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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Upside Foods announces new 187,000 square foot cell-based meat production plant

Upside Foods has announced plans to build its first large-scale cell-based meat production plant, named Rubicon, in Glenview, Illinois, US.

The 187,000 square foot plant will start by producing ground cell-based chicken products, with plans to expand to other species and whole-textured formats in the future.

With an initial capacity to produce millions of pounds of cell-based meat products annually – and the potential to expand to over 30 million pounds – the plant represents a significant step forward in achieving the company’s vision of creating a more humane, sustainable and resilient food system.

The new plant is designed to house cultivators with capacities of up to 100,000 litres and will stand as one of the world’s largest and most advanced commercial cell-based meat facilities.

Building upon the knowledge gained from Upside’s Engineering, Production, and Innovation Centre (EPIC) in California, the company’s new plant will cultivate meat at commercial scales and serve as a guiding force for its future endeavours in scaling up its operations to the next level.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said: “Here in Illinois, we are a hub for tech and innovation, thanks to our talented workforce and prime location in the heart of the Midwest. This new facility is a significant investment in our communities – creating new good-paying jobs while advancing our ambitious clean energy goals to create a more sustainable future. We also congratulate Upside Foods on its recent milestone of being the inaugural company to commercially sell cultivated meat in the US. Their pioneering leadership makes them a perfect fit for the region.”

Upside says it selected Glenview as the location of its new plant, due to the region's commitment to sustainability and innovation, as well as its strategic geographical advantage as it is located at major transportation crossroads.

Map of Upside Foods new cell-based meat production plant
Map location of Upside's new plant, located near major transportation crossroads
Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside, commented: “We’re excited that the next chapter of our journey towards building a more sustainable, humane, and abundant future will be in Illinois. 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. We are grateful for the collaboration and partnership that we have built at the state, county, and local levels in our site selection process.”

Following its acquisition of Wisconsin-based cell-based seafood company Cultured Decadence in January last year, Upside is furthering its commitment to Midwest US with a planned investment of more than $140 million in the region, along with the creation of more than 75 new jobs, from warehousing and logistics positions to bioprocessing and food production.

Kyle Schulz, EVP, World Business Chicago, said: “We are proud to partner with Upside Foods as they make the strategic decision to harness the unparalleled strengths of the greater Chicagoland region. Their groundbreaking work in growing meat, poultry, and seafood directly from animal cells aligns with our region's commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the future of food."

Upside selected the name ‘Rubicon’ for the cell-based meat production plant, with an appreciation for its historical significance as a point of no return.


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