The 1950s birthed many sci-fi clichés – that we would build moon cities, be invaded by Mars and have robots to serve us around the home. Few of these have really come true, but one idea – that we would eat artificial foods has been kept going by hobbyists and enthusiasts. An all in one food replacement called Soylent captured the public’s imagination in 2013 in the US. A similar invention, called Joylent, was created in the Netherlands.
For an all in one food to be a success it has to hit a number of points. It has to be all in one that provided enough nutrition and leave you feeling full and satisfied. It has to be simpler than normal food, if it takes more effort than making a sandwich then most people will just make the sandwich. Finally it has to be economic – it could be the same price or even a little more than normal food because it is more convenient, but if it is much more expensive it will not make an impact.
So what exactly is Joylent and how does it work? In the simplest terms Joylent is a powder provided in one day portions. Add the powder and a small sachet of oil to water, mix and drink the shake and you will get all the nutrients you need for one 24 hour period. Liquid diets are used in some medical situations, but might an all in one food be useful for others as well?
Retailer: Joylent +:
Price: ± €1.67 – €2 per meal, sold as 15 (€30), 30 (€55) or 90 (€150) meals in a package.
Delivery: Free delivery for orders >€30 within the EU.
Ships to: Worldwide shipping (custom/duty taxes may apply outside EU)
About Joylent (the company)
Joylent the company is based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and was founded in June 2014. It was started because the founder, Joey van Koningsbruggen, saw a gap in the market – Soylent was becoming available in the US but was not shipping beyond their borders. Joylent was able to take and build on the open source formula and deliberately started off shipping worldwide. The company has been through three moves and grew to employing over 35 people in their first year to keep up with demand.
Joylent is very simple to use and understand. It is delivered in resealable pictorially labelled bags, each of which have a one day supply of food, that’s just under 2000 calories. There are 5 flavou
- Target audience: Adults interested in convenient nutrition that require little preparation.
- Target age range: Made for “regular adults,” “Joylent is not intended for children under the age of 18 or women in pregnancy.”
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral design.
- Special considerations: Chocolate is a common migraine and acid-reflux trigger and will contain caffeine.
Environment & People
The economics of Joylent can be looked at in two ways, comparing it to a normal diet or to other food replacements drinks. Joylent costs €30 Euros (£23) for 5 days, €55 (£43) for 10 days or €150 (£122) for 30 days. That works out at around 90p per meal (5 meals per day) or £4.60 food cost per day.
Compared to a ‘normal’ food diet, it is a competitive price at under £5 per day. A basic healthy diet from budget fresh ingredients is possible for less, but at £4.50 for 3 meals and 2 snacks is definitely a cost-effective competitor. It is cheaper than the most basic of budget ready meals and compared to most diets, it does cost less than food.
Joylent is at the moment the cheapest meal replacement on the market in Europe and the UK with Huel costing around £1.50 per meal and Ambronite at £8.80
Serving size: 173 g (3.5 scoops)
Flavours: Vanilla, Banana, Strawberry, Chocolate, Mango
Oat flour, soy flour, whey, maltodextrin, ground flaxseed, vitamins/mineral mix containing Sodium chloride, D-Glucosamine sulphate 2NaCl, Calcium carbonate (precipitated), L-Choline bitartrate, Magnesium oxide (heavy), Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin E 50% (dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, 500 IU), Niacin (niacinamide), Vitamin A (retinol acetate) 325000 IU, Vitamin D3, Pantothenic acid (calcium-D- pantothenate) , Vitamin K1 5% , Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin B1 (thiamine mononitrate), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Copper sulphate, Folic acid, Potassium iodate, Chromium chloride, Biotin, Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin).
After spending 5 days living on Joylent exclusively (apart from one absent-minded apple) and using it for odd meals or days afterwards for 18 months and counting, would I recommend it? Yes. This sort of food is never going to replace a full eating experience. Food is partially for nutrition but equally for enjoyment, taste, smell and an experience. As such I cannot see Joylent or any other sort of all in one food replacement being popular as a long-term substitute for real food.
It does hold many advantages as a short term plan for a few days or longer term as a one or two meal a day replacement. It is nutritionally complete, simple enough for most to prepare without problems, tastes reasonable and it is economic. It shines the most for those who are very busy, saving money when travelling or away from home or for those who have difficulty preparing or eating a nutritious meal. It lends itself to so many different scenarios that I think it deserves a space on the kitchen shelf in most homes. Recommended.
The review is based on a selection of all flavours of Joylent kindly provided by Joylent. Read more about Ergohacks’ eco, access and feature icons used in reviews. This article was first published on 12 December 2014 and last updated on 14 June 2016.