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Montreal Gets a Possibly Illegal Soylent Pop-Up This Week

The meal replacement is banned, but people want their Soylent, dammit


Meal-replacement product Soylent might be temporarily banned in Canada, but that’s not stopping one enterprising group from attempting to bring it back to the people, as a pop-up is slated for this Friday and Saturday in Montreal.

The “underground bootleg Soylent pop-up” comes from Canadian start-up Thisopenspace (a little like AirBNB but for renting commercial spaces) — they’re also running pop-ups in Toronto and Vancouver. The company even called upon the founder of now-closed Vancouver grocery store Pirate Joe’s to help with the process of getting the banned product into the country (Pirate Joe’s was known for bringing products from US grocery chain Trader Joe’s into Canada in order to sell it, much to the chagrin of Trader Joe’s and the company’s lawyers).

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) banned Soylent back in October for not meeting certain nutritional requirements, given that it’s sold as a meal replacement. That led many fans of Soylent (Soybros? Soyheads?) to be somewhat mad at the agency, comparing the ban to prohibition and being generally upset at the prospect of having to consume regular food.

Thisopenspace plan to bring in around 1,000 bottles of Soylent, and will even set up a Soylent smoothie bar to create a few Soylent-based concoctions. On sale will be Soylent original and cacao drinks, and Soylent Cafe Vanilla, Cafe Chai, and Cafe Coffiest, for those who prefer their chalky meal substitute to have a discernible flavour beyond “nutritional sludge”.

The legality of this is obviously dubious: Soylent is not meant to be retailed in Canada until the company rejigs its formula, or until the food inspection agency changes its rules. Yet out of all government agencies, the CFIA is probably less disposed to aggressively conducting raids, meaning “Soylent Speakeasy Busted by Authorities” probably isn’t going to be in the headlines as a result.

The pop-up is set to happen at 3845 St-Laurent (on the Plateau) Friday and Saturday, December 15 and 16.