Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A blender after making Soylent V1.3, a meal replacement powder, San Francisco, May 11, 2015.

Peter Earl McCollough/The New York Times

Soylent, the meal replacement drink that's been called both "the future of food" in breathless headlines and "the end of food" by the New Yorker, can no longer be sold in Canada due to a failure to meet federal food regulations.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it advised Soylent earlier this month that the company's drinks do not meet the compositional requirements for meal replacement products, and that imports would have to be halted unless regulations were met.

Is this sci-fi beverage the future of food?

Story continues below advertisement

I hate food: For some of us, food is just about sustenance

But the agency is not recalling Soylent products as there's no health risk to consumers.

In a statement posted on Soylent's website, CEO Rob Rhinehart says the company intends to comply with CFIA regulations, even though the company "feel(s) strongly that these requirements do not reflect the current understanding of human nutritional needs."

He goes on to say that he doesn't know how long it will take for Soylent to adapt to CFIA's requirements, and that the company can't yet estimate when their products will be available to Canadians.

The company did not provide a spokesperson to comment, but said in a statement that they are "working hard to resolve the categorization issue."

Soylent, which offers meal replacement drinks both in bottles and in powder form, started when Rhinehart was working in Silicon Valley in 2013.

The product is built around the idea that home cooking is unnecessarily time-consuming for busy people in a work-obsessed culture, and is often more expensive and less healthy than it could be.

Story continues below advertisement

"It turns a full meal into a one-step process. It makes things a lot less complicated. And when you're busy, it takes eating off your plate," reads Soylent's website.

The product – which is meant to eliminate the need for other food altogether by delivering a healthy ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein – is sold less as a drink and more as a lifestyle.

The company's branding and packaging similarly embrace efficiency over esthetics with stark labelling.

Soylent offers users a subscription service and bottles purchased on its website aren't offered in units smaller than 12. Soylent is not available in Canadian stores.

The company launched with a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2013, raising over US$700,000, and the brand grew quickly. The company has been selling in Canada since 2015.

This isn't Soylent's first run-in with food inspection agencies. Last October, parent company Rosa Foods recalled Soylent's utilitarian-sounding "food bars" along with an earlier version of their food powder after customers complained about suffering gastrointestinal illness.

Story continues below advertisement

"Fitting with our desire to err on the side of caution, we are reformulating Bar and Powder 1.6 to remove the likely ingredients. Turnaround should be fairly quick," Soylent posted on its website at the time. The food bar has not yet returned to Soylent's roster of products.

Soylent's website specifies that the company wasn't named after the food-replacement wafers that famously turned out to be made of human flesh in the 1973 movie "Soylent Green," but for its tamer counterpoint in the book that inspired the movie. In the 1966 science fiction novel "Make Room! Make Room!", soylent is a harmless combination of soy and lentils.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies