(Soylent customers are 65 percent men and 35 percent women, though Mr. Crowley said he did not know whether that split represented those consuming the product. He explained: “You could have a female purchaser that’s purchasing it for a male.”)
Soylent’s American expansion has, for the most part, been surprisingly conventional. Once a niche product only available on the web, it now sells at 4,400 Walmarts around the country, where it sits near familiar cold drinks, like milk. (Soylent sells unusually well in Grand Forks, N.D., the company said, offering no theory as to why that might be.) Soylent is now available in ready-to-drink (RTD) form on Amazon, in airports and carwash waiting rooms, and in thousands of other retail locations, supplied by major beverage distributors.
In 2019, Mr. Crowley said, Soylent is about filling in gaps: in a customer’s day; in its product line; in the global food supply.
Andrew Thomas, Soylent’s vice president of brand marketing, found an interesting gap in the tech industry — not, this time, at corporate offices, but in the gig economies their industry designed and oversees, where maximizing efficiency is more of an algorithmic mandate than it is a way to signal your sophistication.
“We are actually stocking fridges in the driver hubs for Lyft,” Mr. Thomas said. “So when the drivers come in either to sign paperwork or to find out what’s going on, for the next 3-6 months, there’ll be bottles of Soylent RTD available for them to pick up.”
The first sip is free. Soon, they’ll have a discount code for drivers. (Lyft and Rosa Foods, Soylent’s parent company, both have Andreessen Horowitz as a major investor.) Mr. Thomas has also created a partnership with the company Cargo, which works with Uber and other companies to supply drivers and passengers with food, and Mr. Crowley said he has “connected” with the chief executive of Postmates, a delivery service.