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Show HN: Saag as a Service – macronutrient-portioned Indian spinach curry (pashi.com)
303 points by sohamsankaran 66 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 169 comments



Hi HN, I’m Soham Sankaran, the founder of Pashi, the company behind Saag as a Service (https://saag.pashi.com). We offer three macronutrient-portioned variants of Saag (delicately-spiced Indian spinach curry): High Fat Saag Paneer, Balanced Saag Tofu, and High Protein Saag Seitan. We currently deliver weekly to customers in the SF Bay Area.

I started this service because I’ve struggled with nutrition all my life -- with obesity, the threat of my long family history of diabetes, and with getting adequate protein as a vegetarian in the United States. I’ve never had the time to consistently cook all my meals, and it’s hard to know the nutritional value of food you’re getting at restaurants unless you stick to salads or chain fast food (which is required to have nutritional information but is routinely off by 20-40%). Even if you know the nutritional values of the food you’re eating, attempting to log all your meals and snacks in a journal or an app like MyFitnessPal can be a massive time-sink and mental load.

‘Complete nutrition’ products like Soylent and Huel were appealing for relieving the physical and cognitive burden of dealing with nutrition all the time, but I perceived two major issues with them:

1) They taste absolutely terrible. These products are a massive step backward from thousands of years of accumulated culinary experience, and I don’t believe that most people are willing to forgo the pleasure that comes from eating real food three times a day, even if some kind of meal replacement is the right choice for their health. The biggest issue with diet plans and nutrition studies of all kinds is pervasively low adherence -- it just isn’t possible to get most people to consistently eat food that doesn’t taste good.

2) The retail versions of these products are not particularly customizable. Different people have different nutritional needs -- certainly calorically, but also in terms of macronutrient proportions. A female weightlifter and a male endurance runner have different bodies and different goals, resulting in different optimal nutritional profiles. Feeding them the same one-size-fits-all meal replacement is a mistake.

I stated Pashi to provide a real-food based nutrition service that tastes great but still retains the desirable characteristics of things like Soylent. The long term vision is to usher in a world where people can eat real, tasty food that is seamlessly customized to the specific nutritional profile they desire.

I initially soft-launched Pashi as a producer of entire meals with fully customizable calorie counts and macronutrient proportions, but this seemed to confuse people and didn't get very much traction. As a result, we’ve scaled back the focus to one of the most popular, customizable, and easily explainable foods on our menu -- Saag. If this gets some traction, we’ll introduce more fine-grained nutritional customization and more menu items depending on the feedback we get from our users.

I’d love to get the community’s thoughts on this and answer any questions here or via email (soham@pashi.com).


If I were to do 3 meals a day (1500 calories is low but let's say I snack inbetween meals) and $13 per meal on average, this will cost me $39/day, $273/wk, $1092/m. Maybe that's unfair. Maybe I use this to supplement one meal a day and cook the rest. That's $364/m to supplement lunch and I'd still probably have to cook some rice to go along with that. I just checked my local Indian restaurants on Postmates in San Francisco. The highest priced one was at $14.99 but ~%90 of the other options were from $8.99-$10.99 and I pay for Postmates free delivery which is 7.99/m so pretty much negligible. The other thing is that by buying from local restaurants, I can actually make a deal with the owners if I wanted to replace all my meals for the month. Let's say the catering discount I can get is %20, which is usually what you can get on large orders ahead of time. I'm looking at $10-$2=$8 a meal or $672/m to supplement all of my meals.

Finally, I've seen your response to this point elsewhere which seems to be, but those restaurants won't provide the macro nutrient breakdown or have different options for proteins. Just in the dishes provided around my house there's chicken, lamb, tofu, cheese, beans. The only thing missing really is seitan. And if I'm ordering from the same place consistently, can't I figure out what the macros are by asking the chef for an ingredient list? One and done.

I wish you all the best, and I actually love this idea but I can't make this work in my head. To me this just seems like a new, order only, expensive Indian place opened up near me. If you could reduce prices to at least meet brick and mortar restraunts then I'd consider using your service occasionally if it tastes good.


…so your point is that ordering take-out every day of the month is too expensive and that you have to cook for yourself to make ends meet? I warmheartedly welcome you to the club.


"can't I figure out what the macros are by asking the chef for an ingredient list?"

It's possible but the burden of doing so means most people would abandon it after a few days.


If you're eating the same meal every day and/or every meal, it's actually pretty easy..


