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JBS-Owned BioTech Foods Breaks Ground on “World’s Largest Cultivated Meat Plant” in Spain

The world’s largest meat processing company, Brazil’s JBS, announced that its subsidiary, the Spanish company BioTech Foods, has begun construction of its first commercial-scale plant for cultivated meat, reports Reuters.

The facility, located in Eskusaitzeta, Donostia’s industrial area, will open by mid-2024 as the country’s first cultivated meat facility (to our knowledge).

Biotech Foods claims it will be the world’s largest cultivated meat plant, with an annual production of 1,000 metric tons of cultivated beef. For further growth, it will have an expansion capacity of 4,000 metric tons annually. Additionally, the complex will host the company’s R&D department.

In January, Íñigo Charola, the CEO of BioTech Foods, revealed the plans for the future facility: “This new plant will allow us to increase production capacity to face the company’s next phase of expansion. Without a doubt, this will be a very important milestone for us, since it will mean a great step in the development of our technology and will allow us to take the definitive leap with the release of the product on the market.”

BioTech Foods
© BioTech Foods

A pioneer in cell culture 

In November 2021, JBS announced the acquisition of Biotech Foods, including a $41 million budget to build a new facility in Spain. This move along with the launch of an R&D center in Brazil that same year, marked JBS’s entrance into the cultivated protein space.

BioTech pioneers in cell culture technology to grow meat from animal cells collected from livestock. The company researches cell lines, cultured media, and biomaterials to scale up cultivated meat production to an industrial level. 

Last September, the company received a €753,000 grant for its investMEAT project from the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX). In 2021, it received €5.2 million from the Spanish government 2021 to develop cultivated meat, healthy fats, and functional ingredients. 

Earlier this year, GrowMeat, a startup based in Málaga, launched to produce the cultivated meat of the future, joining Coccus and Cubiq Foods, which work in the country’s cell ag and plant-based space. 

BioTech Foods started the construction of its facility in Spain
Image credit: BioTech Foods FB

Leading the segment

BioTech plans to gradually increase its production capacity to keep up with the rising consumer demand. The company has identified Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, and the United States as the key markets, said JBS.

BRF SA, a Brazilian chicken and pork processor, is also expanding into the cell ag industry. In 2021, it invested $2.5 million in Aleph Farms, the Israeli company that launched the “world’s first” Angus-style cultivated steaks

“The new BioTech plant puts JBS in a unique position to lead the segment and ride this wave of innovation,” said JBS USA’s head of value-added business, Eduardo Noronha.

>> Click here to go to Cultivated X where you will see a familiar layout and a focus solely on content regarding cellular agriculture, including fermentation-enabled products, and with more granular categories.

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