Food on Film: Soylent Green



Sue Swyt is our randomly selected winner of the $25 gift card. Thanks everyone for your entries!Have you seen Soylent Green? Read on for a chance to win a $25 gift card!Director Richard Fleischer imagines a time far far away when food is extinct!  This is the story of Soylent Green, one of the movies in our Let’s Retake Our Plates Film Series opens in a new tab. Movie buffs and team members David Lannon, Ashley Gibbons and Robin Rogison team up to review this 1970's sci-fi movie.


David Lannon is the President of our Northern California Region of Whole Foods Market. He is a film buff and can help you win your Oscar Pool. Here's his take:

The year is  2022!  (not so very far away!)  Natural food like fruits, vegetables, and meat are now extinct. Global warming has overheated the earth (all the way back in 1973 they had figured this out!) and New York City has 40 million starving people. The only way they survive is with water rations and eating a mysterious food called Soylent. A detective (Charlton Heston)  investigates the murder of the president (Joseph Cotton)  of the Soylent company. What is in Soylent Green? Charlton Heston was the go-to action star in the late 60’s to early 70’s for these dystopian visions like  Planet of the Apes and  Omega Man. He co-stars with Edward G. Robinson (they were also in The Ten Commandments together). Edward G. Robinson died shortly after the completion of the film.  This film was directed by Richard Fleischer, who also directed Fantastic Voyage one of the best sci-fi movies ever.This was a low budget movie with bad pre-Star Wars special effects and even though it is the” future”, all the men have long hair and side burns and bad 70’s pantsuits.  It is a odd time capsule of a movie, but as good sci-fi, it puts a magnifying glass on what is we are doing to Mother Earth.It also gives us a classic Chuck Heston line: Soylent Green is people!!!!!!!


Ashley Gibbons, Marketing Supervisor at our Arroyo store in Pasadena, loves eating food other people have cooked at home. When left to her own devices however, a monstrous salad and Murphy’s Stout usually hit the spot.

Is it just me, or were the 70's a supremely scary decade? I remember being afraid of Hells Angels, pot-smoking headers, kidnappers, white vans (the autos, not the shoes), strangers, possessed hotels in the mountains, and bombs. The movies of the era were so bleak and the population seemed demeaned by untruths of their government.Good thing I hadn't seen Soylent Green yet. I would have been afraid of food.The year is 2022, and NYC has a population of over 40 million. There is nothing fresh to eat for the masses. Only Soylent Green (and Yellow and Blue). And they crave it like ravenous beasts. This dystopia brings all our fears into one: too many people, too hot from greenhouse gases, no food, no community, polluted air, a powerful minority of wealth hidden and protected behind secrets and deception, people belonging to people, no justice, no rights, no compassion, no warmth, and seemingly no mothers. And then you add in the dark shadows of the movie, the tight, cramped spacing, and it just throws me over the edge.Yes, it lives up to its campy reputation; however, I am still prone to my childhood fears. And the secret of Soylent Green makes me want to yell like Charlton Heston. Super gross. Our only sympathetic moments come from "the book" Sol Roth, who decides to end his life instead of revealing the truth. And the assisted suicide is the only time we see respectful treatment of a person.Soylent Green is worth the watch if you haven't seen it, if for no other reason than the punch line which is embedded in our DNA by now. All together now: “Soylent Green is People!”


Robin Rogosin is our Southern Pacific Region’s regional Supplement and Body Care Buyer.  For over 30 years, she has been an advocate for eating more green vegetables.

Soylent Green is a frightening portrayal of civilization in dire straights in 2022.  Overpopulation, global warming and food scarcity has driven the government to institutionalize the Soylent Company, which has a way to feed its tens of billions.  Many regions of Earth are uninhabitable; people are required to remain in cities and have lost their connection with nature and the kinds of food that had once grown from plants…only the uber rich can afford a natural morsel.  A police detective, played by Charlton Heston, is looking for the murderer of the Soylent’s President and along the way he finds the secret behind Soylent’s food production strategy. It was the early 1970's when Soylent Green was released as a warning about a plausible future.  And if you haven’t seen it, here’s the shocking plot spoiler: Soylent Green is people!

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Do we have any sci-fi fans out there?  Add your review of Soylent Green by April 21st for a chance to win a $25 gift card!

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