SAO PAULO: Brazilian meatpacker JBS says its subsidiary BioTech Foods has started construction in Spain on its first commercial-scale plant to produce lab-grown meat, which is set to be completed by mid-2024.
The factory, which JBS said would be the world’s largest lab-grown meat plant, should produce more than 1,000 tonnes of cultivated beef per year.
The company said it could expand capacity to 4,000 tonnes per year in the medium term.
The new BioTech plant puts JBS in a unique position to lead the segment and ride this wave of innovation, according to the company’s head of value-added business in the United States Eduardo Noronha.
JBS acquired a 51% stake in Spain’s BioTech in 2021 in a US$100mil (RM460mil) deal, with US$41mil (RM188.8mil) directed to building the plant, which will be located in San Sebastian.
“With the challenges imposed on global supply chains, cultivated protein offers the potential to stabilise food security and global protein production,” BioTech Foods co-founder and CEO Iñigo Charola said in a statement.
JBS said BioTech plans to gradually increase its production capacity to meet growing consumer demand, and sees Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, Singapore and the United States as key markets.
BioTech produces its cultured meat from a sample of cells collected from livestock and grown into a tissue, similar to that produced in the animal’s body.
Brazilian chicken and pork processor BRF SA also ventured into the cultivated meats sector with a US$2.5mil (RM11.5mil) investment in Israeli start-up Aleph Farms in 2021. — Reuters