Can Soylent Bridge cross the gap between meal replacements and snacking?
- Just in time for New Year's resolutions, Rosa Foods, the makers of Soylent, announced a new between-meal substitute: Soylent Bridge.
- Coming only in chocolate, the 11oz bottles contain 180 calories, 15 grams of plant-based protein, 36 essential nutrients and 3 grams of sugar. All of these good-for-you perks are in cartons that have a year-long shelf life.
- This vegan, nut-free drink will be sold in 12 packs for $24.70 for subscribers and $26 for one-time orders.
As the new year rolls in and people are trying to keep diet-related resolutions, Soylent is taking advantage of the season and rolling out a between-meal snack substitute to complement its array of meal-replacement drinks.
Although Soylent Bridge has about half the calories of the company's full-sized bottles and a slightly cheaper price point, the new product doesn’t have much else different from classic Soylent. The new snack-sized portions sell for about $0.19 cents an ounce while the full-sized versions sell for $0.23 cents an ounce. Compared to other plant-based, health-focused snack options, however, the price point is not as steep as consumer comments tend to suggest. As a point of comparison, other popular better-for-you snacks include Barnana Brittle is $1.43 an ounce and vegan cheddar cassava root chips run at $0.95 cents an ounce.
Still, these more expensive options may have taste on their side to convince consumers to purchase their products. Soylent, on the other hand, faces an uphill battle. It has been described as tasting like unsweetened soy milk, which is not necessarily appealing to consumers trying to curb mid-afternoon cravings for something tasty.
But clearly, the product comes across as convenient and flavorful enough to attract retailers and customers. Soylent has been the No. 1 grocery product on Amazon. In 2018, the company expanded into 10,000 stores throughout the U.S., including Kroger, H-E-B, Walmart and convenience stores.
To increase its reach and align with the on-the-go trend of snacking instead of meals, Soylent is aiming at the growing snack market. This is a smart move. According to Grand View Research, the overall snack market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 5.2% between 2019 and 2025.
While a meal replacement drink is something that consumers have been used to for generations, as a snack Soylent Bridge will likely battle preference for chewable foods that taste good. There are not many other drinks positioned at the snacking segment. Direct competitors are more natural items, including fairlife's smart snacks made from milk, honey and oats, and drinkable yogurt. In addition to their simpler ingredient profile, these items could challenge Soylent on taste. A study from Amplify Snack Brands — now part of Hershey — found 89% of millennials say they first and foremost want a snack that tastes good.
However, Soylent has a reputation of delivering quick nutrition, so the brand name may give it a boost. Beyond its core consumers, people who are not interested in replacing meals with drinks may also want to try this snack to see what the hype is all about.
Regardless, it is a good time for the high-protein and high-nutrient meal replacement market — which is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 6.83% between 2017 and 2021, according to Research and Markets. Soylent selected a serendipitous time to release the new snack version of their trendy beverage. It remains to be seen whether the attraction will hold once New Year's resolutions for healthier eating fade.