Consumers will be able to purchase Soylent, the Silicon Valley-aimed meal replacement powder and drink, at Walmart.
Rosa Foods, the maker of Soylent, announced that the product would be available at 450 Walmart stories across the country. This follows Soylent’s retail expansion into 2,500 7-Eleven locations in 2017. Before entering the brick-and-mortar space of 7-Eleven, Soylent was only available online and in bulk (at its website, or on Amazon, where it is number one in the “meal replacement” category).
“Our expansion to retail and now with Walmart is a great opportunity for Soylent to continue our focus on making unhealthy and unsustainable food voids obsolete for consumers everywhere,” Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley, who took over the position in late 2017, said in a statement. “Our team is excited to see Soylent on local Walmart shelves, marking a significant step in providing more ways for consumers to get access to our brand.”
Soylent was developed in 2013 by founder, chairman and former CEO Rob Rhinehart, who positioned the meal replacement as a way to save time and money while also getting daily required nutrients. In 2014, he told Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report that he wanted to make something as “simple, affordable and healthy as possible.”
The Soylent meal replacement, which until 2016 only had one flavor, has been a favorite among those in the tech industry. But it is trying to broaden its appeal. Soylent now comes in its original powder form, and also 14-ounce bottles of already-mixed Soylent in flavors Original, Cacao, Cafe Coffiest, Cafe Vanilla, and Cafe Chai. The flavors Cacao, Vanilla Latte and Coffiest will be available at Walmart.
“While young, educated, tech-savvy, urban males still make up the majority of our customer base, our growing suite of products provides us with the opportunity to reach out to a wider range of consumers,” a Soylent spokesperson told Forbes in 2017. “As the Soylent brand continues to mature, we’re confident that we’ll see ongoing expansion into additional key demographics.”
Taking the brand offline and into retail spaces — including one of the largest grocers in the U.S., Walmart — is part of Soylent’s plan to reach new customers.
“By working with Walmart, Soylent has the unique opportunity to build presence offline with a leading force in the grocery sector,” Melody Conner, Soylent Vice President of Sales, explained in a statement.
Not everything has run smoothly for the startup, however. Soylent has been dogged by issues, including a recall of its dairy-free Soylent 1.8 powder that was potentially cross-contaminated with milk in 2017, and a recall of its discontinued Food Bar in 2016 after customers reported experiencing stomach issues — including vomiting and diarrhea.