A Finnish start-up has created a powdered beverage, Ambronite, that they call “the world’s first organic drinkable super meal that fulfills daily nutrition recommendations.” Its P.R. firm recently sent me an email calling Ambronite “the world’s first ‘real food’ super travel meal.” Hey, I like Finns, I like travel, and I like meals. This thing had my name written all over it! Ambronite—vegan and gluten-free—won’t be in full production until later this year, but I managed to snag three 500-calorie packets and decided to live on the stuff for one full day, three meals, and eat nothing else. Here’s how it went.
Breakfast, 9 a.m.
When I arrived at my office in the Time & Life Building in Midtown Manhattan, I took a packet of Ambronite to the break room and mixed it with two cups of plain water, according to the directions. The fine powder is a medium-green, and when mixed with water resembles pea soup. The smell, however, was something different, something from childhood, something like… Play-Doh! The taste was, um, not unpleasant. Vegetable-ish. Chalky, with minuscule chewy bits of dried and rehydrated oat, rice, coconut, even wild sea buckthorn, whatever that is. (See the entire list of ingredients on the indiegogo site). But the vegetable particles caught in my throat. I needed a glass of water before I was halfway finished. It was all just…okay. Later I mentioned this to one of my fellow editors. He said, “Sounds like it would be great for refugee situations.”
Lunch, 12:30 p.m.
Thanks to the powder’s color, the comparisons with the movie Soylent Green are inevitable. So for lunch I decided to mix it up with Snapple cranberry-raspberry juice instead of water. Although it didn’t change the mossy color of the beverage as I’d hoped, the Snapple definitely made the Ambronite more palatable. But the chalkiness was still there. Even so, the drink was very filling; I’d had no hunger pangs since “breakfast.” I told my boss about the new “travel super meal.” He said, “Aren’t you supposed to try local foods and restaurants when you travel?”
Dinner, 8 p.m.
Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to din-din. A little Ambronite goes a long way, and I wasn’t very hungry thanks to my “lunch.” Also, I still wasn’t into the taste, even with the Snapple. This time I used orange juice to blend the powder, and as a result it was somewhat tastier. But the organic grittiness was still a turn-off. I finished half of the mixture and poured the rest down the drain. I told my daughter what was going on. She said, “Try mixing it with beer next time.”
Ambronite isn’t for everyone. On the other hand, it could be useful on camping trips, or maybe on long drives, and certainly for someone on a liquids-only diet. Beyond that, the powder takes too long to mix with water by hand. It took me about three minutes to get rid of the lumps. Also, mixing Ambronite with just plain water is boring. It really does need additional flavorings, like juice, or blended with fresh fruit.
The price has not yet been set, but reports indicate a single packet will sell for a hefty $7-$8. In Ambronite’s defense, however, its ingredients are all premium and organic. And do you even realize what sea buckthorn is going for these days?!
But now you’ll have to excuse me. It’s nearly 5 p.m. of the next day, and I really do need a hamburger.