The United States has never before approved cultivated meat for sale. The FDA's decision will allow Upside Foods to sell chicken made from real animal cells grown in bioreactors instead of slaughtering live animals.

The FDA's decision is a big deal for the meat industry. In the last few years, startups in the space have built small-scale production facilities and raised billions of dollars in funding, but haven't been able to sell their products to the public. The products are still experimental and a small number of people have had to sign waivers to try them.

Beef, chicken, salmon, and tuna are some of the cultivated meats that different startup are focusing on. The announcement only applies to Upside Foods and its cultured chicken. The products have been approved by the FDA. Food manufacturers give the FDA details of their production process and the product they create, and once the FDA is satisfied that the process is safe, they issue a letter.

For the first time, cultivated meat products will be available to the public, although it is likely that tastings will be limited to a very small number of exclusive restaurants. The chef will serve chicken from Upside Foods at her restaurant.

There will be other restaurants that serve cultivated meat. The regulators in Singapore gave the go-ahead for Eat Just to cultivate chicken in December 2020. The chicken nuggets were sold at a members-only restaurant.

Cultivated meat contains real animal cells that are indistinguishable from real meat itself. The cells are isolated from an animal and then frozen. Small samples from these cell lines can be transferred to bioreactors, where the cells are fed growth media to grow. The cells can be used in cultivated meat products once they have grown and differentiated.

The cost to grow cells in this way is still high. It is likely that pure cultivated meat will be several times the cost of conventional meat even though the exact cost of growing their cells is kept under wraps. Even large facilities will produce meat at a cost of $17 per pound, which will translate into higher prices in restaurants and grocery stores. It is likely that the first cultivated meat products released to the public will be a blend of animal cells and plant based meat.