An ingredient list? I'm pretty sure they all look the same: vegetables, (sugar), oil, spices in that order. But the actual amount of sugar and oil will make a big difference to the macros and isn't detailed in a normal ingredient list.


After checking the website, why ‘never frozen’? This is perishable and flash freezing and thawing isn’t a bad idea at all.

$12 is too expensive as many here have opined. Having said that, you can’t make a profit..never mind break even at that price point on a never-frozen, always fresh, delivered to doorstep stand alone perishable $12/order item.

I have done this model with ghee before. And it’s was only one ingrident: butter and it was made in a commissary kitchen/permitted/licensed shared kitchen. And I could make large batches as it was not perishable.

With rent, insurance, packaging, delivery, CoG, labour and other expenses, you will have to sell a few hundred per week on one end and several thousands per month just to get over the hump.

I know this. I have lived this. Freeze it. It’s not so bad. It’s actually a good thing for perishable food.

Good luck.


I like the pun on on XaaS, but the price just seems outrageous. Why so high?

I know UK is not your market, but here is a comparison of the first two grocery store own-brand saags I found:

£1.65/$2 - https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/product/Morrisons-Th...

£2/$2.43 - https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/293944759

Perhaps you don't get as much protein with these though.

(Incidentally why is everything obsessed with protein these days? Seems like every food you buy now says "source of protein!" Or "contains protein!)


for the prices described you could go to a real Indian place and get some fresh naans as well.

Speaking of which, I think I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.


Eating fat is going to kill you, consuming sugar certainly will. The only thing left is protein.


The whole protein, protein, protein, thing is because it's supposed to make you feel fuller, so you don't overeat. Plus, you know, carbs are bad, so protein!


Is this just delivering a single Indian dish, in 3 variants, as a service (whatever that means in this context)?

Currently available alternatives:

1) go to the nearest Indian restaurant and get it fresh when you need it.

2) use a food delivery service and get if from your favorite Indian restaurant

3) use a frozen variant found in many grocery stores.

4) cook yourself, which is not hard, but we can ignore it in this context.

What is the difference/ unique value prop from the above options?


With Pashi, you get to choose the macronutrient ratio, which is not something restaurants expose or that frozen variants allow to customize.


Ok. If that is enough of a value prop, are we going to see startups offering KungPao as a service, Udon as a Service, Sushi as a service and so on - it doesn't compute.

I really wish you success, since I'm sure/hoping you have other things on your roadmap, but am not convinced this is a sustainable business model at the moment.


Especially at $12 a serving... I find it really hard to believe you can't find a restaurant serving fresh Saag in San Francisco for that price.

It is a very nice website though.


I live in SF, and I ordered a sample of this product. I could (and have) found Saag nearby for a similar price point, but when you take it as a meal the benefits become more clear, as you don't pay tip and drinks are a lot cheaper.


Oh, you haven't heard of Ramen Hero? [1] This is apparently a thing. At least ramen is a complete meal though. I eat lots of spinach (6 days a week) and like Indian food, but I would not consider this service because it is much too expensive for a side dish, and one that is widely available fresh and frozen (and in IMO is not made that much worse by freezing).

1: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1091208024/ramen-hero-t...


But my local place will also offer naan and samosas.


[flagged]


I've been eating Indian food as often as I could get it for over 20 years. I've enjoyed it in Tel Aviv, London, NYC (Murray Hill, if you like Indian food and live in the area you know what I'm talking about). I eat regularly at a little family run place near us in North Jersey that is excellent.

I've never once gotten food poisoning, or even felt like the conditions in the restaurants warranted being worried about it. If your local places are commonly serving contaminated food the problem might be your locale, and not the cuisine.


Casual racism amirite?


Please don't break the site guidelines by replying to an egregious comment, a.k.a. feeding trolls. It only makes the thread even worse.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


[flagged]


Yikes, please don't do that here, regardless of how provocative another comment was. We ban accounts for personal attacks.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I do apologize dang. I let my emotions get the better of me and hijack my reasoning abilities.


I'm not sure of exactly why ordering the same dish with three different balances of nutrients is appealing. People usually eat different foods and get nutrients that way. I'm pretty sure forcing people to eat the same thing every day was ruled some form of cruelyy [0]. This seems very niche and very gimmicky. You're offering exactly one thing with very little variety; even those who say they could eat this every day will eventually get sick of it. I hope you add products; that is how you will grow.

