Pilgrim’s Pride and Moy Park owner JBS has begun building the world’s largest cultivated beef protein plant in San Sebastián, Spain.
The Brazilian protein giant has invested $41m in the first commercial-scale industrial plant of BioTech Foods, which is expected to be completed in mid-2024.
The investment is expected to help accelerate the development of the cultivated protein market globally. When completed, the plant will be able to provide over 1,000 tonnes per year, with the potential to reach 4,000 tonnes per year in the medium-term.
The cultivated protein created at the plant will reach consumers in the form of prepared foods such as hamburgers, steaks, sausages and meatballs.
“As the largest protein producer in the world, it is our responsibility to be at the forefront of any initiatives at the intersection of food and technology,” said Eduardo Noronha, JBS US’s head of value-added business. “The new BioTech plant puts JBS in a unique position to lead the segment and ride this wave of innovation.”
JBS is a majority stakeholder of BioTech Foods, a European leader in the cultivated protein sector, with a 53% ownership stake. BioTech Foods already has a pilot plant in San Sebastián and is planning on increasing production capacity to address growing consumer demands across the world.
“BioTech Foods has the technology and capacity to produce protein on a large scale in a sustainable and innovative manner, addressing commercial needs around the world. Given the challenges imposed on global supply chains, cultivated protein has the potential to stabilise food security and global protein production,” said Iñigo Charola, co-founder and CEO of BioTech Foods.
The new plant will be built on a 20,000 sq m plot of land, which will enable the facilities to expand and adapt. It will also be equipped with the latest technology and create around 150 new jobs, including for research and development professionals.
JBS is also going to construct a biotechnology and cultivated protein R&D centre in Santa Catarina in the southern region of Brazil, which will receive an estimated $60m investment to develop 100% Brazilian cutting-edge technology to produce alternative proteins.