Upside Foods announces plans to debut cell-cultured chicken in the United States by the end of 2021

Some argue that lab-grown chicken has an almost indistinguishable difference when compared to the real thing. Courtesy/Ke Vin

Uma Valenti, a cardiologist who started Upside Foods, was inspired by the potential to redefine the modern food system and spent nearly a decade researching the potential of cell-cultured meat. His company is now prepping to debut their cell-cultured chicken in the United States by the end of 2021, starting with availability in restaurants.

Lab-grown chicken, meat made from samples of chicken cells that grow to develop chicken meat in a nutrient-rich environment, has been chatted about for years. Singapore was the first country globally to approve this kind of cell-cultured, slaughter-free chicken for human consumption in late 2020.

This kind of meat not only has an impact on sustainability, but it is also less likely to come in contact with bacteria, making it a cleaner product. The USDA and FDA are in the works of ensuring production standard requirements are met before Upside Foods’ debut in the American market.

The Wall Street Journal described the meat as essentially accurate to the real thing, with slight differences in texture. But is the United States ready for this kind of thing? A survey conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland tells us that some Americans are.

What do Saddleback students think about the possibility of having access to this kind of food? Chase Panning, a Saddleback College student, says this new option piques his curiosity.

“I don’t know,” Panning said. “I guess I’d be open to trying it. I mean, I’d be curious as hell to see if it really tastes like regular chicken.”

Some students are excited about the sustainability that this kind of food would provide. Factory farming has become a key issue within climate discussions. Cultured meat is hailed for its potential to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, solve the global food crisis, and spare the lives of animals. Lindsay Anderson, another student at Saddleback College, is more enthusiastic about these benefits.

“I’m actually really glad to hear that this chicken is a way to cut down on slaughterhouses and their environmental impacts,” Anderson said. “I’m vegetarian, but I would give it a shot just to see if I like it.”

Even though there is no official launch date for Upside Foods, it appears the future is approaching fast in the American gastronomy industry.