[0]: https://gizmodo.com/lobsters-were-once-only-fed-to-poor-peop...


it's a similar value prop to soylent, which has a hardcore base


What I like about cooking my own Indian is how economical it is when making large batches. Just a few meals of this stuff costs the same as a couple weeks worth of the same if I were to make a month's worth batch. Freezing it really has no effect.


Yeah, I already find myself ordering saag paneer via food delivery apps about once per week. This service seems really cool, but I'm not sure if I have any incentive to use it.


I hate to be pedantic about this but it bothers me that in the west, "saag" has been taken to only mean spinach. There are other leafy greens that saag can be made out of: mustard leaves, for example is a popular one. Fenugreek leaves is another one.

Anyway, good luck with the business, but it would be great if you promoted the more accurate definition of saag. "spinach _or_ other greens" instead of "spinach _and_ other greens".


On their website they state at the top: "saag [/sa:g/] is an Indian curry of delicately spiced spinach and other greens"

I'm not sure if it was always there or done as a response to you.


Really like this concept! As a vegetarian, I have come across many other services that focus on nutritionally customizable products, but when it comes to vegetarian options, the macros / protein numbers leave a lot to be desired. I've also noticed that a lot of the vegetarian options available at restaurants in the bay tend to be much more carb heavy than I would prefer, and it takes a lot of overhead to research / optimize each and every meal.

I'm always looking for ways to algorithmically optimize my meals, and currently Chipotle and their app does the best job of enabling this in a standardized way (can pretty easily get nutrition info and hook it into other apps) , but it ends up being pretty boring on a routine basis. Something like this, with an expanded product line would be really useful.


Absolutely, these are the exact reasons I started this. We plan to expand to more dishes as we scale, but for now, if you're in the Bay Area, I hope we can at least help liberate you from the monotony of Chipotle.


chipotle for indian / vegan/ vegetarian food is the holy grail


Would love a low-down / interview from a founder of one of these chains (there's also Curry Up now in the bay area) on the economics of making an indian fast-food joint. It might be a one-sentence article saying "demand", but I am sure there is a lot to unpack.


I've always thought that tandoori chicken was an unexplored opportunity. Think a similar model to the orignal Boston Chicken (now Boston Market), or El Pollo Loco on the west coast of the U.S.


I also would love to see an Indian Chipotle. But for any in the South Bay, these 2 are also like Chipotle:

-Srasa Kitchen (Southeast Asian): https://www.srasakitchen.com/

-Bibimbowl (Korean): http://www.thebibimbowl.com/menu.php

I'm sure there are others, but these 2 are my tried and true favorites.


They had one of these places in downtown Palo Alto (Town and Country shopping center). It lasted a year or two, despite being directly across from Palo Alto High School, which every day mobbed the shopping center with lunch traffic. I was surprised it went under so quickly. Apparently it is not quite the holy grail after all? I went there and liked it well enough!


There’s a place in Berkeley called urban turbann, that fills the niche for Indian chipotle. Wish they would expand.


Had a few of those around my place growing up (Nikki’s, around Orange County, CA), but they’ve all gone out of business by now. Absolute tragedy - the food was terrific and dirt cheap.


To find that holy grail just replace -as-a-service with -do-it-yourself. The first time is hard. The eleventy-first time is like breathing. Plus a lot of satisfaction.


I do not recollect the name, but there is an Indian restaurant with that concept near New Brunswick NJ.


Manhattan has Indikitch.


They recently changed their name to Deep Indian Kitchen.


I have often joked that if I could eat Saag for every meal for the rest of my life I would. This exactly scratches my itch.

Not even trying to be funny, this is exactly the type of service I have always wanted (down to the choose-your-protein options).

I really hope that there is a lot of demand (though I fear there may not be?). I will surely be a long-time customer.


Minor technical thought - IMO have potential users customers enter their zip code allows you to see where potential future demand is.

Other than that, the site looks great!

Bonus points for simplifying down to an MVP, and S(pinach)aaS has a really good ring to it for the SF HN crowd.

Am also looking forwards to non-spinach options! (I'm allergic)


Two thoughts:

First, $12/pound is too expensive. Yes, I know you've got delivery and other costs, and it's best to start high. But know you'll need to reduce the price over time.

Second, consider pitching this to the keto market. Spinach + fat is a great keto item. It's really hard to order keto-friendly takeout. Might fill a niche.


We intend to drop the price aggressively as we scale through volume and automation, but we need to get traction before we can do that.

