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Former PepsiCo Veteran Joins US-Based Cultured Meat Company as COO

California-based Upside Foods, formerly known as Memphis Meats, has appointed former PepsiCo Senior Vice President Amy Chen as the company’s first Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The move is in line with the company’s plans to roll out its first consumer product – Upside Chicken – in the market.

“We needed a proven leader with global food experience to match our global ambitions, and an equally deep commitment to our mission to make meat that is better for the world. Amy is exactly that,” said Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of UPSIDE Foods. “Bringing Amy into our executive team reflects UPSIDE Foods’ shift in focus from research and development to a consumer and commercial organization, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our team of UPSIDERS.”

Amy has served at PepsiCo for more than a decade with her last designation being Senior Vice President at PepsiCo Beverages North America. Prior to that, she was the Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo’s snacks business in the Greater China Region. Amy also held a variety of sales, operations, strategy and innovation roles within the company.

In addition to her commercial accomplishments at the company, Amy also co-founded and launched Food For Good, a social enterprise within the company focused on childhood hunger. She was also a charter member of PepsiCo’s Human Rights Operating Committee.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always been committed to using business as a force for good. I’m thrilled to be joining Upside Foods’ movement to transform our food system for the better,” said Amy Chen. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help define a new industry, build a commercial organization from the ground up, and change the world all at the same time with Uma and our growing team at UPSIDE Foods.” 

Amy, who describes herself as an “intrapreneur”, said in an interview posted on Upside Foods website, “Early in my career, I fell in love with the potential of business to be a force for good. When you think about the scale at which businesses operate in our society, moving things one degree can change the world in massive ways.”

upside foods

In her new role, Amy will be responsible for leading the brand’s global strategy and commercial functions, including sales and marketing, finance and operations, product development, food safety and public policy. She will also be focused on scaling the company’s culture as it enters its next phase.

Since joining the company, Amy has been spearheading its rebranding from Memphis Meats to Upside Foods and has been working towards the transformation of the cultured meat company into a commercial organisation.

Upside Foods unveiled the world’s first cultured meatball in February 2016 and the world’s first cultured poultry in March 2017. It aims to bring to the market “delicious, real meat that is significantly better for the environment, animals and public health”, while claiming a share of the $1.4 trillion global market for meat.

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