Insiders Reveal Major Problems at Lab-Grown-Meat Startup Upside Foods

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> Its list of investors includes SoftBank, Cargill, Richard Branson, and the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund

At this point if you see SoftBank investing in something you just know it’s a scam/get-rich-quick scheme


As someone with a a PhD in food science who spent the last eight years working in the plant-based meat industry (and switched to tech, fortunately), this is finally bringing to light what we’ve been hearing as whispers from this industry as a whole. Lab grown meat is nowhere close to where the general population thinks it is and it’s mostly due to companies like UPSIDE constantly announcing their “breakthroughs” when the best thing they have (or anyone has really) is a shitty slab of chicken-like jello ground together with soy and pea protein. And nobody can even scale that properly yet either.

If you read the comments on Reddit for any of the articles where they announced the FDA “no questions” letter or their multiple huge rounds of funding, there is massive demand for these products with “I can’t wait to eat lab grown meat — it’s going to be identical to what I’m eating now without the carbon and ethical impact” but what these companies can and will actually make and sell couldn’t be further from that. Nobody is making whole cuts, and nobody is even close to the first product, which is plant based nuggets that’s “made with real chicken cells” at $50 a package.

IMO the problem is exactly this attitude and hubris to just “keep lying while we figure this out” which is going to decimate this industry and put a lot of people out of work when it all runs out. The issue is that there is just SO MUCH MONEY getting funneled into these companies that investors and employees are tricking themselves into believing this shit is even close. You’re going to keep seeing more and more press from places like UPSIDE that will make you think they’re “three months out” from taking over the entire meat aisle will try to get you to buy plant based nuggets with cells.


Good article. Gonna give you credit for posting something I read all the way through.


Not saying this company is a complete fraud, but this situation reminds me of what we learned about Theranos in that they are selling automated/scalable technology out front while using manual/labor intensive processes in back.


Companies like these have to be really careful in how they label their products and getting FDA approval is one thing, the USDA is a whole other beast.

But I love the point out from the article that their biggest issue is scale. How are they going to get the scale they need when the technology hasn’t been proven. The whole point of lab-grown meat is to reduce the amount of waste, get rid of animal cruelty, and reduce carbon footprint. So far, they’ve failed two parts wholly and a part of the animal cruelty. Except they have to get the animal cells from somewhere.

It’s kind of like Beyond Meat in that the ingredients used to bind the product into a faux meat product requires more chemical processes compared to traditional meat. They can pump out the product but the end result might be no better for you than regular meat.


Fascinating that employees are referencing Theranos… three paragraphs in I had the same thought.


“It’s not a squeegee, it’s a custom made spatula”, I don’t think that is the flex you think it is.


Interesting article and really shows the problem with lab grown meat it’s not easy to do in mass, and thr issue here seems to be Upside is pretty much lying about how they do it.

“Are we the next Theranos?’” says one former employee.”

That’s pretty red flag if you ask me, you really have to wonder what’s going on with the higher ups if they actually have a plan or are just waiting for everything to fall apart.

“Upside disputes this characterization. “It is not a squeegee. It is a custom-made spatula,” says interim head of communications Melissa Musiker.”

Also a another red flag! They had a problem with the characterization of a fucking tool! and wtf is a custom spatula? Since it sounds like it would be pretty similar to a squeegee…..if a company needs to be this fucking pedantic about a tool they use internally there’s a fucking problem!

“These thin layers, described by one source as resembling a “chicken fruit roll-up,”

It’s sad they’re not showing that off since I want to see a chicken fruit roll up that sounds pretty neat.


Staff members cannibalized by synthmeat golems?


This is why I like things like Quorn (which is fungus, but specifically not mushroom). Just make it seem like an alternative product rather than trying to duplicate a taste and texture of existing meat.

But I swear I can’t tell the Quorn nuggets from chicken nuggets. I realise this may be an indictment of what is in a real chicken nugget.


Their work has IN NO WAY been hindered by the beef and pork industry.


Stupid pay walls. No wonder half the redditors don’t read the articles first before posting.




It’s a fad anyways…


Pphhtt. Paywalls

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