News | December 9, 2021

UPSIDE Foods Develops Breakthrough Cell Feed That Is Free Of Animal Components

  • UPSIDE's animal component free (ACF) cell feed is a major milestone, and will further the company's mission of developing humane, affordable, and scalable cultivated meat
  • UPSIDE Foods has demonstrated this new production method in a range of new product formats

Berkeley, CA /PRNewswire/ - UPSIDE Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), the leading company in the cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood industry, announced today the development of a cell feed (also known as "media") that is completely animal component free (ACF). This breakthrough milestone is a crucial step towards making meat that is scalable, cost-effective and delicious, while also protecting the environment and animal welfare.

Cultivated meat is real meat grown directly from animal cells without the need to raise and slaughter animals. In order to grow, the cells require a combination of nutrients that they would otherwise get inside an animal's body, known as cell feed. Historically, animal components like fetal bovine serum (FBS) and animal proteins have been a key ingredient in cell feed because they offer a rich and complete source of nutrients that help the cells grow. Eliminating the use of animal components has been a major goal for the entire cultivated meat industry since UPSIDE founded the industry in 2015, as animal components pose challenges to both the mission and economics of cultivated meat.

"Since day one, we knew that developing animal component-free cell feed would be crucial to fully realizing our vision of meat that's better for the planet and its inhabitants," says Dr. Uma Valeti, Founder and CEO of UPSIDE Foods. "Cell feed is among the biggest drivers of cost and environmental footprint for the cultivated meat industry, and optimizing it is key to maximizing our positive impact. Our ultimate goal is to remove animals from our meat production process entirely."

To demonstrate the versatility of ACF cell feed, UPSIDE used it to produce two consumer-favorite products: chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Photos of these delicious products can be found here. While the initial demonstration of ACF cell feed was in select chicken products, UPSIDE is working to integrate ACF cell feed across its entire product portfolio over time.

"Developing animal component-free cell feed for cultivated meat is a breakthrough scientific feat. This unlocks new opportunities for UPSIDE Foods as we focus on scaling and commercializing cultivated meat," said Dr. Kevin Kayser, SVP of Research at UPSIDE Foods. "Our teams are excited about this milestone and are already working towards our goal to make all of our products with animal component free cell feed."

To achieve this major milestone, UPSIDE assembled an industry-leading team focused solely on developing its cell feed, which includes former leaders from some of the world's largest biotech and pharma companies. Previously, the team removed all fetal bovine serum from its process.

This announcement comes after a series of milestones as UPSIDE approaches commercialization, including the grand opening of its Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) and a partnership with 3-Michelin Star chef Dominique Crenn.

About UPSIDE Foods
Based in Berkeley, CA, UPSIDE Foods (formerly known as Memphis Meats) is reimagining meat for the 21st century — developing new delicious new sources of meat, fish, and poultry that also address environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and public health concerns. By cultivating meat directly from animal cells, without the need to raise or slaughter animals, the company released the world's first cultivated meatball in February 2016 and the world's first cultivated poultry in March 2017. It aims to bring to the market delicious, real meat that is significantly better for the environment, animals, and public health, while claiming a share of the $1.4 trillion global market for meat. UPSIDE Foods has raised over $200 million, including a $186 million series B round. For more information, please visit

Source: UPSIDE Foods

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