We do have a keto-friendly variant (Classic Saag Paneer), and we'd love to make inroads into the keto market. Would to love to hear your thoughts on how we might do that -- feel free to email me at soham@pashi.com


I’d actually prefer a cheaper package that uses the same ingredient but is frozen and shipped in bulk (e.g. 10+ servings). Any thoughts on something like that?


$12 for 500 calories. That is barely enough calories for lunch.


The macronutrients are what I would personally focus on with little thought given to calories. The macros are quite solid here.

I have no affiliation and I’ve never even heard of Sagg in my life, but it seems interesting.


That is a lot. I love saag but would need 6 servings just to get enough calories for 1 day.


If you’re doing keto, guess you could fortify it with oil for some cheap extra calories


That was my thought, Sagg Panner is normally a side dish


Saag paneer is not a side dish in India, or in any Indian restaurants I've been to in North America. Saag paneer served with rice or naan forms a meal just like butter chicken with naan. That Indian meals often have multiple entrees does not make saag paneer a side dish in any way.


FWIW, the closest Indian Food restaurant to where I live also charges ~$12 for 16oz of Saag Paneer. So that's one data point.

On the other end, there's pouches available on Amazon for ~$24 for 60oz (6 10oz packets), which is about half the price, and also deliverable. Hard to say what attention to nutrient content might have been involved, but regardless, this is a good bet regarding how low the pricing can get.


Ah, saag. The marvellous old world Punjabi food without the use of tomato, potato etc. My grandma used to have proper procedure for saag. Let mustard grow on an untilled land, pluck the stalks and shed off the mature leaves. Take handful of stalks, make a bundle, chop them into 5 mm pieces. Put them in an earthen clay pot, just submerge the chopped stalks in water and give it a slow open flame. Season with salt. After half an hour, put common roadside ‘weeds’ baathoo, chilayi, spinach. Let it boil for another half an hour. Take the pot off, put handful of maize flour and blend the mixture halfway. Use more maize flour as required, saag should acquire a non-liquid appearance. Serve it in a bowl, with churned raw milk butter. Maize flour roti or ‘tortilla’. And lassi, which is just the by-product of milk churning process.

The only old world, pre-wheat Punjabi main course meal that is seriously tasty. It is nutritionally rich as it originated as a farmer’s meal while being easy to make.

Good luck serving saag to the world.


By "saag" OP means spinach, not mustard leaves. I think the confusion is that saag specifically means saron da saag in Punjab but the meaning changes elsewhere.


When I saw Saag as a Service I was hoping for some kind of API where I could place and order through curl or something! Kinda like the EverQuest 2 pizza command.

Good luck!


The long-term vision for this, which we hope to fulfill once we get some traction, is an API that allows you to order food such as Saag with arbitrary nutritional values (within a certain range). We don't have the volume for that yet, but with your help maybe we can get there soon!


How would you tweak those values?


Changing the proportions of the ingredients -- in the case of saag, we could mix and match paneer, tofu, seitan, and a side of a carb like rice to produce any reasonable macronutrient ratio.


This is really nice! As a Hindu & vegan I wish I lived in your delivery zone :) (I live way out in the Pacific ocean, though) In any case, cool to see you're trying a more narrow approach, and the website explains things well and looks great. One question I was left with is how big is the portion? I may have missed that. And if this were available to me I'd be eager for the next available item to be chana masala. Thanks for sharing


Each portion is 500 calories. We serve them in 16oz containers, but the volume of Saag depends on the variant ordered (to make sure they are all the same number of calories).


I love saag and I love the idea. Is $12-$14 per portion not too high of a price-point for SF? Given a 500 kcal portion, I would guess that is a higher per-cal cost than a takeaway saag dish in my area. I assume most San Franciscans and I are like-minded: if we can get the same thing delivered for less than your service, we will.

I have never seen seitan saag offered at any restaurants near me, but I love seitan. I even prefer seitan to meat, despite being a meat eater. I try to eat mostly plants, and I cannot digest lactose, so I usually order vegan chana saag.


I am a little fuzzy on the difference between saag and palak. I frequently order something with one or the other in the name at a restaurant, and it's generally ok, but some places I like it much better than others. Some recipes seem like they must have more cream or butter, and some are darker and more oily and have more spinach. I prefer the latter, but I'm not sure what ingredients this is reflective of or if it has to do with saag vs. palak.


Saag is the generic term for a curry of leafy vegetables (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saag), and Palak means spinach. Saag Paneer and Palak Paneer are often used interchangeably in the US.

