In light of recent events in Season 5 of True Blood, I'm thinking about the fact that Tru Blood seems to have a monopoly on synthetic blood products that allow vampires to coexist peacefully with humans. Are there any alternatives to that particular product - either some other brand of synthetic blood, or some other product that vampires can live on?

(Looking for True Blood and/or Sookie Stackhouse novels canon for the off-brand question, but greater-vampire-lore canon answers to the "is there anything else they can eat" question are also acceptable.)

  • typical vampire mythology would say they can eat any kind of mammal blood, but given the extreme dependancy on Tru Blood I suspect that's somehow not an option in this case.
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 15 '12 at 23:52

According to the book canon of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, there are actually a number of synth blood substitutes that the vampires can choose from:

TrueBlood (or TruBlood) [available in 4 blood types, most commonly consumed "Coke"]

LifeFlow [available in 4 blood types, second most common "Pepsi"]

Red Stuff [cheapest brand - only consumed by the babyfangs who don't have any capital]

Royalty Blended [extremely expensive - part synthblood part blue-blood from real royalty]

Pure Royalty [extremely, extremely expensive - all blue-blood from real royalty]

  • 1
    Which of the books are these in?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Aug 20 '12 at 6:08

Canonical Tru(e) Blood Information

First of all, as far as I know nothing even remotely similar to the current "Followers of Lilith" storyline occurs in any of the novels, and True Blood doesn't appear as a serious plot element anywhere. It's mostly just an excuse to explain why vampires decided to reveal themselves when they did.

On the TV show, the loss of the Tru Blood factories has sent vampires into somewhat of a frenzy. Bill explicitly mentions that there are only six in the entire world. And Tara considers hoarding it when the factories start to go offline. All of this strongly suggests there is no alternative source of Tru Blood or anything similar to it; if anywhere would know about it, it's a vampire bar.

Thus, there's no canonical indication in either case that anything synethetic, other than Tru(e) Blood, works as vampire sustenance.

Scientific Developments

We can, however, use what we know about it's development process to speculate about its rarity.

From a research standpoint, the substance was discovered by Japanese scientists, but otherwise we have no idea what it contains. On the TV program, there were references to the efforts that vampires had put into developing synthetic blood (I think it was mentioned that Pasteur himself worked on it), which means there would be hundreds of years of research to build on. The fact that it was only recently that a viable synthetic blood became available implies that there are very specific and unique requirements for the substance to work.

It's also very likely that the substance, even once it was discovered, is very difficult to make, possibly requiring hard-to-acquire chemicals, or hard-to-manufacture equipment. That would also explain why there's only a small number of factories around the world, and why they cannot simply replace them.

Given all of that, I think it's unlikely that a cheap alternative to Tru Blood is going to pop up any time soon. I wouldn't be surprised if people continued to work on it, much like they continue to look for cheaper or more effective pharmaceuticals, but if one was ready for production at this point it certainly would have made itself known.

  • 2
    I don't have the books, so can't give this as an answer, but I seem to remember from when I read them that in the first book, Sookie commented that Bill ordered the more expensive Tru Blood rather than the cheaper version when she first met him.
    – Martha F.
    Aug 16 '12 at 19:28
  • 1
    Within the show there are also different types of Tru Blood with difference costs. Working on the assumption that Tru Blood is the brand name, I interpreted that to be similar to different brand of Jack Daniel's -- some taste better than others but it's all the same company. (Tru Blood could also be a generic name, like "whiskey", which changes things significantly...)
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 16 '12 at 19:30
  • maybe use stale blood from blood banks? Ask sympathetic humans for donations?
    – Midhat
    Oct 2 '12 at 15:59

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