Upside Foods
6682d73ff5a51348ee716156 Upside Foods 5

Upside Foods Hosts Cultivated Meat Tasting Party Ahead of Florida's Ban

July 1, 2024
The company held a free chicken tasting for 100 people at a Miami restaurant before the statewide ban took effect on July 1.

Cultivated meat developer Upside Foods held a cultivated chicken tasting party last week in Miami, just before today’s (July 1) ban on cultivated meats in Florida.

The "Freedom of Food" pop-up event on The Annex rooftop “celebrated and advocated for food freedom and innovation that can help build a better future,” said a release from the California company. It also marked the first time cultivated meat was available for the public to taste free of charge.

The cultivated chicken was prepared and served by Miami chef, restaurateur and TV personality Mika Leon. He crafted tostadas featuring Upside chicken, prepared “a la plancha con sazón,” garnished with avocado, chipotle crema, beet sprouts and fresh lime zest.

The event attracted a diverse crowd, including Florida residents, families, professionals, food enthusiasts and curious consumers. More than 100 guests got a taste of cultivated meat and engaged in discussions about the technology and the future of food.

As with most cultivated meat tastings so far – from all suppliers – the quantities were small and did not include whole-meat cuts. Companies in this category are still ramping up to that level; see our cover story on the subject here.

“We believe that cultivated meat is essential for the future of food, and people should have the right to choose what they eat,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods. “The purpose of this event was to give Floridians a taste of cultivated meat – something the state is unfortunately preventing them from enjoying and benefiting from, both in terms of innovation and economics. Despite Florida's ban, events like this highlight the increasing interest in cultivated meat and its crucial role in shaping a more sustainable future of food.”

While dozens of startups are dabbling in this technology, Upside Foods and Eat Just/Good Meat are the only companies approved by USDA and FDA to produce and sell their products, both of them making chicken. And while that approval came in June of 2023, neither is selling product at this moment. Both companies appear years away from producing enough quantity and at a reasonable price to make their products available even in limited quantities.

Nevertheless, the Florida legislature passed a bill outlawing the product. In signing the bill into law on May 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis called cultured meat part of a global conspiracy.

“Having had the opportunity to work with Upside's cultivated chicken, I can attest that their products are delicious,” said Chef Leon. “From appearance to aroma and taste, their products provide the same experience you’d expect from chicken. As a chef, I love the idea of preserving the foods we love while using innovation to figure out ways to create a better future of food.”

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

Sponsored Recommendations

Learn About: Micro Motion™ 4700 Config I/O Coriolis Transmitter

An Advanced Transmitter that Expands Connectivity

Micro Motion™ G-Series Coriolis Flow and Density Meter

Micro Motion G-Series: market-leading compact design featuring advanced process diagnostic capability.

Embracing Sustainability using Advanced Measurement Instrumentation

A practical guide to greeningyour brewing operationsusing advanced measurementinstrumentation.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...