JBS announced an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Spanish company, BioTech Foods, which marks the Brazilian animal protein giant entering into cultivated protein market.
The concept of cultivated meat refers to meat made from animal cells and without slaughtering. The operation includes a US$ 41 million investment in order to build a new facility unit in Spain to scale up productions. JBS states the cultivated protein will reach shelves in products such as hamburgers, sausages and meatballs, for example. The company says that the technology “aims not only at beef production, but also chicken, pork and fish”.
The brand belongs to the J&F group, which owns Seara, a major player in the pig and poultry world market. In a statement to the market, JBS informed that the deal needs to be ratified by Spanish foreign investment authority, among other usual conditions.
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The company also invested US$ 59 million in the first R&D Center in Food and Protein Biotechnology in Brazil. This facility is set to open in 2022 and aims to develop new techniques for cultivated meat. The main goal is to accelerate scale gains and reduce production costs of these products, forwarding its commercialisation. In total, JBS will allocate US$ 100 million for both initiatives, which “are in line withthe company’s expanding strategy” regarding new producing processes, “in attendance to consumption trends and expected population growth in the next few decades”.
BioTech Foods works on biotechnology for cultivated protein, with the support of the Spanish government and the European Union. The company operates a pilot plant in San Sebastián city in País Basco. The forecast is that their products will be commercially available by 2024.