Meat without its drawbacks
It’s no longer science fiction: cellular agriculture just took a giant leap into reality with the inauguration of Upside Foods’ first pilot production centre. Financed by big names including Bill Gates and Richard Branson, the Californian company is initially targeting the American market but is not hiding its global ambitions.
From meatballs to seafood
Whether it’s poultry, fish or beef, no substance seems to resist this innovative method of meat production. Memphis Meats, pioneers of the technique, managed to make meatballs in 2016 from animal cells. Chicken and duck were next in line in 2017. Now “Upside Foods”, the company continues to expand its research. Its pilot plant in Emeryville is also an engineering and innovation centre that will be able to produce minced or cut meat, poultry, and seafood directly from cells. The United States administration established a regulatory framework in 2018, paving the way for the commercialization of these products. Facilities have been provided for health inspection and quality control.
"We're going to bring more affordable, more sustainable...and tastier meat to the plate."
Cells, not animal slaughter
The planet will have ten billion mouths to feed by 2050, bringing ethics and sustainability around agricultural practices into question. Two major problems arise when talking about the traditional food chain: animal welfare and environmental protection. Upside Foods claims to lead "a world in which meat comes from animal cells and not from the slaughter of animals". The young company considers cellular agriculture one of the most groundbreaking inventions in human history. What we eat says a lot about our inner nature and giving up that culture is simply unfathomable to the best of us. Keeping the same food while eliminating its disadvantages, however, seems very attractive.
Like beer or yoghurt
"We are going to bring a more affordable, more sustainable and tastier meat to our plates," says Upside Foods' CEO and founder, Uma Valeti. He guarantees that the taste and texture of cultured meat are no different from that of farmed meat. "The process is similar to brewing beer or making yoghurt.” Valeti assures us that beyond just our appetites are the numerous benefits cultured meat presents to the food industry as a whole. “The traditional industry puts the environment, animal welfare and even human health at risk. We can now solve these problems thanks to the partners we have gathered around us. This group will help us progress quickly," he said. Consumers won't have to wait much longer before they can judge. Product qualification and labelling remain a major challenge for retailers.