Goodbye slaughterhouses, hello humane future. UPSIDE Foods just opened a major production facility to produce lab-grown meat.
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The food technology startup, formerly known as Memphis Meats, chose Emeryville, California, for its abattoir alternative. Emeryville is tucked between Berkeley and Oakland — a suitable place, since the Bay Area is known as a vegan stronghold.
Related: Singapore is the first country to approve lab-grown meat
UPSIDE’s Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) is a visitor-friendly 53,000 square foot space that resembles a brewery more than a sticky, smelly slaughterhouse. “When we founded UPSIDE in 2015, it was the only cultivated meat company in a world full of skeptics,” said UPSIDE CEO and founder Uma Valeti in a statement. “Today, that dream becomes a reality. The journey from tiny cells to EPIC has been an incredible one, and we are just getting started.”
EPIC can currently produce 50,000 pounds of lab-grown meat annually, with plans to scale up to more than 400,000 pounds. However, regulatory approval is still a stumbling block. So far, Singapore is the only country to approve cell-based meat — in that case, manufactured by Eat Just, which also makes the egg-free JUST Egg. Qatar may also be on the cutting edge and could be the next country to approve lab-grown meat. UPSIDE looked ahead when it included a room to be used by federal inspectors in its EPIC buildout.
“UPSIDE Foods continues to be a trailblazer in the industry, and their groundbreaking facility means consumers are now closer than ever before to buying cultivated meat in stores,” said Bruce Friedrich, founder and CEO of food advocacy nonprofit Good Food Institute, in a statement. “UPSIDE’s new Center will be focused on key technical hurdles and producing cultivated meat for consumers at scale.”
Valeti, a cardiologist, founded UPSIDE to bring a less environmentally harmful product to market. UPSIDE was a pioneer in lab-grown meat, and the first company to entice significant investors. Now over 70 companies are working on similar products.