Upside Foods Partners With Chef Dominique Crenn To Serve Cell-Based Chicken


Dive brief:

  • Cell-based meat company Upside Foods has partnered with Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn, who will launch the company’s cell-based chicken at his Atelier Crenn restaurant in San Francisco once the company receives approval. regulatory. Crenn will also provide culinary advice and recipe development assistance to Upside Foods.
  • Upside Foods, formerly known as Memphis Meats, says this is its first such partnership. The company plans to partner with other US chefs and restaurants as its products close to being approved for sale. This will be followed by commercial deployments in grocery stores and other markets around the world.
  • Upside Foods has been at the forefront of the development of cultured meat in the United States, with its pilot plant in the San Francisco Bay Area – funded through a $ 161 million investment round that has was closed early last year – nearing completion. The company said it was working with the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on developing regulations and an approval process for cell-based meat.

Dive overview:

Even though there is still work to be done to build pilot plants, put in place a regulatory framework and be able to demonstrate that a large amount of cell-based meat can be produced in a consistent manner, Upside Foods is getting closer. of the final consumer.

The company changed its name in May to focus more on the consumer. This, combined with a high profile partnership announcement, gives ordinary people – who are unfamiliar with the actors, funds, and techniques of the R&D race to create meat from cells – something to look forward to. discuss and reflect, as technology moves closer to becoming a reality that the masses can eat.

Upside Foods has chosen one of the best-known names in high-end French cuisine in the United States as its culinary and launch partner. Crenn was the first female chef in the United States to be awarded three Michelin stars, and Atelier Crenn is regularly ranked among the best restaurants in the USA. The mission of Crenn’s restaurants also makes her a good partner for Upside Foods. With a focus on sustainability, its restaurants did not serve meat since 2019. Studies have shown that the sustainability benefits of cell-based meat could be substantial compared to traditional animal agriculture.

In a statement on the partnership, Crenn said that when she first tasted Upside Chicken, she felt she was tasting the future of food.

“People are finally realizing the downsides of conventional meat production, which led me to take meat off my menus several years ago,” she said. “Chefs need to lead the way in making more conscious product choices. I am delighted to collaborate with Upside Foods and look forward to bringing back delicious and better meat for the world to Atelier Crenn. “

Not only does this partnership quickly elevate cell-based meat to the top of fine dining, it also shows that animal-free meat can be desirable and delicious. While there is no cell-based meat on the market in the United States, the companies working on its creation have already surveyed consumers to gauge their opinions on possible products. According to these studies, public opinion leans favorably towards cell-based meat.

In a survey of U.S. consumers conducted earlier this year by a management consulting firm on behalf of Eat Just – the only company in the world currently with regulatory approval for cell-based meat – 72% said that ‘they would consider purchasing cell-based meat after seeing photos of products and reading a description of how they are made. Almost seven in ten people said they would be willing to replace cell-based chicken with one from animals.

Of course, the proof will be in how consumers behave once a regulatory framework is in place for cell-based meat and the companies’ products are approved for sale. Singapore is the only country that has approved the sale of cell-based meat, namely Eat Just’s Good Meat Chicken from the United States. The product has been available in a few restaurants across the island nation since December. But in the United States, Crenn’s backing is likely to help drive consumer acceptance.

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