The quality of these dishes does vary widely from establishment to establishment, despite sharing the same basic construction.

If you want a more oil-based Saag, take a look at our Saag tofu, which is dairy-free.


Yes, so that is consistent with what I have read previously on the internet, that they are overlapping terms, but what I see empirically in restaurants where I live is that the terms are correlated with two different clusters or modes, and I tend to prefer the ones that are called "palak". Yet you might logically assume that means that I like spinach and the others have different types of greens. I don't believe that is so; it's the rest of it that is the major difference, not the greens.


I don't think you'll find Saag with the macronutrients specified at your local Indian restaurant, and you definitely won't find Saag Seitan with the amount of protein we're offering anywhere that I'm aware of. While we hope to bring costs down as we scale, it's currently not cheap to ensure the integrity of the nutritional portioning.


What next IAAS(idly as a service), DAAS(dal or dosa as a service), SAAS(Sambar as a service). I mean it takes someone with NO cooking skills except making coffee everyday about 30 minutes to throw everything into instapot and simmer it in a sauté pan for like 10 minutes. I saw someone starting a Rasam/Curd rice as a service not too long ago. And people complain that Silicon Valley has peaked.


I'd like to see you try.

As an aside, clearly not everyone is gonna be within their target market, but there is a place for ones who pander to specific palates like these. Live and let live, I guess.


Would love to see your instapot dosa recipe.


I just wanted to say that this is one of the best founder-talks-to-HN threads I've seen on the site in a while. Great work explaining the service, and good luck with it.


I like that you can customize the food to your body type, nutritional needs, etc. But don’t you think your customers would get bored eating the same thing (even with minor variations) every day?


We absolutely intend to expand to more menu items as we get some traction and people get used to basic concept. We actually started with a version of the service with a lot of dishes, but people were getting very confused about what exactly we'd be serving them.


Reminds me of the article [1] "I sell onions on the internet"... There's a market for everything I guess...

[1] https://www.deepsouthventures.com/i-sell-onions-on-the-inter...


Isn't it ironic [1], don't you think, that the vegan option has less carbs than the 'keto friendly' option? Tofu has less carbs than milk.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironic_(song)


The Saag Paneer option has a lot more fat, which is why we targeted that at folks looking for a keto-friendly option, but this is indeed somewhat amusing.


Milk is quite carby.


Hi,

I feel you. I am from the South of India and we had greens everyday. Quick and easy.

1. have you considered partnering with farms? Especially indoor farms that focus on lettuce but can also grow Asian/Indian greens.

2. How do you think you will scale?

3. How did you arrive at that pricing?

If you would like to chat, my email is = handle at gmail.


I ordered from the website, and got no confirmation email or acknowledgement SMS. No indication of whether this is a one-time thing or a repeat order.

I'd stay away from this service until it gets more polished.

update: I e-mailed customer support and Soham replied. I'm grateful for the reply.


Hi, sorry about the confusion, I think we emailed you back. At the moment we're only doing one-time orders, you'll have to re-order each week.


Yep, I came here to update my comment. Thanks for replying!


I take offense to the high fat saag being portrayed by some fat bastard playing at an arcade machine while the other two images are of fit people doing healthy exercises. A high fat meal is key to getting energy for grueling tasks. This should be changed.


This was intended to represent a 'Classic' arcade game (Saag Paneer is the traditional preparation), not as a comment on physical activity. My apologies for any offense caused, and I'm happy to take suggestions for a new illustration. Email me at soham@pashi.com if you'd like to talk further.


The other images are comments on physical activity though, so it’s not hard to see how an image of a video gamer is also a comment on the physical activity of those who eat Saag Paneer.

If you are going for a classic vibe, then just have an Indian man in classic Indian clothing doing something classically Indian, or just stirring a pot or something. An arcade machine is not an association readily made with food.


In fairness to you, I wouldn't really call this "offensive". It does possibly play into the "fat, game-addicted neckbeard" stereotype, but this is more likely a case of a startup not having the resources to do extensive testing on different imagery. You could try running some a/b tests with different logos, though, and measure your conversion.


I like the current image I'm seeing, with a thinner person playing the arcade game.


I don't think the guy looks fat. I had to recheck for other images because I couldn't believe you mean that one.


That person doesn't look fat at all to me.


Please be aware of the underlying business model.

You are being sold 500 calories worth of food for $14. That means that for an average, moderately active human, the cost of eating a diet of this is ~$52/day.

