Following this week’s groundbreaking news of UPSIDE Food receiving GRAS status for its cultivated chicken, marking the first time in the world that the FDA has given the green light to a cultivated meat product, industry leaders from the GFI, Stray Dog Capital, BioTech Foods, and Synthesis Capital here provide commentary on the significance of this historic development.
To recap: UPSIDE Foods has now successfully completed the FDA’s rigorous pre-market safety review for its cultivated chicken, demonstrating that it is as safe as conventional chicken. This historic milestone will pave the way for consumers to access these products in restaurants and retail across the country and ultimately across the world.
Seth Roberts, GFI
The Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe) – the leading international NGO working to advance sustainable proteins including cultivated meat across the UK and Europe – has welcomed the news.
Seth Roberts, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “This milestone announcement sends a strong message around the world that cultivated meat will be part of a more sustainable food future. Cultivated meat has the potential to help satisfy growing global demand for meat, while reducing the environmental impacts of our food system.
“cultivated meat will be part of a more sustainable food future”
“GFI Europe works with policymakers to encourage a robust, clear, and evidence-based regulatory process across Europe. We are not aware of any applications for pre-market authorisation of cultivated meat having been made in the UK or anywhere in Europe to date.
“As COP27 draws to a close, ministers should be investing in climate solutions like cultivated meat – just as they’ve supported renewable energy – to ensure the benefits are felt here in the UK.”
Lisa Feria, Stray Dog Capital
Stray Dog Capital is an investor in Upside Foods and believes this marks a significant milestone at a key time for the alternative protein industry. Lisa Feria, CEO and Managing Partner at Stray Dog Capital, shares her thoughts.
“While there is still more work to be done, this announcement moves the industry one step closer to bringing cultivated meat products to consumers’ plates in the US and paves the way for the FDA to approve additional companies’ products in the space.
“We are still at the very start of cultivated meat technology and this type of innovation will be key for helping the US to achieve climate goals. We cannot reach our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals without transitioning the food system away from animal agriculture, one of the highest polluting and most destructive industries in the world.”
Rosie Wardle, Co-Founder and Partner at Synthesis Capital
Synthesis Capital was an investor in the $400m series C, and earlier this year announced the world’s largest food technology fund at over $300m. Co-founder Rosie Wardle discusses what this means and why it is such a key moment for the sector.
“The approval of cultivated meat in the US from the FDA is arguably the most important regulatory milestone yet for the future of food industry. The announcement today marks a pivotal point in history. This is no longer science fiction: we can now grow real meat without an animal. Cultivated meat will soon be available for the first time in the US on restaurant menus, and in the coming years will be on supermarket shelves, and even in your Christmas lunch.
“…arguably the most important regulatory milestone yet for the future of food industry”
“COP27 recently came to a close, and throughout the summit we saw a focus on the environmental impact of our current food system. Today’s announcement provides a path to market for cultivated meat, which is a real and tangible solution to the food system crisis.
“We are immensely proud of our portfolio company Upside Foods whose work has been tireless and focused on reaching this milestone. Singapore made history granting approval for the sale of cultured meat two years ago, and today’s news is a significant step in further transforming the food system. This is just the beginning, and this regulatory progress will enable more and more food technology solutions and millions of dollars worth of innovation to hit supermarket shelves.
“Importantly, the US will be seen as a trend-setter, as many countries will look to the US for guidance around regulation. We expect a domino effect as more countries will follow suit and initiate their own regulatory processes. This will only accelerate given the global food industry has reached a critical point and it is now undeniable that innovation holds the key to a more equitable and sustainable future of food.
“The move by the US regulators has once again left the UK and Europe behind on the path towards innovation. As a UK headquartered fund, we actively look for opportunities in our home market too, but sadly the UK is yet to take a proactive stance on the adoption of new food technologies.
“The UK should take advantage of the increased regulatory independence after Brexit, and support its world-class researchers and scientists in leading the way in food innovation, at home.”
Iñigo Charola, CEO of BioTech Foods
“We are living a very important milestone in the sector, it is really a historic moment for our industry. With the green light from the FDA, the safety of these new foods in the US is regulated, and this will be a guide for other regulatory frameworks.
“Now, the industry is entering a new phase, in which productive capacity and competitiveness are gaining strength, and we are preparing for it. We are very optimistic about the future of cultivated meat and with it also hopeful about the reality of a more sustainable food system.”