Believer Meats, formerly known as Future Meat Technologies, broke ground today (Dec. 7) on its first U.S. commercial facility, in Wilson County, N.C. The Israeli company claims the 200,000-sq.-ft. facility will be the largest cultivated meat production center in the world and carries a planned investment of $123.35 million.
"Our brand has continually proven our commitment to scale production technology and capacity, and with our new U.S. production center we are one step closer to commercialization,” says CEO Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, a veteran of meat companies OSI Group and Cargill.
The groundbreaking comes less than a month after Upside Foods – also with a former name, Memphis Meats – became the first company to receive initial FDA approval for its process of growing cultured chicken. Believer Meats apparently has no regulatory approvals yet but presumably has applied to FDA and USDA.
The company says it explored several manufacturing corridors in eastern North Carolina. Wilson County is approximately 40 miles east of Raleigh. One of the speakers hinted at government incentives from North Carolina and Wilson County.
The facility will utilize proprietary, custom-made bioreactors that can achieve high cell densities and yield based on patented processes. In addition, the facility will feature an R&D and innovation center, a contemporary kitchen to host tastings, offices and conference room spaces.