In June, the USDA granted label approval to both companies, allowing them to sell their products under the name “cell-grown chicken.” Today’s green light is an inspection grant, which allows companies to get their production facilities up and running. With all these approvals in hand, Upside Foods and Eat Just are able to produce and sell their products to the public.
Gaining approval from US regulators is a major milestone for the industry, says Po Bronson, general partner at SOSV, Upside’s first venture capital investor. “Making sure food is safe is very important,” Bronson says. “It’s absolutely necessary, and we wouldn’t have a future industry without it.”
Each company plans to launch in restaurants before moving to retail. Eat Just’s farmed chicken will first be sold at an undisclosed restaurant in Washington, DC. Schulze said Upside’s products, which it produces at a pilot facility in California, should be available by late summer at Bar Crenn, a San Francisco restaurant.
“It’s an incredible historical moment,” says Schulze. “The next giant hurdle is enlargement. Frankly, that’s what matters.”