UPSIDE Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), the leading company in the cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood industry, announced today the acquisition of Cultured Decadence, a Madison, Wisconsin-based cultivated seafood company.
Cultured Decadence was founded in 2020 and has developed proprietary cell lines and cell feed for a variety of delicious, high-impact seafood products, including lobster and other crustaceans. This acquisition will enable UPSIDE to complement and expand its product portfolio and accelerate commercialization of a range of seafood products grown directly from animal cells, without raising animals. Cultured Decadence will adopt UPSIDE’s brand and remain in Wisconsin as UPSIDE’s Midwest hub.
This acquisition follows the recent opening of UPSIDE’s Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) in California, the most advanced cultivated meat, poultry and seafood production facility in the world. EPIC will be able to produce both UPSIDE’s existing product and species portfolio as well as that of Cultured Decadence, validating UPSIDE’s multi-species technology platform.
“Seafood has a rich and delicious culinary tradition that makes it a favorite across the globe. Cultivated seafood also has a tremendous potential to benefit the world,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, Founder and CEO of UPSIDE Foods. “Cultured Decadence’s technology is incredibly promising, and their team is filled with passionate, smart individuals who want to make our favorite food a force for good. We’re thrilled to welcome the Cultured Decadence team to the UPSIDE family and are excited that the scientific, technological, and production infrastructure we have built over many years can help accelerate the mission impact of this team.”
Cultivated meat, poultry and seafood is real meat produced directly by growing animal cells, without the need to raise and slaughter animals. It is not vegan, vegetarian or plant-based.
“We’ve long admired UPSIDE’s innovation and leadership in the cultivated meat industry,” said John Pattison and Ian Johnson, co-founders of Cultured Decadence. “UPSIDE’s unparalleled R&D and scale up capabilities will significantly accelerate the commercialization of cultivated delicious, sustainable and humane seafood. Uma and his team’s “Big Tent” mentality resonates deeply with our team, and we are incredibly proud and humbled to be joining such a talented group with a deep shared sense of mission, purpose and commitment to doing the right thing. There’s nobody else we’d rather join to build the future of food.”
The planet needs better solutions for producing seafood. Climate change is destroying the habitats of crustaceans and posing a major threat to the conventional seafood supply amid skyrocketing demand. At the same time, crustaceans are the most fuel-intensive sector in seafood, accounting for twenty-two percent of the carbon emissions from fishing vessels. Meanwhile, institutions around the world are increasingly recognizing the intellectual capacity of crustaceans. Last year, the United Kingdom formally recognized lobster, shrimp, crab and other crustaceans as sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, pleasure and joy. In 2018, Switzerland banned the act of boiling lobsters alive.
In addition to the grand opening of EPIC, UPSIDE recently announced a partnership with 3-Michelin Star chef Dominique Crenn and an investment from Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey. In April 2021, Cultured Decadence announced an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round and receipt of Wisconsin state grants.