Jbs Cellular

JBS Starts Work on Brazil's First Cultivated Protein Research Center

Oct. 6, 2023
The Brazilian meat company will invest $22 million now, $62 million in total, to construct lab facilities, a pilot plant and eventually commercial production.

JBS S.A. in late September began construction on a cultivated protein R&D center in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. When it opens at the end of 2024, it will be the largest research facility focused on food biotechnology in Brazil, the company says.

The world’s largest meat processor initially will invest US$22 million in the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre for the construction of lab facilities (phase 1) and a pilot plant (phase 2). It will have a scientific team of 25 specialist post-doctoral researchers, as well as staff and clerical support.

In total, the facility is budgeted for $62 million over three phases. In the third stage, an industrial scale model will be built to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of cultivated protein, a model for future plants that JBS may build globally to produce beef and other cultivated protein types.

The initial aim of the facility is to make the production process for cultivated protein more efficient, scalable and economically competitive. When the plant reaches the commercial stage, the resulting cultivated protein initially will reach consumers in the form of prepared foods, such as hamburgers, sausages, meatballs, among other forms. The technology has the potential to produce beef, as well as chicken, pork and fish.

"As a global leader in protein production, it is our responsibility to be at the forefront of foodtech," said Jerson Nascimento Jr., JBS’ Global Supply and Innovation Director. “The JBS Biotech Innovation Centre reinforces our commitment to the cultivated protein sector, consolidates our position as one of the main players in this very promising market, and reinforces our commitment to offering innovative, high-quality products to our consumers.”

The project is being led by Dr Luismar Marques Porto, president of the company’s Cultivated Meat Division and the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre, and Fernanda Vieira Berti, vice president of the Research Centre -- two of Brazil’s leading bioengineering specialists, the company claims, with extensive international professional and academic experience.

JBS’ research into cultivated meats has been underway for some time. The team of scientists who will locate at the center already are at work in temporary facilities nearby. In addition, JBS is the controlling shareholder (with a 51% stake) of Biotech Foods, a Spanish cultivated meat company operating a pilot plant in San Sebastián and building what it claims will be the world's largest cultivated beef plant, also in San Sebastián. With an investment of $41 million, that commercial-scale plant is scheduled for completion in mid-2024.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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