News Sep 14, 2023

Jacobs Selected as Engineering and Design Partner by UPSIDE Foods for its First Commercial Scale Cultivated Meat Plant in the Chicago Area

Partnership will support the production of meat in a more humane, sustainable and resilient way.

Rendering of UPSIDE Foods facility

Courtesy UPSIDE Foods

Jacobs is partnering with UPSIDE Foods, the leading cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood company, to build its first large-scale commercial production plant in Glenview, Illinois. Once operational, the facility will produce millions of pounds of cultivated meat products and enable UPSIDE to expand its commercial offerings, increase scalability, and reduce production cost.

Jacobs worked with UPSIDE Foods on site selection and preliminary facility design and is the engineering partner on the new 187,000-square-foot plant in the Chicago area. It will produce cultivated meat products, starting with chicken, with plans to diversify to other species and product formats in the future. With an initial capacity to produce millions of pounds of cultivated meat products per year and the potential to expand to more than 30 million pounds, the facility is a significant step forward in achieving the company's goal to produce delicious meat in a way that’s better for animals, people, and the planet.

“Jacobs has extensive experience working with disruptive, innovative partners. This project aligns with our Boldly Moving Forward strategy in challenging the status quo in the food industry,” says Jacobs CEO Bob Pragada. “The meat industry is water- and land-intensive and a significant source of greenhouse gases, and yet global demand for meat continues to grow. This facility will enable UPSIDE to produce cultivated meat at a commercial scale, a key milestone in the company’s mission to create a more humane, sustainable, and resilient food system.”

Rather than raising, transporting and slaughtering a whole animal, cultivated meat is grown directly from a small sample of healthy animal cells and provides a more efficient, humane, and sustainable way to grow food by only producing edible, commercially viable meat. In June 2023, UPSIDE Foods became the first company to receive approval to sell cultivated meat in the U.S after completing a regulatory review process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"It's wonderful to welcome Jacobs into our big tent to build our inaugural large-scale cultivated meat production plant, Rubicon," says Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods. "Jacobs' impressive track record of spearheading groundbreaking projects that scale up innovative technologies aligns perfectly with our vision at UPSIDE to make our favorite foods a force for good. Together, we are taking a bold step toward a brighter future for food."

Berkeley, California based UPSIDE Foods is at the forefront of a movement to find ways to feed the planet with sustainable protein and fight climate change. Last year it raised a $400 million Series C funding round, at a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Did you know...?

  • 2 x

    Demand for meat is expected to double by 2050

  • ~ 14.5 %

    Conventionally-produced meat is responsible for ~14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions

  • 1 /3

    Conventionally-produced meat takes ⅓ of arable land and fresh water

  • 70 B+

    Conventionally-produced meat slaughters 70+ billion land animals per year