My go-to description for Soylent has always been “aggressively neutral.” The slightly silty ready-to-drink meal isn’t trying to win anyone over on the strength of its taste alone. It’s not looking to inspire cravings (though if you’re a true Soylent bro, they can happen). Instead, it’s playing the long con. As a longtime Soylent stan (sorry!), I relish the drink’s inoffensiveness; that there is no flavor means there is no flavor to get sick of, and that’s what makes it palatable in the long term.
Soylent’s latest flavor, Strawberry, is a fresh summery take on the notorious meal replacement drink. Thankfully, its taste palette is more reminiscent of Soylent Classic than one of Rosa Labs’ punchier flavors like Chai or Nectar. It’s light and refreshing, with little to no aftertaste. The strawberry flavor is perfectly mild — more creamy than tangy or sickeningly sweet. Oddly enough, it reminds me of Whataburger’s strawberry milkshake, minus about 95 percent of the sugar, or an unsweetened protein shake.
Soylent has existed for a while in a variety of flavors, most of which are pretty fantastic (Ed. note-- ???). Though the drink began as a suspiciously beige powder back in 2013 (the only way to drink it was to hand mix it, which was always a trip), parent company Rosa Labs has since expanded the brand into a fleet of ready-to-drink, prepackaged flavors. There’s the Cafe line, which has a cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine added in and comes in Mocha, Chai, or Vanilla; Soylent Cacao, which tastes like Cocoa Puffs milk; and of course, Soylent Classic, which has always reminded me of Cheerios. There was even briefly a flavor called Nectar, which was later pulled from the shelves after it earned the reputation of tasting like lemon Pledge.
Over the last few years, the beige meal replacement has grown from trendy mix-it-yourself powder for tech bros to ready-to-drink bottles popping up in 7-Elevens, bodegas, and grocery stores. The company has even grown high profile enough to attract the ire of the Canadian government, which insists it doesn’t meet the threshold for an actual “meal replacement” drink. Fortunately, here in America, we never let things like high nutritional standards get in the way of a good business.
Like all Soylent, Soylent Strawberry is 400 calories, with 20g of protein and 20 percent of your daily dose of vitamins (in our dystopian future, people drink five Soylents on a day on a Soylent-only diet). Like most Soylent, it’s pretty gross when warm or room temperature, so putting it in the fridge is a must. It also goes surprisingly well with bananas as part of a smoothie or shake. As someone who’s been a member of the cult since 2015, I’m not the best overall Soylent critic, but my far more normal coworkers did mention they thought it had a bit of a weird aftertaste. One described it as “popcorn-like,” which I still don’t entirely understand, but I accept could be valid.