Cell-Cultured Meat Pioneer Memphis Meats Is Now UPSIDE Foods, First Chicken Product To Launch This Year Pending Reg. Approval

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Following news of their historic US$161 million Series B funding round, the food tech startup formerly known as Memphis Meats is making headlines today by officially announcing that chicken will be their first cell-cultured meat product to debut in 2021 pending regulatory approval and that their name is now UPSIDE Foods, which better reflects its mission of delivering future-friendly meat to consumers.

The company, which was founded by cardiologist Uma Valeti, as well as Nicholas Genovese and Will Clem, focuses on developing cell-cultured meat, poultry and seafood, and will start commercial production of its first product – chicken – by end of 2021. UPSIDE felt chicken made the most sense as its flagship debut product given the increasing demand for the protein across the globe. The company previously released the world’s first cultured meatball in February 2016 and the world’s first cultured poultry in March 2017.

Developed completely from animal cells, the company, which counts a host of celebrity investors including Bill Gates, Kimbal Musk, Richard Branson & Jack & Suzy Welch, will be able to provide consumers real cultivated meat without the need for animals. The company is eagerly awaiting regulatory review in order to make the product available to consumers by the end of the year.

Back when it launched in 2015, UPSIDE Foods made history as the world’s first company based on cellular agriculture technology to incorporate- MOSA Meat in the Netherlands, whose founder Mark Post unveiled the first cell-based beef burger at an academic event in 2013, launched their company after Memphis.

To produce this meat on a large scale, the company has broken ground on a pilot plant in the San Francisco Bay Area, an end-to-end facility that will enable the production, packaging, and shipping of cultured meat all in one location. According to the company, the custom-built plant “will be an international model for creating real, delicious, resource-efficient meat”.

The rebrand also features a website refresh clearly aimed at a younger, more environmentally-focused generation of end-consumers, with the company describing their new branding as “optimistic and approachable” with “a vibrant, uplifting color palette”.

A screenshot from the UPSIDE Foods website

In a press release announcing the news, Valeti, who was recently the subject of the documentary film Meat The Future, said of the news: “Our team introduced the world to cultured meat, and the evolution to UPSIDE Foods communicates our passion and potential to make our favorite foods healthier for the planet. Our new name showcases the work we are doing to make eating meat a force for good. We can’t wait for consumers to try our UPSIDE chicken soon. If you love chicken and the planet, UPSIDE is for you.” 

Asked about what geographical markets UPSIDE was planning on targeting, Valeti told Green Queen in a statement: “We are currently focused on developing and launching UPSIDE meat in the U.S., but our mission is global and we absolutely have aspirations to launch our product worldwide as soon as possible”.

Our team introduced the world to cultured meat, and the evolution to UPSIDE Foods communicates our passion and potential to make our favorite foods healthier for the planet. Our new name showcases the work we are doing to make eating meat a force for good

Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of UPSIDE Foods
Uma Valeti. Source: UPSIDE Foods

CEO of Whole Foods John Mackey, who is an investor in the company, said that consumers are increasingly demanding products that are cruelty-free, sustainable as well as tasty. “UPSIDE Foods is meeting them at the center of their plates with meat they can feel good about. This has the potential to revolutionize the way people eat and is incredibly exciting. The world 20 years from now may be completely different due to UPSIDE Foods, which is why I’ve personally invested in the company.”

“We want to become the preferred brand for the next generation of meat lovers. And we wanted our brand to reflect the essence of what our product and company is all about: delicious, sustainable and humane meat for everyone. The future of food is all about activating the upside”, said Upside’s director of brand & creative Maria Occarina Macedo.

Just today, new research published in the peer-reviewed journal Foods found that the average consumer thought cultivated protein will make up at least 40% of their future meat consumption.

Correction: This article previously suggested MOSA Meat was the world’s first cell-based company to incorporate. In fact, Memphis Meats was the first in 2015 and the article has been updated to reflect this.


Lead image courtesy of UPSIDE Foods.

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