Yahoo Finance’s Brooke DiPalma joins the Live show to discuss reports that lab-grown meat could be on restaurant menus as early as this year, according to Upside Foods.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: As foodtech company Upside Foods makes headway, lab-grown meat could be on a restaurant menu near you as soon as this year. Brooke DiPalma is here with more. A lot of people sort of split on how they feel about lab-grown meat.
BROOKE DIPALMA: That's right. Well, they might get a taste of it soon because according and reportedly, Upside Foods aims to bring a product to restaurants this year in 2023 and then to grocery stores by 2028. Now, that's a similar timeline to what CEO Yuma Valenti told us back in December.
So like I said, consumers can get a taste soon. This comes two months after the FDA deemed that the cultivated meat product made by Upside Foods was, in fact, safe to eat. Now, it's important to note here that this is different than plant-based meat. They actually use a small sample of cells from livestock, then feed it nutrition, put it in sealed vessels, and then what they say is processed to look and essentially taste like real meat.
But of course, when this does hit grocery stores and those restaurants, its intention is to be placed next to the meat and poultry idle-- isle that is, as opposed to next to the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Of course, there are other companies in this space like Eat Just subsidiary Good Meat, who's also looking to make headway, get FDA approval, and then be launched in restaurants and grocery stores as well.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: So then as we await all of this then, what sort of challenges does the industry face?
BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, well, Rachelle, first, it's getting you, and me, and people like us to essentially taste the product. That's why the introduction into restaurants plays such a key factor sort of looking at it as a premium offering and looking at chefs certainly to back this. But pricing also remains a key topic and a key challenge for these cultivated meat products.
When we spoke to Upside Foods founder and CEO Yuma Valenti back in late December, this is what he had to say when it came to pricing.
- Our aspirational goal at the moment is to beat the conventional prices. But initially, we're gonna start out with premium pricing when we come into the market, which we hope is really soon. And that's because we are on a small scale. Our labor force is really very highly, you know, educated and requires a lot of time to put together the product that we're gonna put on the market. But in time, we expect our products to be at parity with conventional meat. But that's gonna be 5 to 15 years away.
BROOKE DIPALMA: And, of course, another challenge here is producing what needs to be to feed consumers at scale. So of course, once it is introduced in restaurants, once it is introduced at grocery stores, it really is scaling up to see and fulfill what they think is going to be a big demand.
For context here, Upside Foods founder and CEO told us that right now their production facility currently is able to produce about 50,000 pounds of meat. Of course, that's nothing compared to the amount of meat that the US, a nation as a whole, certainly consumes. But they are currently looking for facility to produce 50 times that to range from 10 to 20 million pounds each year.
So those three challenges-- pricing, getting consumer demand to scale, those are three challenges that Upside Foods and the entire what they're calling cultivated meat industry is facing as they look to go into restaurants and grocery stores sometime soon.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: Great stuff, Brooke DiPalma there. I might be tempted if they hand it out as a Costco sample. I might try it. Don't know if I'd buy a whole pack of it before I've had a chance to test it out. But fantastic stuff there. Brooke DiPalma for us.