Joylent the European alternative for the American Soylent, which is a meal replacing beverage available in liquid and powder form. The drink is created by a software engineer who was fed up with the time, effort and money his meals were demanding. By testing on himself he developed the drink which will provide you will all the nutrition you need during your day to day life.
At first glance this product seems like the perfect frugal innovation. The developer made use of the knowledge we have on nutrition and made it into something cheap and easy to use. The ideal solution for people who don’t want to waste unnecessary time and money on nutrition you would say. With Soylent a meal almost changed to charging your battery to get back to work as fast as possible, and make the most of your time.
It is true efficiency has become more and more important in our society. Society demands that we make the best out of ourselves, and most of the time we want to do that our self as well. This is why every step we take in this process is fine-tuned and optimized, or being optimized to be as efficient as possible and make as much progress as possible. A Soylent diet would be quit a good fit in this lifestyle and would optimize this process of eating completely. The question is do we want to optimize this, isn’t the social thing revolving around eating the thing that makes us human.
As Michael Pollan writes in his book, Cooked, “Cooking gave us not just the meal but also the occasion: the practice of eating together at an appointed time and place… But sitting down to common meals, making eye contact, sharing food, and exercising self-restraint all served to civilize us.”
It is for a reason we have been sharing meals as long as we can remember, the whole interaction between our species started in shared interest in food and realizing that it is easier to obtain this together. So let’s take those few scares moments, of the day filled with doing your brainless job which is optimized to the maximum so you have to think as little as possible, where you can take a rest for a second and act social. Isn’t this social interaction as humans pretty much the only feature left that separates us from the clever robots we created?
Joylent is a very clever frugal innovation in the nutrition sector, but for me it is not a responsible innovation. It may be very practical to use Joylent to replace meal once, but let’s please not forget where social interaction between humans started.