JBS begins construction of “world’s largest” cell-based protein plant
Meat processing company JBS has announced that its subsidiary, BioTech Foods, has begun construction of its first commercial-scale plant for cell-based meat.
JBS invested $41 million into the plant in San Sebastián, Spain, which is expected to be completed in mid-2024.
The investment aims to help accelerate the development of the cell-based protein market globally. When complete, the plant will produce over 1,000 tons of protein annually, potentially reaching a production capacity of 4,000 tons per year in the medium term. BioTech plans to gradually increase its production capacity to address growing consumer demand.
Eduardo Noronha, JBS USA’s head of value-added business and leading JBS’ global cultivated protein strategy, said: “The new BioTech plant puts JBS in a unique position to lead the segment and ride this wave of innovation. The new hub in San Sebastián will allow BioTech Foods to offer cultivated protein as an innovative product that will meet the consumer demand for healthy, tasty, and sustainable food products.”
The new plant will be built on a 20,000-square-metre plot of land, enabling the facilities to expand and adapt to the needs of the market, which is in constant evolution.
The plant will incorporate patented bioreactors and cutting-edge technology, adapted specifically for producing cell-based proteins.
The plant is expected to create around 150 new jobs, including qualified R&D professionals.
JBS also plans to construct a “latest generation” biotech cell-based protein R&D centre in Florianópolis, Brazil, which will receive an estimated $60 million investment. The facility’s goal is to develop 100% Brazilian cutting-edge technology to produce alternative proteins.
JBS is the majority shareholder of BioTech Foods after acquiring a 53% stake in the Spanish company in November 2021.