[USA] All Soylent may want this holiday season is a new supplier.
After a burst of online reports this year linked Soylent snack bars to bouts of “violent” gastrointestinal issues, the famous meal-replacement maker pinned the problems on supplier TerraVia’s whole algal flour. TerraVia cried foul at the time. But things took a turn from awkward to hostile today.
TerraVia is suspending all ingredient shipments to Soylent “effective immediately,” the company said in an early morning announcement. The halted supplies include ingredients used in Soylent’s 2.0 ready-to-drink meal and its new Coffiest beverage.
The move could be a crushing blow to Soylent, which has already halted sale of its snack bars and flagship 1.6 powder as it retools its formulas to exclude whole algal flour—a move that exacerbated the feud, according to today’s announcement.
“The decision to suspend supply is based on the high level of concern that Soylent’s actions in addressing its issues with Powder 1.6 indicate a pattern of behavior that is damaging TerraVia’s business,” the company said in a news release.
TerraVia CEO Apu Mody said the company was “surprised and disappointed that Soylent rushed to imply that algal flour is to blame and removed the ingredient without providing any evidence that they conducted a full investigation of their formulations and the more than 40 ingredients in their products, as would be standard practice in the food industry.”
TerraVia, which makes plant-based food, nutrients, and ingredients, has maintained that its whole algal flour is safe, in compliance with federal regulations, and has never been proven to cause illnesses before.
Soylent said it pinpointed algal flour in a process of elimination. The illness-sparking snack bars and powder 1.6 only had a few ingredients not included in the company’s other, non-sickening products, including Coffiest and powder 1.5. This allowed Soylent to quickly identify the source of trouble, which some consumers said spurred diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea immediately after eating. In November, Soylent founder and CEO Rob Rhinehart publicly fingered the algal flour in media interviews, sparking the feud.
Ars has reached out to Soylent for comment and will update this story with additional information.
[Update 12/20/2016, 3:30 ET] A class action lawsuit against Terravia is bubbling up among the company’s investors today, which may be fueling the public spat with Soylent. In a November complaint (PDF) seeking class action status, an investor claimed that Terravia was aware that their algae products caused gastrointestinal issues in some consumers but hid the fact from investors. The lawsuit cites a Bloomberg report that revealed Terravia had sent a notice to a distributer in July “warning that it had received a ‘modest number of reports’ showing that algal protein can cause ‘gastrointestinal distress.'” That squares with Soylent customer complaints, which came to light in October. Since Soylent placed the blame on Terravia’s algal flour in November, Terravia’s stock has declined dramatically.
View original article at: Soylent’s supplier is angry, withholds ingredients for 2.0 and Coffiest