UPSIDE Foods Selects Chicago Metropolitan Area for its First Commercial-Scale Cultivated Meat Production Plant

  • UPSIDE Foods’ commercial plant, named “Rubicon“, is designed to produce millions of pounds of cultivated meat products, starting with cultivated chicken. The plant will enable UPSIDE to expand its commercial offerings, increase scalability, and reduce production cost.

  • UPSIDE Foods selected Illinois and the greater Chicagoland region due to its strategic location from a logistics and distribution perspective, its pro-innovation business environment, and its skilled workforce. 

  • UPSIDE’s Midwest expansion builds upon the Chicago area’s legacy in meat production and is expected to create at least 75 new jobs across warehousing, logistics, bioprocessing, food production, and other commercial functions.

BERKELEY, Calif.Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — UPSIDE Foods, the leading cultivated meat, poultry and seafood company, announced today that it selected the greater Chicagoland region for its first large-scale cultivated meat production plant. The 187,000 square foot plant, based in Glenview, Illinois, will start by producing ground cultivated 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 cultivated meat products per year 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.

“On behalf of the State of Illinois, we are excited to welcome UPSIDE Foods to the Land of Lincoln and are committed to supporting their growth in the cultivated meat industry,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “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 their recent milestone of being the inaugural company to commercially sell cultivated meat in the United States. Their pioneering leadership makes them a perfect fit for the region.”

The state-of-the-art plant, designed to house cultivators with capacities of up to 100,000 liters, will stand as one of the world’s largest and most advanced commercial cultivated meat facilities. Building upon the knowledge gained from UPSIDE’s Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) in California, UPSIDE’s new plant will cultivate meat at commercial scales and serve as a guiding force for UPSIDE’s future endeavors in scaling up its operations to the next level.

“We’re excited that the next chapter of our journey towards building a more sustainable, humane, and abundant future will be in Illinois,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods. “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.”

UPSIDE’s selection of Glenview was driven by the region’s esteemed legacy in meat production, a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability, and strategic geographical advantages. Located at major transportation crossroads, the plant will serve as an ideal hub for large-scale production, distribution, and sale of cultivated meat products. Furthermore, UPSIDE was attracted to the area for its talented workforce and vibrant innovation landscape.

Following its acquisition of Wisconsin-based cultivated seafood company Cultured Decadence, UPSIDE Foods is furthering its commitment to the Midwest 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, as well as other commercial functions.

“We are proud to partner with UPSIDE Foods as they make the strategic decision to harness the unparalleled strengths of the greater Chicagoland region,” said Kyle Schulz, Executive Vice President, World Business Chicago. “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. We are excited to support UPSIDE Foods in their journey and work together to promote the greater Chicagoland region as a hub for innovative and sustainable solutions that address the challenges of our time and continue the Chicagoland legacy in protein production.”

UPSIDE has selected Jacobs, a renowned global leader in engineering and technology solutions, as its design and manufacturing partner for its facility. With an exceptional track record in collaborating with mission-driven and innovative partners, Jacobs is the ideal choice to assist in the realization of UPSIDE’s large-scale cultivated meat production plant.

“Jacobs has extensive experience working with disruptive, innovative partners,” said Bob Pragada, CEO of Jacobs. “This project aligns with our Boldly Moving Forward strategy in challenging the status quo in the food industry. The meat industry is water- and land-intensive and a significant source of greenhouse gases, and yet global demand for meat continues to grow. This 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.”

UPSIDE selected the name “Rubicon” for its first large-scale cultivated meat production plant with an appreciation for its historical significance as a point of no return. This choice reflects the company’s commitment to redefine the future of food.

This announcement comes after a series of milestones for UPSIDE Foods, including completing the first U.S. consumer sale of cultivated meat in the U.S., a $400M Series C placing the company’s valuation at over $1 billion, and the expansion of its product portfolio to include ground cultivated meat products.

About UPSIDE Foods
Based in Berkeley, CA, UPSIDE Foods grows meat, poultry and seafood directly from animal cells. These products are not vegan or vegetarian—they are delicious meat, made without the need to raise and slaughter billions of animals. Founded as the world’s first cultivated meat company in 2015, UPSIDE Foods has achieved numerous industry-defining milestones, including being granted approval to sell cultivated meat in the United States in June 2023 and completing the first consumer sale of cultivated meat in the U.S. The company believes that people shouldn’t have to choose between the foods they love and a thriving planet, and is working to build a better food system with access to delicious, humane, and sustainable meat, poultry, and seafood. UPSIDE Foods has won various industry awards, including New York Times’ Good Tech Awards, FastCo’s Next Big Thing in Tech, and the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation by the National Association for Business Resources. UPSIDE Foods has raised a total of $608 million, including from the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund (ADG), Baillie GiffordBill Gates, Cargill, Future Ventures, John Doerr, John Mackey, Kimbal and Christiana Musk, Norwest, Richard Branson, Softbank, Temasek, Threshold, Tyson Foods, and others. For more information, please visit www.upsidefoods.com.

About World Business Chicago
World Business Chicago, the city’s economic development agency and lead of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership (GCEP), announced in January 2023, is committed to fostering inclusive economic growth and creating jobs in Chicago and the surrounding region. The GCEP brings together stakeholders from the city, Cook County, and six regional counties to develop a unified strategy for economic growth and development. Through this partnership, World Business Chicago collaborates with public and private sector partners to leverage the strengths of the region, driving initiatives that stimulate economic vitality, support local businesses, and attract investment to the region. For more information about World Business Chicago’s initiatives, programs, and the GCEP, visit worldbusinesschicago.com.

About Jacobs
At Jacobs, we’re challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing, turning abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. With approximately $15 billion in annual revenue and a talent force of more than 60,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector. Visit jacobs.com and connect with Jacobs on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

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