Brazilian meatpacker JBS said that 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 says will be the world's largest lab-grown meat plant, should produce more than 1,000 metric tons of cultivated beef per year, JBS said. It said it could expand capacity to 4,000 metric tons per year in the medium term.
'Wave Of Innovation'
"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.
JBS acquired a 51% stake in Spain's BioTech in 2021 in a $100 million (€93.5 million) deal, with $41 million (€38.3 million) 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 $2.5 million investment in Israeli start-up Aleph Farms in 2021.