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Upside Foods prioritizes expansion of Emeryville facility over construction of Illinois 'Rubicon' plant

February 26, 2024

Upside Foods recently announced a significant adjustment to its expansion strategy. Amid a challenging funding environment, the company has opted to refocus its resources and efforts, choosing to enhance and double the investment in its existing Emeryville, California, facility, rather than proceeding with the immediate development of a new plant in Glenview, Illinois, which had been informally referred to as 'Rubicon'. This strategic pivot is designed to optimize operational efficiency and achieve cost-effectiveness without compromising the company's ambitious growth and production goals.

The decision to delay the Rubicon project and instead invest in the Emeryville facility is a calculated response to the current financial landscape, aiming to maintain momentum in scaling up production capabilities while managing costs prudently. Upside Foods emphasizes that this shift does not signify a step back but rather a strategic repositioning to ensure the company's sustainable growth. The expansion of the Emeryville site is projected to meet, if not exceed, the production capacity and timelines initially forecasted for the Rubicon facility, but with considerably lower financial outlay.

Uma Valeti, CEO of Upside Foods, underscored the significance of these adjustments within the company's broader strategic framework. By focusing on enhancing the existing infrastructure in Emeryville, Upside Foods is not only aiming to fortify its position as a pioneer in the cultivated meat sector but is also laying the groundwork for future expansion, including the eventual establishment of a full-scale commercial facility. These steps are integral to the company's vision of leading the industry with innovative, sustainable food solutions that meet the growing global demand for alternative proteins.

However, this realignment has necessitated the elimination of certain positions, specifically affecting 16 employees who were engaged with the Illinois project. Recognizing the impact of these changes, Upside Foods has committed to providing the affected individuals with severance packages and support services to assist them during this transition period.

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