LONDON – JBS SA confirmed that it became the majority shareholder of BioTech Foods SL, a Spanish cultivated meat company. 

BioTech Foods started in 2017 and operated its first plant out of San Sebastián, Spain. The company is moving toward commercial production of cultivated protein by mid-2024, with the construction of a 1,000 tons per year manufacturing unit. JBS estimated the new facility investment at $40 million. 

The multinational meat company also announced that it chose Florianópolis, one of Brazil’s technology hubs, as the base for its new JBS Biotech Innovation Canter. 

JBS is also committing $60 million over four years to fund research and build specialized laboratories on the Sapiens Technology Park site. The new laboratories are expected to occupy an initial area of more than 100,000 square feet with the possibility of expansion for future JBS biotechnology projects.

“This is by far the largest investment by a Brazilian company in the cultivated protein sector and reinforces our innovation strategy to adapt to consumer trends and feed the growing global population,” said Eduardo Noronha, global head of Innovation and Operational Excellence at JBS.  “The new JBS Biotech Innovation Center puts us in a unique position to lead this segment.”

The new RD&I Center is expected to generate more than 100 direct jobs, including 25 highly skilled specialist PhD positions for the cultivated protein research project. The project will be led by leading bioengineering experts Luismar Marques Porto, president of the JBS Biotech Innovation Center, and Fernanda Vieira Berti, vice president of the RD&I Center.

“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,” Noronha said. “As cultivated protein technology has now reached a level of maturity, this investment reflects our ambition to make it even more accessible. BioTech Foods will focus on making cultivated protein for onward processing in prepared foods such as hamburgers, sausages and meatballs.”