Yes, it is good macro-nutrients (probably). Yes, you're not going to eat this 4 times a day. Yes, it's vegetarian so you get your signaling points.

But this is a $52/day niche meal service is targeted at rich (sub)urbanites living in a bubble of abundant VC money and giant tech. Just be clear about what it is.


Pretty sure almost everyone on this site can do basic multiplication, I'm not sure the aggressive "warning" is necessary.


delivery business is hard unless you have massive scale, so like it or not your early adopters will happen to be VC and tech peeps. I don't see anything wrong with that especially if they're just working on an MVP. The author mentions the long term play is automation to cut costs down the road


“They taste absolutely terrible”

That’s your opinion, I personally think it tastes great and haven’t had issues drinking it over the past 4 years. Given that Soylent has continues to grow signals that other consumers agree (investors also agree given they’ve raised $50m led google ventures).

Also your product costs $12 per 500 cal (vs. $2.42 for 400cal for soylent) which is a huge selling point for people that drink soylent (it’s affordable, convenient and better than most fast food alternative)


I think it ultimately depends on the circle of people and what kind of cuisine they have normally. I think Soylent tastes quite mediocre- but my favorite foods are curries and vinegar/chili oil sauces. (Sad to say I often have meal replacements as punishment food.)

I would definitely try this saag as a service(alas, I live in NYC), as a healthy alternative to food I already love eating. Meal replacements are definitely not covering that niche for me.


Saying Soylent tastes like food is a bit of a stretch.


Increasingly, it seems like Indian restaurants where I live are including southern Indian menu items with lentils, and I was happy to see something beyond the usual at first and then disappointed that stuff like dosa, medhu vada, etc, seemed pretty meh.

And I've tried mulligatawny soup at one of those places and been really disappointed.

But there is an Indian/Pakistani restaurant near me that has lentil soup I really liked and in fact that's what inspired me to start experimenting at home as I was afraid they would go out of business.

Some months ago I made lentil soup and through sheer luck, happened on a combination of spices and other ingredients that made it really, really good. Unfortunately I didn't take good notes, and I'm not sure how to recreate it.

So what I'm saying is lentils can be anything you want, it's all in the execution.


Increasingly, it seems like Indian restaurants where I live are including southern Indian menu items with lentils, and I was happy to see something beyond the usual at first and then disappointed that stuff like dosa, medhu vada, etc, seemed pretty meh.

Indian food in the United States has, IMO, fallen into the same trap that Mexican food has. You get one or two items (e.g. chicken tikka masala or burritos) that represent a small region of the source country and that's about it. Or maybe you'll get some more unusual regional stuff and then half hearted burritos.

So what I'm saying is lentils can be anything you want, it's all in the execution.

Apropos of nothing there's a co-op restaurant in Sydney named "Lentils as Anything". It's named after an Australian band but hey it works here too ;)


Perhaps "taste absolutely terrible to me" would have been better phrasing. I think Soylent has its place, and I'm glad it exists.

In terms of price, food is expensive to make (especially in the Bay Area), but as we scale we think we can leverage automation to bring the price down to $6, which is not as cheap as but in the same ballpark as Soylent.


I’ve experienced issues with five separate version numbers of Soylent powder over the past five years (and two versions of the Soylent drinks, and two versions of Meal Squares), to the point that my body now considers this entire category of “constructed” food products unappetizing and would rather skip a meal than consume any of them.

Your statement that it’s “affordable” is valid only the sense that it’s cheaper per calorie. Declaring it “better” without qualifiers is, to use your own words, “your opinion”, and declaring it “convenient” presumes that it is nutritionally valuable to all, which in my case and in this founder’s case, it cannot be for flavor or digestive rejection reasons.

Please take more care when declaring your opinion not to misrepresent it as fact. Evangelizing a competing product in a Show HN isn’t going to earn you much favor to begin with, and misleading people by stating opinions as fact will only undercut your message further.


Soylent growing and getting more funding doesn't necessarily mean people like its taste, it means that it solves a problem better than some other competing products for some customers.


Put another way, if it tasted absolutely terrible then it should never have grown to it’s current size.


Lovely idea and had I been in the area you target, I would have ordered some, for sure!

Do you deliver yourself, or are you using a delivery service?


Thanks! We currently handle delivery ourselves. What area are you in? If you're in the Bay Area but not in our coverage area, email me (soham@pashi.com) and we can try to make it work.


