BERKELEY, Calif. — Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), a company in the cultivated meat, poultry and seafood industry, announced the completion of its Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC). The 53,000-square-foot campus located in Emeryville, Calif., is the most advanced cultivated meat production facility in the world, according to the company. 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 company said the opening represents a major milestone in its journey to bring real, delicious meat to the world in a more humane and sustainable way.
EPIC, which contains custom-made, patented cultivators, can produce more than 50,000 pounds of finished product, with a future capacity of more than 400,000 pounds per year. Located in an urban area filled with residences and restaurants, it establishes meat production as a proud part of the community and will enable neighbors and the public to see first-hand how cultivated meat is made.
"When we founded Upside in 2015, it was the only cultivated meat company in a world full of skeptics," Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods said. "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 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.
"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 also includes what Upside described as industry-leading quality assurance facilities, where products are tested to ensure safety and quality. Like all meat and poultry facilities in the United States, it includes an office for federal inspectors to oversee the process. 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 staff.
The opening of EPIC is the latest in a series of developments as Upside prepares to bring its products to consumers. Earlier this year, the company rebranded from Memphis Meats to Upside Foods, announced investment from John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and 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, it hired Dr. Bob Kiss, who has more than three decades of industrial biotechnology experience, as executive vice president of technology.