories, or 12.5% of the the total. It also contains approximately 15% of your recommended fat intake, 10% of your recommended carbohydrate intake, 12% of your recommended protein intake, and 15% of your recommended intake for many vitamins such as Vitamin C, E, B12, Iron, and other nutrients. So, if you ate only Soylent Bars, you would be getting close to the exact percentage of nutrients for optimal health. This idea sounds simple and even obvious, but most other meals are not this balanced. For example, a 250 calorie snickers bar has only 4% of your daily recommended protein intake, and contains a whopping 23% of your daily saturated fat. Although you would need to eat eight snickers bars to achieve 2,000 calories, after the fourth bar, you’d have already maxed out on saturated fat.
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Of course, a Snickers and Soylent Bar are essentially apples and oranges. One is a dessert focused on taste, one is a health bar focused on nutrition. But, before the Soylent Bar many of your food bar options included treats like Snickers. Does Snickers taste better than a Soylent Bar? Definitely. Is it more balanced? Definitely not. Are they both worth having at different occasions for different reasons? Of course.
Living on it
When Soylent was initially released, the founder of the company made a big deal that he was primarily living off of Soylent, and only eating real food occasionally. Reviewers and journalists followed this idea to its logical conclusion, releasing many, many, many, “I lived on Soylent for a month” articles and videos. Although the company has shifted its tone (it now says Soylent can replace any meal, but is not designed to replace all meals) the question remains: During the coming Trump/zombie/asteroid apocalypse will you want to live off of Soylent bars? The answer is a resounding no. Paradoxically, although a Soylent bar is closer to “real” food than the drink, I would actually vastly prefer to only drink Soylent 2.0 than have to eat 8 Soylent bars a day. The Soylent bar is just slightly too sweet to have more than a couple times a day, while the blandness of Soylent 2.0 (which sort of tastes like almond milk) makes it easier to consume large quantities.
But all of this “can you live on Soylent” thing sort of misses the point. The truth is that you won’t want to even though you probably could. The Soylent bar is a snack, and it’s a good snack–but its not a good replacement for all food.
You’ve got to hand it to the team at Soylent–they have created a balanced nutrition bar which isn’t loaded to the brim with sugar, tastes decent, and keeps well.
Each Soylent bar basically costs $2, but the exact price depends on how many you buy, and whether you subscribe. I think this price is fair, although it certainly is not cheap. Assuming it can get you through the day without giving in and buying a donut, this is $2 well spent. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of exact pricing, here is some more info:
Soylent bars are available at Soylent.com as a one-time purchase or as a subscription. The fewest amount of bars you can buy is 12, which retails for $24, making the per-bar cost $2. However, only purchases over $25 are eligible for free shipping, making the real cost slightly higher unless you buy a larger quantity. There is no volume discount unless you subscribe, in which case you save 5%.
All in all, the Soylent Bar is very good at one thing: providing a healthy snack instantly. If you have time, real food tastes better and can be just as healthy–but the Soylent bar isn’t designed to replace organic home cooked meals, it’s designed to be balanced, quick nutrition.
The Soylent Bar is good option for camping trips, flights, or other occasions where you need something healthy on the go. It is especially useful on flights, since you wont be able to take the superior Soylent 2.0 beverage onboard, and the Soylent powder is unwieldly for something like that. The Soylent Bar wont completely replace food, or even the liquid Soylent, but it doesn’t have to to be worth purchasing. I keep a box in my cupboard just in case I need something quick on the go. That isn’t so often, but when the time comes, I’m glad I’ve got the Soylent Bar.
For more on Soylent, check out our Soylent Cacao review.