I notice your zip codes aren't numerically sorted, at first I thought mine (94117) wasn't available, because it wasn't in the first block of 94. Might want to sort them, or just allow people to type it in. Cool product though! I'm ordering some now.


Nice catch, fixed!


Would you mind sharing how that output happened? At first I thought something about JS numeric string sorting, but that doesn’t check out.


Just a manual copy-paste mistake


Sadly I don't think you'll be covering Sweden any time soon. :)


That is likely a ways away, but if you email me I'll make sure you're the first to find out when we get there!


is there a saag vegan version / no sugar, no butter no animal products?


great service do you deliver to Palo Alto


We do! If you have trouble ordering or can't find your zip code on the drop-down, email me at soham@pashi.com

By the way in re. your comment below -- the Saag Tofu is vegan and free of animal products.


Nice one! Did not realise the market for vegan cooked food in the bay area is this big.

How are you planning to scale saag as a service?

I am tempted to ask after looking at your profile, is the cooking/portioning/packing done by a robot? is that your secret sauce behind scale up possibilities?

All the best! looks tasty...


We do have plans to use automation to scale in the long-term. If you're curious about details, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to talk further.


Typically paired with roti or some other bread. Do you plan to introduce something like this? I for one, love this idea, but cannot eat just the saag on it's own :). I use daily harvest, but would switch if I had just a good quality, non-chemical laden roti to go with it!


We currently expect people to provide their own carbs in the form of rice, roti, or bread, but if you email me at soham@pashi.com, we can try to get you some rotis for an additional fee.


Love the idea and the implementation! I am living in Dubai and have the exact same struggle with finding an appropriate vegetarian meal delivered that is healthy and not a salad. I'm a software engineer too and would love to help out with the tech if you need.


Feel free to email me (soham@pashi.com), happy to talk!


I believe this is a niche service and I wish you best of luck and hope you succeed.

I would love to understand how you produce the product currently (are you outsourcing to a local commissary and if so, how are you controlling the quality?) and how you intend to scale the business.

It's been mentioned here multiple times that the idea is equivalent to a restaurant which offers delivery followed by comments suggesting the difference between your service and a traditional restaurant is that you offer "fully customizable calorie counts and macronutrient proportions". How do you ensure consistency? How would you handle competition?


I would have bought some in a heartbeat if it was available in Tokyo. I'd suggest adding a list of ingredients for intolerances and allergies, but this already looks like a very appealing product.

Best of luck!


Does anyone else who went to Stanford in the 00's remember Tiffin Dinner? Delicious homemade Indian food delivery, sadly closed. That got me through the quarter when I had a broken ankle..:


Speaking of tiffins, here is a video of the lunch delivery system in Mumbai I think others will enjoy... https://youtu.be/dX-0el2wuEU


I love this idea, I would sign up today if you delivered in New York.


Shoot me an email at soham@pashi.com, if we get enough interest in the area we might be able to make it happen!


pls add daal as a service


Excited to try this! Saag is one of my favorite foods but almost impossible to eat at restaurants because of dietary restrictions (lactose-intolerant and keto). So I've been making my own healthy versions at home for years. It would be super helpful if you could include more ingredients info. For example, I would order the saag tofu, but I'm curious where the fat is coming from (assuming coconut milk base, my version is still leaner). Thanks Soham!


Great! The fat is coming from the vegetable oil used in the curry. If you have other specific questions about ingredients, feel free to email me at soham@pashi.com


Sounds like a good idea that r/keto would love to hear.

The thing with keto is that you have to stick to it. Current price at $12 feels more expensive. I appreciate the delivery, packaging, and other costs, but I think people would appreciate a better value over time.

I think Blue Apron has nailed this. There are bigger variants to pick from, often cheaper, and appeals to keto and other dieters alike.


What about the high level of oxalates in spinach, the over-consumption of which can result in kidney stones[1]?

[1] https://nutritionfacts.org/video/oxalates-in-spinach-and-kid...


There is a fair amount of debate about this, with a number of high-quality studies such as (https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/18/7/2198) coming to the conclusion that the additional risk is minimal even with low calcium consumption.


What benefit do you provide over the Indian place down the block with similar or even cheaper pricing? These prices are absurdly expensive even for us overpaid tech folk.


I had the same thought before seeing how excited many of the commenters here are about it! I guess the market exists and we're just not in it.


Our main differentiator is specifying the macronutrients and allowing you to pick between different macronutrient profiles. You're not likely to get that at your local Indian place.


