Soylent unveils new Soylent Squared 100-cal mini-meal bar, plans savory product launch in the fall

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Soylent Squared is designed for loyal fans and to attract new consumers to the Soylent franchise, delivering incremental growth to the company, which specializes in creating products offering ‘complete nutrition.’ Picture: Soylent
Soylent Squared is designed for loyal fans and to attract new consumers to the Soylent franchise, delivering incremental growth to the company, which specializes in creating products offering ‘complete nutrition.’ Picture: Soylent

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Almost three years after launching - and then rapidly withdrawing - its Food Bar from the market, Soylent has unveiled Soylent Squared, a 100-calorie ‘mini meal bar’ featuring 5g of soy protein, 36 essential nutrients and probiotics.

While the bar set is crowded, Soylent Squared – which will launch at in boxes of 30 for $30 – provides a complete package of macro- and micronutrients, making it “different than anything else in the nutrition bar category,” ​claimed CEO Bryan Crowley.

The new bar - like the old one - is made from soy protein isolate, corn syrup, canola oil, glycerin, isomaltulose, sucralose, and maltodextrin, and has a long list of vitamins and minerals. However, the new recipe doesn't include whole algal flour, isomaltooligosaccharide (IMO), sunflower oil, or tapioca starch. It also features GBI-30 6086, Ganeden's ultra-resilient probiotic strain​.

“We developed Soylent Squared to allow our customers to portion out the nutrition they need when they need it,” ​said Crowley. “You can enjoy one or two for a healthy snack or three or four, for a complete meal. It's small in stature but packed with nutrition and we think it's going to do well with our existing fan base, but also bring in a broader consumer base."

It's the first complete 100 calorie mini-meal bar

Asked why Soylent is confident that the new bar will not cause any digestive issues (the original Food Bar, launched in August 2016, was voluntarily recalled in October 2016 following a small number of reports of digestive discomfort), the company said: 

“In our ongoing quest for identifying and using more sustainable ingredients in our products, we used an ingredient sourced from algae in the Food Bar. A small percentage of people had an intolerance to this ingredient and out of an abundance of caution, we voluntarily pulled it from the market​ in October of 2016​ [although the flour had been used in other food products without causing any apparent issues, and was FDA GRAS].

“Rather than relaunching the Food Bar, we focused on expanding our core businesses, which included launching into retail and growing our consumer base. While we worked with our customers to find an innovative chewable nutrition solution to our customers, we also began looking at new and innovative approaches to disrupt the nutrition bar category.

“That’s why we’re so excited to launch Soylent Squared. It's the first complete 100 calorie mini-meal bar and is different than anything else in the nutrition bar category.”

New product will have a savory positioning

A meal replacement brand that gained a cult following among Silicon Valley programmers after its 2014 launch, Soylent has since broadened its portfolio and its appeal, recently launching Soylent Bridge,​ a new ready-to-drink beverage with 180 calories and 15g of plant-based protein, to bridge the gap between meals.

A new product with a savory positioning will also be launched later in the year, said Crowley: "Our products were mostly consumed in the morning, but now we're transitioning to a complete nutrition platform that you can enjoy throughout the day.​"

20,000 retail stores

Soylent, which built a sizeable business on its own website before launching on Amazon in 2016, made its first foray into bricks & mortar retail in summer 2017, and is now in 20,000 stores including 7-Eleven, Kroger, Target and Walmart​, where its products are merchandised in the grab & go protein set, he said.

"We use the direct to consumer site as a place to launch first and fast iterate, get direct feedback from our consumers and figure out which products are more niche and can live on the, and which ones can live outside that channel."

Soylent is also gearing up to re-enter the Canadian market, which has strict regulations governing the formulation and labeling of products marketed as meal replacements with which it did not initially comply when it first entered the market, acknowledged Crowley.

We're desperately awaiting news from Health Canada after all the work we've done there; we're trying to be patient, but the number one question we get is when are you coming back to Canada?​”

He clarified that Soylent is not changing its formulations for the Canadian market, but needed to amend its packaging, marketing and website for that market as its products did not meet Health Canada's definition of meal replacements. 

In the UK, Soylent has launched in convenience retailer WH Smith and on Amazon with recipes tweaked to meet EU regulations, he said.

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