Yet another company is hoping to disrupt the age-old business of eating food: this time it's Miami-based SquarEat, which had a promotional video go viral for trying to convince viewers they should just eat 50 gram cubes of "modular food" that look more like Snowpiercer's “protein” bars than sustenance.
SquarEat is angling to enter the "ready-to-eat" industry, which is trying to convince consumers that they don't need to cook their own food or even get cooked food delivered to them. Instead, they should get pre-prepared food delivered to them. There are billions of dollars already invested in this space, and SquarEat is hoping to establish itself.
According to a press release issued by SquarEat last week, the company raised $100,000 on the crowd investing platform Wefunder and is hoping to raise $700,000. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised a total of $151,750. The meal plans are not currently available for delivery via the website, but the company confirmed it is available exclusively in Miami, Florida.
SquarEat is similar to Soylent in that it’s a disrupt-y approach to food. However, SquarEat maintains that it’s distinct because its food cubes aren’t meal-replacers like Soylent’s nutrient slurries; they’re just… food, but square.
“SquarEat is not an alternative to food since our squares are made from 100% natural ingredients and they are not meal replacements (for example our chicken square is actually chicken, with the addition of natural spices, so real food),” said Maria Laura Vacaflores, the company’s chief marketing officer. “The only difference is in preparation methods and external appearance. We maintain all the best features of regular food and we add new ones thanks to our process: longer shelf life, better preservation of nutrients, and more convenience.”
SquarEat is offering "gourmet" squares of food that provide "all the nutrients without any additives." To start, you must choose a meal plan (5 to 20 meals a week). Then, you choose a meal size: small (4 squares per meal) or regular (6 squares per meal). From there, you can choose a meal plan that provides you with a box of four squares with specific flavors ranging from "Fisherman" to "Sweet Break" or "Treat." The promotional video shows the cubes being elegantly sliced with a knife and fork for consumption. In other words, SquarEat customers will be eating regular amounts of food, regularly, but in cube form.
In a pitch deck formulated months ago that the company confirmed was real and was repurposed for Wefunder, SquarEat presents itself as ready to "revolutionize" meal planning with "a new concept of food." The perks, it argued, are that there's "no shopping, no cooking, no cleaning, no stress, no junk food."
Other meal plans suffer from a large number of issues, the presentation maintains, for a variety of core reasons. There's "traditional cook & food prep" which allow food to be poorly flavored, are time-consuming, and sometimes have an unspecified "impact on nutrients." There's also the issue of how food is stored, leading to short shelf lives and "multiple weekly deliveries." There's wasteful packaging that takes up space, and "constrained operations” which is supposed to mean cooking something relies on other things already being prepped, cooked, or delivered.
SquarEat thinks it can solve all of these issues with "modern" cooking techniques that allow for preservation and mass production, recipes featuring "perfected" combinations, a lack of additives, "standardized squared modular food," and a delivery time of only one week.
SquarEat's pitch deck also says the company can use an algorithm to tell customers what they should eat. Various subscription models offer certain combinations of tastes and nutrients according to what vibe you identify with the most. Some are solely breakfast-based, others vaguely described as "athletic" or "premium."
The pitch deck also envisions "B2B Gyms" where branded fridges and corners inside gyms and sports centers will offer Squareat meal boxes, but the dream is to expand to "offices, shops, universities, and super-markets" as well as tourist attractions and food delivery apps.
It’s hard to imagine a real reason to replace the joy of eating food—real, non-cube food—with this, but perhaps it’ll go down well with a nice refreshing Soylent.