UPSIDE Foods opens its first cultivated meat production facility

Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
4 November 2021

UPSIDE Foods, the leading company in the cultivated meat, poultry and seafood industry, has announced the opening of its brand new cultivated meat production facility.

UPSIDE will open its Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC) in Emeryville, California. The 53,000 square foot campus is the most advanced cultivated meat production facility in the world. It is designed to produce any species of meat, poultry and seafood – in both ground and whole cut formats – directly from animal cells, instead of relying on raising and slaughtering animals. 

The Virgin Group invested in UPSIDE Foods in 2017 and since then, the brand has gone through a number of significant milestones. Earlier this year, it rebranded from Memphis Meats, announced a partnership with three Michelin Star chef Dominique Crenn, and brought on veterans of the food, biotech and technology industries including Amy Chen (Chief Operating Officer) and Kyle Vogt (Board Member). Most recently, UPSIDE hired Dr Bob Kiss, who has over three decades of industrial biotechnology experience, as Executive Vice President of Technology.

EPIC’s opening represents a major milestone in UPSIDE’s journey to bring real, delicious meat to the world in a more humane and sustainable way. The facility contains custom-made, patented cultivators and can produce more than 50,000 pounds of finished product a year – with a future capacity of over 400,000 pounds.

Located in an urban area, filled with homes and restaurants, UPSIDE is looking to establish meat production as a proud part of the community. It plans to invite neighbours and the public to see first-hand how cultivated meat is made. 

A chicken salad made with UPSIDE Foods' cultivated meat

Dr Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods said, “When we founded UPSIDE in 2015, it was the only cultivated meat company in a world full of sceptics. When we talked about our dream of scaling up production, it was just that – a dream. Today, that dream becomes a reality. The journey from tiny cells to EPIC has been an incredible one, and we are just getting started.”

At the state-of-the-art Innovation Center, UPSIDE will develop new product formats, types of meat and production processes. At full capacity, EPIC will employ approximately 50 people in roles across production, maintenance, quality and food safety, engineering, and general plant management. 

Chicken and waffles made with UPSIDE Foods' cultivated meat

“Today, our team at UPSIDE has made history,” said Dr Konrad Müller-Auffermann, Senior Director of Engineering at UPSIDE. “This facility is a gamechanger not just for UPSIDE Foods, but also for the entire food system. I’m so proud of our team for helping to define the future of food, and I can’t wait to share our delicious, real meat with the world.”

EPIC has areas to mill and mix the cell feed and to formulate, package and test products, a modern kitchen for tastings, and office and conference spaces for the UPSIDE staff. It also includes industry-leading quality assurance facilities, where products are tested to ensure safety and quality. Like all meat and poultry facilities in the US, it includes an office for federal inspectors to oversee the process. 

The first consumer tours of the facility will start from January 2022. Visit UPSIDE Foods to find out more.