JBS, the world's largest meat processing company, has announced the commencement of construction on Brazil's first research facility dedicated to food biotechnology. Named the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre, the facility is located at the Sapiens Parque innovation hub in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. Scheduled to open by the end of 2024, the center aims to be a pioneering facility in the production of cultivated meat.
Objectives and Investment
The Biotech Innovation Centre is designed to produce cultivated meat efficiently, at scale, and at competitive prices. JBS plans to invest approximately $62 million in the center over three phases. The first phase involves a $22 million investment to establish laboratory facilities. The second phase will see the construction of a pilot plant, and the third phase will involve building an industrial-scale plant to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of cultivated meat.
Team and Leadership
JBS is assembling a scientific team comprising 25 highly qualified post-doctoral researchers, support staff, and clerical personnel to operate the future facilities. Leading the project are bioengineering specialists Dr. Luismar Marques Porto, the president of the cultivated meat division and the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre, and Fernanda Vieira Berti, the vice-president of the new center.
JBS is also a majority shareholder in BioTech Foods, a Spanish biotech company. BioTech Foods is operating a pilot plant and is in the process of building the world's largest cultivated meat plant, set to be completed by mid-2024. With a commercial-scale capacity, it aims to produce over 1,000 tons of cultivated protein annually, possibly increasing to 4,000 tons.
The cultivated meat sector is considered a promising market, and JBS aims to be one of its main players. When BioTech Foods reaches the commercial stage, it plans to launch products like hamburgers, sausages, and meatballs that offer the same quality, safety, flavor, and texture as traditional protein.
The JBS Biotech Innovation Centre represents a significant investment in the field of cultivated meat, both in terms of financial commitment and scientific manpower. While the project is ambitious, its success will depend on various factors, including technological advancements, market acceptance, and regulatory approvals. As such, it adds an interesting layer to the ongoing developments in the alternative protein sector.