Canadians no longer need to be content with simply reading about Soylent, the nutritional drink turned food replacement that has taken the Internet by storm in the past two years. Instead, they can try it for themselves.
On Monday, the company started shipping its meal packages to customers in Canada.
According to its own metrics, the company has shipped more than 6.25 million units of its product to people in the United States. Canada, it turns out, marks its first international destination.
Soylent was developed by Rob Rhinehart, a mid 20s software developer who resented the fact that he had to spend so much time buying, preparing and eating food. “Food is the fossil fuel of human energy,” he says in what would become Soylent’s manifesto, a blog post titled How I Stopped Eating Food. “It is an enormous market full of waste, regulation, and biased allocation with serious geo-political implications. And we’re deeply dependent on it… In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming.”
Rhinehart’s message of food’s wastefulness resonated with people, especially with his peers in the startup space for whom any amount of time spent away from work is an inefficiency to be stamped out.
How I Stopped Eating Food and Soylent became an Internet sensation overnight. Almost immediately people started contacting Rhinehart, asking him for the recipe. The feedback was enough to convince Rhinehart that he had a highly marketable product on his hands. After a bit of tinkering, he took Soylent to CrowdTilt, where he secured more than $3.5-million in funding. More than 500 Canadians contributed to that campaign. This past January, Andreessen Horowitz, one of the Valley’s most well-known venture capital firms, led the company’s $20-million Series A round.
In the meantime, there’s been no shortage of interesting articles written on the subject. Some, like this Vice News article by Canadian writer Monica Heisey, were fairly open to the concept. Others, like this one, calls Rhinehart an idiot. We’re still looking for a consensus, but what is clear is that Soylent has helped start an important conversation about food and how it is produced. It’s no secret that the food industry has a wealth of problems.
But what is Soylent, exactly?
According to the company, “Soylent is an engineered staple food designed to provide maximum nutrition with minimal effort. Its nutritional makeup is comprehensive and includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, and calcium.”
It adds, “Soylent contains all of the elements of a healthy diet, with limited contribution from less desirable components such as sugars, saturated fats, or cholesterol.”
However, for Rhinehart and his colleagues, more than simply being a piece of food or a drink that’s easy to digest, Soylent is something akin to a computer program. In its press release, the company uses the language of app update to describe its product. “Canadian customers will receive Soylent 1.5, the recently-announced sixth iteration of the Company’s engineered staple food,” says the release.
Find out more about Soylnet on the company’s website.