Courtesy of Upside Foods
upside_foods cultivated chicken

Upside Foods Halts Plan for New Illinois Cultivated Meat Plant

Feb. 16, 2024
Cultivated meat company will ease off the gas pedal and redirect efforts toward expanding its current facility in California before building a new production facility.

As first reported in tech publication Wired, cultivated meat company Upside Foods has halted its plan to construct and open a 187,000-sq.-ft. processing plant in Glenview, Ill., instead shifting its focus to expanding operations at its established facility in Emeryville, Calif.

In an email from CEO Uma Valeti that was leaked to Wired, the company said the shift would cost “substantially less” than building the first phase of the Illinois facility — which was announced in September 2023 — and that it had also begun streamlining operations and stopping non-critical work.

Workers who were involved in the Illinois plant’s development have been released and offered severance, according to the report, and the company was also planning other layoffs and “changes” that expected to affect 16 employees.

Upside Foods still plans to build a full-scale facility, the email also said, but the company needed to deliver “key proof points” through the California facility before that plan could continue. An Upside Foods spokesperson confirmed that point to Wired as well.

All this news deals a significant blow to Upside and the cultivated-meat industry. The proposed Illinois facility was expected to cost more than $140 million to build, leading to a facility with a potential capacity of more than 30 million pounds of product per year.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

Sponsored Recommendations

Troubleshoot: Grittiness in gluten free cookies

Learn how to adjust gluten free cookie recipes for a softer texture.

Clabber Girl: Rising Success

Uncover how Clabber Girl Corporation achieved a remarkable 7% growth and improved manufacturing efficiency by seamlessly integrating Vicinity's batch manufacturing solution with...

Intelligent Blends: Taking Technology to the Next Level

Find out how our friends at Intelligent Blends use VicinityFood and Microsoft Dynamics GP to produce the best coffee around.

Key ingredient: Mother Murphy's Laboratories

Flavorings manufacturer Mother Murphy’s Laboratories integrates front office with production facility — improving operations from initial order to final invoice.