$12 per meal is "absurdly expensive"? I think it's comparable to eating out.


$12 for 500 calories is very expensive. For a typical 2500kcal diet that's $60 per day.


For a spinach curry (saag or saag paneer), yes, $12 is very expensive.

In my local asian grocery store, they stock a lot of vacuum packed Indian meals, all of which have nothing "dodgy" in the list of ingredients, and all of which are actually really good - they cost the equivelant of around $2.5 each.

My local Indian takeaway restaurants sell saag paneer for around $4 USD.


I mean... that's my point. I can plan ahead and pay $12 to have something delivered and then heat it up myself, or I can pay $12 to pick it up already hot and ready to eat, on demand.


Yep, and no tip, drink overcharging, etc.


Trader Joe's seemed to discontinue their $2/8oz pouch packaged saag paneer about a year ago, and I haven't yet figured out how to make one I like on my own, and even when I do, I might not always want to spend the time on it.

Hope I get a chance to try this in LA before too long. :)


Can't get more niche than this! But it's great. If I lived in SF, I would try it.


How good is Seitan! My partner is vegan, and it’s been awesome to experiment with


ignoring the price issue which many have discussed, I love the MVP aspect of this. only one thing to cook and then throw in the protein add-on. I love that you're obviously driving this around yourself.

If you can make the pricing more competitive with local delivery (which would also have more options) and figure out how to ship like Blue Apron I think I'd happily sign up. Even more so if there were additional meals added, but for an MVP to test the idea this is great.


I think the issue here is the price. It’s definitely premium end and it makes it hard to justify as a regular spend for most people.


$12/portion is a ridiculous price. Around here you can go to the Indian buffet and eat yourself sick for less than $12.


Great idea, a couple of comments. - please let us know how you source your ingredients. Spinach is one of the more pesticide ridden vegetables. And bad quality dairy may do more harm than good. - Seitan and tofu are not particularly healthy. Gluten and soy are known to be inflammatory foods and cause a lot of side affects. Would love to see a dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, organic version of this. Then it’s a truly hearty meal that I would order


Please add 95014! I would order this daily!


We do have 95014, it's selectable from the dropdown! Send me an email at soham@pashi.com if you have trouble ordering.


I must have missed it before but I see it now. Excited to try it out.


Just ate first portion and it was delicious! Had the tofu version but will try seitan next time.


I would love to order some but it doesn't appear you deliver to 94607 (West Oakland).


Email me your address at soham@pashi.com and we'll try to make it work!


This is awesome. Is this $12/meal for one portion, or is it two portions?


12/portion (500 cals)


Will take you less than 30 mins to make saag paneer in an instant pot.


Okay, my favorite Indian dish is shrimp saag. Please add a shrimp option.


Looks like someone needs to start Naan as a service to complement this.


Rotimatic debuting an app in 3...2...1...


Any chance for chicken tikka masala as a future menu option?


Please add Portland and PaaS (Paneer makani as a Service)!


I love the simplicity of this!


eating sag aloo ... with my aggy crew...


Love it! But this is Palak as a Service, not Saag as a Service. Saag, I think, is mustard leaves


My understanding is that Saag is the generic term for a leafy vegetable curry of this kind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saag).

Mustard is Sarson, if my Hindi isn't failing me.


Oh yes of course, it's sarson. My bad. Big misconception corrected. My only association with saag was sarson ka saag, before I came to America, where I found it interchangeably used with palak in palak paneer.


From the website it looks like you are using spinach for this. In which case, Palak as a Service is actually the less misleading term. People associate Saag with either mustard leaves or at least a mix of green leaves. If it's only Palak, calling it saag might not be technically wrong but it's still not what people associate with that name.


We use a Palak-based Saag that has a mix of other green leaves as well.


Soylent tastes good. I actually crave it some days. Feels like there is plenty of room in this market without resorting to negative advertising but maybe it'll work for you...


Okay I hate to be blunt about this: though this is super high calorie food.

All 3 variants listed are fabulously unhealthy coming in at 500 calories per serving.

If you want to pitch this as a tastier product and pursue that angle, that's one story but pitching this as "healthy" is quite flawed.


If you ate it for all three meals, you would only be at 1500 calories for the day. What are you getting at? Since when do calories automatically make something unhealthy?


How is 500 calories unhealthy? As far as I can tell, this is designed to be a whole meal, and coming in at 500 calories is pretty spot on for one meal (if a little low, which is nice so I can add a side).




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