This alternative meat company just raised a record $400 million

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A cultured meat takeover is imminent: the innovative food category is set to change the food industry by providing customers with a “real” sustainable meat product while undermining the meat industry. UPSIDE Foods is pioneering the path, securing a $400 million Series C investment round that has taken its valuation to $1 billion and is the largest round in the industry to date.

With this additional funding, UPSIDE intends to accelerate product development and prepare for commercialization. As cultured meat nears regulatory approval in the United States, UPSIDE aims to usher in a new food era, making its cell-based products available to American consumers by the end of the year.

“The cultured meat industry has reached a historic inflection point,” said Upside Foods Founder and CEO Uma Valeti, Ph.D. insurmountable in our mission to make our favorite food a force for good.Working in partnership with our coalition of world-class investors, we are excited to bring delicious, sustainable and cruelty-free meat to consumers around the world.

The funding round was co-led by Abu Dhabi Growth Fund and Temasek, along with an impressive list of other investors. Other investors included Baillie Gifford, John Doerr, SALT Fund, Synthesis Capital, Bill Gates, Cercano Management, CPT Capital, Dentsu Ventures, EDBI, Kimbal and Christiana Musk, Norwest Venture Partners, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and SOSV’s Indie Bio. UPSIDE has also caught the eye of Cargill, which is the third largest meat processor in the United States. The investment interest indicates that the meat industry recognizes the value of the growing cellular sector.

“We are excited to support this next chapter of UPSIDE Foods’ growth,” said Cargill Chief Operating Officer Brian Sikes. “Our continued support of UPSIDE’s innovative work underscores Cargill’s commitment to an inclusive approach to healthy, sustainable protein that will meet the current and future needs of customers and consumers.”

The world is looking for sustainable food, but many people resist plant-based foods. Cultured meat is meant to be the middle ground that will encourage people to eat sustainably. Cultured beef production is expected to reduce air pollution by 93% and minimizing the wider climate impact by 92% compared to animal agriculture. Thanks to this investment, sustainable foods will become more available than ever.

Meat grown in the United States

This monumental funding round is critical to UPSIDE’s business sector. The food technology company is primarily focused on scale, aiming to build production facilities capable of producing tens of millions of pounds of cultured meat products. UPSIDE’s products will also include all varieties of meat products with an initial focus on chicken.

Last November, UPSIDE initiated its preparation for commercial distribution by opening its Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC). The EPIC facility is capable of producing 50,000 pounds of cultured meat per year, but the company expects it will eventually have the potential to produce 400,000 pounds per year. Based in Emeryville, California, EPIC will help UPSIDE launch its distribution effort in the United States.

UPSIDE also plans to bring cultured chicken directly to people’s plates. The company is partnering with Michelin-starred chef Dominque Crenn to introduce the nation’s first cultured chicken at his San Francisco-based restaurant Atelier Crenn. Crenn will become the first American chef to serve cultured chicken, especially since the chef removed meat from his menus in 2018.

Cultured meat is already available

Despite the cultured meat craze, the United States lags behind other countries. Customers can already buy cell-based meat products across Singapore, and Qatar is expected to approve cultured meat this year. In Singapore, GOOD Meat – the cultured meat arm of Eat Just – serves cell-based chicken to the retail and foodservice sectors. The brand is also working closely with Qatar to begin distribution pending regulatory approval.

Last year, the cultured meat market is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2030, registering a remarkable growth rate of 95.8%. However, with companies like UPSIDE and GOOD Meat pushing the industry into the mainstream, the industry could exceed expectations. Cultured meat has a particular advantage over other protein alternatives because it seamlessly replicates animal products that people around the world are hesitant to give up.

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