The once-niche beverage will now be available at 20,000 U.S. retailers.

By Mike Pomranz
April 08, 2019

Looking at it now, it feels a bit quaint: Not long after Soylent launched in 2013, the oddly-named meal replacement drink was primarily seen as a bizarre beverage targeted at Silicon Valley-types looking to streamline their lives by cutting out eating and sold by an even stranger founder who lived in a shipping container and wrote long manifestos, behavior possibly explained by stretches in which he claimed to survive solely off his own Soylent creation.

Rick Kern/Getty Images

Whether that was all part of the hype machine or not, Soylent has made some significant pivots since then — adding a coffee-flavored breakfast version, for instance — helping to turn the drink toward the mainstream. By 2017, Soylent was finding its way into some 7-Eleven locations, and now, it can firmly wave goodbye to its reputation as a beverage only for tech industry elite: Soylent has announced it’s getting national distribution at Walmart.

Frankly, whether Soylent’s expansion proves that more people are quitting eating or the beverage is simply being used as a snack or a hangover cure isn’t entirely clear, but one thing is certain: Walmart had Soylent at just 400 stores in April of last year. Five months later that number was upped to 1,850. And now, it’s all 4,378 locations across the United States. The brand says the reason for the rapid expansion has been “the popularity of the product.”

“By mapping out our growth plan, monitoring results in real time and partnering with Walmart to react quickly to our performance, we have been able to drive sales in a way that has exceeded all of our expectations,” Soylent SVP of Sales Melody Conner said in a statement. “In January 2018 we had just a handful of retail locations in Southern California and our incredible success in Walmart, especially amongst a young, health conscious, on-the-go population has been a great proof of concept for us as we expand our channels.”

Soylent says that thanks to this latest expansion, the drinks will now “be available in over 20,000 locations across the U.S. with zero signs of slowing down.” That is, until some even crazier guy creates a “meal-replacement drink replacement pill.” It could happen. Just look at the unexpected success of Soylent!

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