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UPSIDE Foods alt-chicken
An Upside chicken salad. Image credit: Upside Foods

Memphis Meats becomes UPSIDE Foods, plans to sell alt-chicken as first product this year

May 12, 2021

Memphis Meats, one of the pioneers of cell-cultured meat, has re-branded to UPSIDE Foods and announced its intention to sell chicken as its first product.

The US company expects to be able to sell its UPSIDE chicken to consumers this year, pending regulatory approval.

As part of the announcement, John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, announced he was an investor in the company.

Berkeley, California-based Memphis Meats was one of the first companies to take on the challenge of recreating meat products without the animal through a cell replication process, as opposed to plant-based mimicry.

Its plans to release chicken first come on the heels of Eat Just, which was the first company in the world to get regulatory approval for cultivated meat when Singapore gave it the green light to sell its chicken at a local restaurant last November.

It might come as a surprise that chicken will be UPSIDE’s first commercial product because the first product it created was cultivated beef meatball back in 2016 although it followed suit with chicken a year later. UPSIDE said it chose chicken because it was “fast becoming the meat of choice for consumers” globally and “its versatility lends itself to a diverse set of recipes and culinary applications spanning geographic regions and styles.”

Of its geographical expansion plans, Uma Valeti, UPSIDE’s CEO and a cardiologist, told Green Queen Media, “We are currently focused on developing and launching UPSIDE meat in the US, but our mission is global and we absolutely have aspirations to launch our product worldwide as soon as possible”.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, said in a statement: “Consumers are hungry for products that are humane, sustainable and delicious, and 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.”

Read our first interview with Uma Valeti back in 2016 here.

The company also revealed it had broken ground on a pilot end-to-end plant in the San Francisco Bay Area to “produce, package and ship cultured meat at a larger scale than any other company in the industry, all under one roof,” according to a press release.

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