In the future, the world will be dangerously overpopulated and basic necessities like food and water will be scarce. Governments will crumble and unregulated giant corporations will add addictive substances to the their food products so consumers grow physically dependent on them.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you've probably read The Space Merchant, the 1953 science fiction novel by Cyril M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl. One of the products in the book is the Coffiest, a drink made with trace amounts of a highly habit-forming ingredient. After two and a half months, the consumer is hooked for life.
It's certainly a dystopian vision--but it's not too dark to inspire the name of meal-in-a-bottle company Soylent's newest product. (The name Soylent itself comes from the dark science-fiction novel Make Room! Make Room! and its film adaptation Soylent Green.) Soylent's version of the Coffiest might not be as sinister as the novel's, but it does have more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Released on Tuesday, the product is a coffee-flavored liquid meal packed with 150 mg of caffeine and 75 mg of l-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea that's supposed to help you relax.
Soylent CEO and founder Rob Rhinehart tells Inc. that the company's newest product is a great meal replacement like the powdered Soylent and the ready-to-drink Soylent 2.0. Like its predecessors, a 14-ounce bottle of Coffiest has 400 calories and contains 20 percent of the daily recommended values of many essential vitamins and minerals.
"We've developed new consumable food products that fit in with a modern lifestyle," says Rhinehart, a 2015 Inc. 30 Under 30 honoree. "Most morning options are not functional and not nutritious enough. To me, adding some flavor and caffeine is a nice way to add variety." Other Soylent products are offered only in one "neutral" flavor.
Founded in 2013, Soylent brought in $10 million in revenue in 2015, raised $20 million and is valued at over $100 million.
Rhinehart says Soylent also will be coming out with a salted caramel-flavored food bar. "Soylent is much bigger than a beverage company," he says. "We want to make as many meals as possible."