When I recently came across an article that stated nearly 2 in 5 consumers are having a meal replacement drink for breakfast, I immediately called my broker and told him to let my life savings ride on Soylent. Okay…I’ll admit, my understanding of how the stock market works is almost entirely based on the Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd movie Trading Places, but I do have some experience looking at consumer trends and statistics, and 40% seemed very high.

Upon investigation, the definition of “consumer” was spelled out in the fine print near the bottom of the research firm’s press release, and that was:

983 US adults who purchased nutritional and performance drinks in the three months ending February 2016.

This doesn’t sound like a “consumer,” this sounds like a “consumer of nutritional and performance drinks.” It’s much less surprising that people who buy these types of drinks tend to, you guessed it, drink them, and that sometimes they do it in place of whole foods for breakfast. Still, even with this narrow definition of consumer, 40% seemed really high. So we asked the following question on July 13th and 14th to over 2,350 respondents:

Nutritional drinks for breakfast - topline

Our research found that only 23% of US adults even qualify as consumers of nutritional and performance drinks within the past three months, let alone replace breakfast with them. In fact, only 11% of all adults do this at all, and those who do it on a weekly basis or more often only make up 6% of the whole population. When we look only at adult consumers of these drinks and group together the people who replace breakfast on at least a weekly basis, we find that only about a quarter of those nutritional and performance drink consumers are replacing their breakfast on a regular basis:

Nutritional drinks for breakfast - regulars

I suppose accounting for people who drink these for breakfast every other week or so, one can make the argument that over 40% of adult consumers of nutritional and performance drinks are replacing their breakfast. That’s a stretch. I don’t think I’d be investing in Soylent based on this news…but I would like to try it sometime.