Upside foods breaks ground on Chicago plant to scale up cell-based meat production

USA- Upside Foods is making significant strides in the cell-based meat industry with the establishment of its first commercial-scale production plant, named Rubicon, in the Chicago Metropolitan Area.

This strategic move aims to expand Upside Foods’ product offerings, enhance scalability, and reduce production costs. The plant will initially focus on producing ground-cultivated chicken products, with plans to diversify into other species and whole-textured formats.

Based in Glenview, Illinois, Upside Foods’ new facility will also concentrate on large-scale production, distribution, and sales of cultivated meat products.

The company is set to invest more than US$140 million in this Midwest expansion, creating approximately 75 new jobs across various sectors.

 “Establishing our plant in this region allows us to tap into a remarkable talent pool, a thriving innovation ecosystem, and a notable history of meat production,” Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of Upside Foods noted.

“We are grateful for the collaboration and partnership that we have built at the state, county, and local levels in our site selection process.”

Additionally, recognizing the environmental impact of traditional animal-based foods, the United Nations has advocated for innovative alternatives like cell-based and cultivated meat.

Upside Foods has partnered with Jacobs, a leader in engineering and technology solutions, to design and manufacture its new cultivated meat production site.

According to Bob Pragada, CEO of Jacobs, the facility will enable Upside to produce cultivated meat at a commercial scale, a key milestone in the company’s mission to create a more humane, sustainable, and resilient food system.

In June, Upside Foods achieved a significant milestone when it received regulatory clearance to sell its cultivated chicken products in the United States, marking a crucial step forward in the emerging cell-based meat industry.

The company has also expanded its product portfolio to include ground-cultivated meat products like chicken sausages, sandwiches, and dumplings.

The choice of Glenview as the plant’s location was influenced by its rich history in meat production, a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability, and strategic geographical advantages.

Kyle Schulz, Executive Vice President of World Business Chicago, expressed enthusiasm about promoting the region as a hub for innovative and sustainable solutions in the food industry.

Upside Foods’ decision was further motivated by the area’s skilled workforce and vibrant innovation landscape.

The state-of-the-art plant, equipped to house cultivators with capacities of up to 100,000 litres, is set to become one of the world’s largest and most advanced commercial cultivated meat facilities.

As Upside Foods expands its operations with Rubicon, it aims to leverage the knowledge gained from its Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) in California to cultivate meat at commercial scales and drive future growth in the industry.

Earlier this year, Chicago hosted the IFT FIRST event, showcasing global food science innovations, ingredients, and new launches, further highlighting the city’s role in advancing food technology and innovation.

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