Soylent is starting to ship a new version of its meal-replacement powder that aims to correct an issue that caused a small number of users to vomit upon drinking.
The Los Angeles-based startup quietly announced in a blog post that it would remove algal flour — a commonly used vegan substitute for butter and eggs that Soylent believes to be the culprit in making some users sick — from the Soylent Powder version 1.7 formulation.
“With these changes, our team believes we have responded to the issues a small number of community members experienced after consuming Powder 1.6,” the post reads.
Soylent had a tough 2016. In August, the three-year-old startup released a food bar that claims to provide one-eighth of an average adult’s recommended dietary needs. Fans initially celebrated its small, portable form factor — until they didn’t.
Shortly after launch, users started to complain on Soylent’s subreddit and the company’s message boards that the bars caused them “intense vomiting” or “uncontrollable diarrhoea.”
A Reddit user who closely monitored the thread told Gizmodo there were 21 reports of customers becoming sick within one month of the bar’s shipment.
In October, the company paused production of its powder after receiving similar reports. All in all, Soylent estimates less than 0.1% of customers had negative reactions to the product, however.
The algal flour used in Soylent’s products is made by a company called TerraVia. It sells algae-based ingredients to companies like Unilever for lotions and soaps. In an interview with Bloomberg, a company executive maintained that the algal flour is safe.
Soylent Powder 1.7 will also taste less sweet and run a little thinner than its previous iteration.