4 min read

How Meal Replacement Drinks Are Changing the Way the World Looks at Food

At Soylent, our mission is to change the way the world looks at food. Now, more than ever, our planet is in its most compromising state. And, if we don’t make a change soon, we could lose our precious resources for good.

By creating a meal substitute that gives you all of the same food while tasting delicious, we’re hoping to fulfill our mission. Since our start, we have made some excellent strides in doing so.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a meal replacement drink?

A meal replacement shake or drink is an engineered source of nutrition that offers all of the same nutritional benefits as a complete meal.

What do we mean by a complete meal? We define this as something that contains the elements of a nutritious diet while limiting the amounts of less desirable components.

For example, we know that a burger and fries is technically a ‘complete meal,’ but it’s not up to the best standards of a healthy, good-for-you diet. Soylent is crafted to give the body the same nutrients that you would find in a balanced meal.

Meal replacement shakes and drinks can replace any meal, but they are not intended to replace every meal.

Helping avoid food voids for good.

Meal replacement drinks are more than just a convenient way to get nutrition. They are helping those that are food insecure, or without access to nutritional foods get the nutrients their bodies need to thrive.

What’s a food void?

Ever skip a meal? Or, have you ever been in a position where there is no good source of food around you, so you settle for something filled with empty calories? These are typical examples of food voids.

“Food Void” is our way of describing the place where you’re stuck eating something you’ll likely regret or when you don’t eat at all.

Our meal replacement drinks were created to fill this gap. It’s affordable, convenient, and packed with all of the essential nutrients needed to keep the body thriving.

Food as fuel.

Meal replacement drinks are redefining the way we look at food. The western diet especially sees food as more than fuel. Food is a social thing—it’s creative, gluttonous, and an enjoyed part of everyday life.

Let us be extra clear—we’re not trying to change that. In fact, we love food, and by creating Soylent, we hope to celebrate it for decades and decades to come.

Our meal replacement drinks are designed to replace one to two meals per day—not all of them. Our goal is to engineer a nutritious food product that not only tastes good, but gives you all of the fuel you need to conquer the day without feeling sluggish, empty, or overly full. Our drinks save precious resources in the meantime, too. We’ll get into that more later.

Better-for-you ingredients.

To achieve our goal, we stringently analyze every ingredient that goes into our meal replacement drinks and protein powders. We take an empirical approach to everything we create. This means that everything we’ve done is based on findings by the scientific community.

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Using a particular process, we isolate ingredients from multiple sources and combine them in our meal replacement shakes and drinks. Every flavor, formula type, and ingredient is tested to ensure that they are not only giving the body exactly what it needs to thrive but that it also tastes good.

What's In Soylent? Ingredient Infographic

Soy protein isolate.

Soy protein isolate provides a smooth texture and robust amino acid profile. It’s a dry powder food ingredient that is isolated from other parts of the soybean, making in 90-95% protein and nearly carbohydrate and fat-free.

Sunflower oil.

High oleic sunflower oil is a high-quality source of monounsaturated fats, like Omega-3s and contains 0g trans fat per serving.


A slow-metabolizing disaccharide synthesized from beets offers sustained energy without the spikes of refined sugar.

Vitamins + minerals.

Each of our meal replacement drinks provides an array of micronutrients.

Every one of our meal replacement drinks and shakes includes essential macronutrients (i.e., protein, carbohydrates, and fats). They also contain 26 micronutrients or vitamins and minerals that are chosen based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine and the United States Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines of Americans.

Meal replacement drinks are sustainable, too.

Like we mentioned before, our mission is to create delicious food substitutes that help keep our environment thriving.

Earth’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and feeding that many people will require a 70% increase in food production.* With 38% of land already used for agriculture** and 41 million people in America alone struggling with food insecurity, finding solutions to our food access concerns cannot be ignored.

For those reasons, we want to change the way people look at food. That’s why we are pro-science and pro-GMO. GMOs are a safe, economical option for sustainable food production, they cut down on food waste, time spent growing food, and resources used.

At Soylent, it is our mission to change the way the world thinks about food in order to keep our bodies and planet healthy. By swapping just one meal a day to a meal replacement drink or shake, you can make a positive impact on the world we live in.