Soylent ticks ‘health, nutrition, sustainability and disruptive innovation’ boxes, says new president Bryan Crowley

Ex KeVita exec Bryan Crowley joins Soylent as president

Former KeVita exec Bryan Crowley has joined Los Angeles-based Soylent as president as the firm seeks to grow its bricks & mortar retail footprint, develop new products and expand overseas after a rocky few months marred by recalls and a public squabble with a supplier.

Soylent - which is looking to expand the audience for its ‘nutritionally complete’ beverages – recently closed a $50m Series B financing round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), bringing its total funding to $74.5m.

Despite a challenging few monthsSoylent - which has until fairly recently conducted most of its business via its own website - has performed well on Amazon, and built a loyal and highly engaged online community of fans that helps to explain why it has attracted as much interest from investors.

“[Soylent founder and CEO] Rob [Rhinehart] and his team have done a fantastic job building a tremendous e-commerce platform and a lifestyle brand with an incredibly loyal following, and I look forward to building on that success together," said Crowley, who will take over day-to-day running of the business.

“I have a personal passion for health, nutrition, sustainability and disruptive innovation, and this opportunity checks all the boxes for me,” added Crowley, who was previously chief strategy officer at functional beverage brand KeVita.

The appeal of Soylent

The success of Soylent, which was launched in 2013, has both intrigued and baffled trend-watchers, given that its sterile packaging, deliberately bland formula and utilitarian ‘food as fuel’ approach appears to fly in the face of the culinary trend towards ‘minimally processed,’ colorful, flavorful whole foods that are inherently nutritious rather than fortified with nutrients, although there has been growing interest in more portable nutrition and drinkable meals and snacks.  

So who are the heaviest users of Soylent – a brand some more uncharitable observers have described as “only slightly more appealing than an IV bag” - and how are they using it?

The biggest misconception about Soylent is that it is being used to replace every meal, 365 days a year, says Rhinehart, a software engineer who quit the day job in 2013 after deciding “to bet my life on the idea that food could be empirically rebuilt.”

Soylent is not about replacing 'food' 24:7, 365 days a year

In reality, he told FoodNavigator-USA in an interview last year, while you could eat Soylent exclusively (it has been formulated as a ‘nutritionally complete’ food), most customers don’t, and are instead using it when they are busy, or traveling.

“A lot of people are passionately working on their careers, or their studies or taking care of their families and they want a convenient quick way to have a healthy meal at an affordable price point,” argued Rhinehart.

“If you can save time going to the grocery store or cooking now and again, our product frees up your time and means you don’t have to compromise on nutrition.”

We have a very diverse customer base across all income brackets

He added: “We have a very diverse customer base across all income brackets. It’s like coffee, people drink it however much money they make."

As for food fatigue, Rhinehart points out that many users customize the powdered product by adding their own ingredients, and that many foods we eat on a regular basis are “actually pretty bland,” from fries to oatmeal, and we don’t get bored with them.

Soylent has also expanded its range in the past year to include flavored products Soylent Nectar and Soylent Cacao, but has yet to provide a date for the return of the Soylent Bar, which was recalled last year shortly after launch.

Related News

Huel has an "oaty and light vanilla taste"

Huel jets across the Atlantic to take on Soylent, offering ‘complete nutrition’ and convenience

Soylent recalls Soylent 1.8 powder over undeclared allergens

Soylent recalls shipments of Soylent 1.8 powder over undeclared allergen

Soylent unveils Coffiest line extension, plans move into bars

Soylent unveils Coffiest line extension, plans move into bars

Soylent Bar recalled over gastrointestinal issues

Soylent recalls bar, but cause of ‘gastrointestinal issues’ remains a mystery

Soylent unveils two new products: Cacao and Nectar

Soylent unveils new products, says TerraVia squabble will have 'no impact' on business

Soylent: "Our crops and livestock have always been in a state of genetic flux"

Soylent: 'Proudly Made with GMOs'

Soylent powder: Just add water and shake...

Soylent’s rush to judgment over recall is damaging our business, claims TerraVia as it suspends supplies of all of its ingredients to Soylent

Investors aren't just buying into a product with Soylent, but a loyal online community of engaged users, says venture capital exec

SPECIAL FEATURE: So Soylent secures $20m… Money well spent?

Betty Lou's reassures customers in wake of Soylent bar recall

Betty Lou's reassures customers in wake of Soylent bar recall: 'The issue did not originate from our facility'

Soylent CEO Rob Rhinehart: 'We have a very diverse customer base across all income brackets'

Soylent debuts on Amazon Launchpad: 'We are growing very rapidly'

Shipments of Soylent 2.0 to resume after mold incident dealt with

Shipments of Soylent 2.0 to resume shortly following mold probe

Soylent's latest iteration is a ready-to-drink product: Soylent 2.0

Soylent case reignites debate over Prop 65: 'It's basically extortion,' claims attorney

Soylent: “We are reformulating Bar and Powder 1.6 to remove the likely ingredients. Turnaround should be fairly quick. We expect both will available in early Q1 2017, if not before.”

Soylent identifies ‘likely’ ingredients behind digestive issues... but won't say what they are

Ambronite co-founders Simo Suoheimo (left) and Arno Paula

‘Crowdfunding Jedi’ takes on Soylent with Ambronite, the ‘world's first organic drinkable supermeal’

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.