JBS enters cultivated protein market with acquisition of BioTech Foods
JBS has agreed to acquire control of Spanish company BioTech Foods, build a new production plant in Spain and create Brazil’s first cultivated protein research and development centre with a total investment of $100 million.
The deal, which will see JBS become the majority shareholder of BioTech Foods, marks the meat giant’s entry into the cultivated protein market.
Founded in 2017, BioTech Foods operates a pilot plant in San Sebastian. With the building of the new facility – at an estimated cost of $41 million – the company expects to reach commercial production in mid-2024.
The cultivated protein products will be prepared foods, such as hamburgers, steaks, sausage meats and meatballs with, the company said, ‘the same quality, safety, taste and texture as traditional protein.’ JBS stated that the technology has the potential not only for production of beef protein, but also chicken, pork and fish.
“This acquisition strengthens our strategy of innovation, from how we develop new products to how we commercialise them, to address the growing global demand for food,” said Gilberto Tomazoni, global CEO of JBS.
“Combining technological know-how with our production capacity, we will be in a position to accelerate the development of the cultivated protein market.”
“New trends in consumption”
The work in Europe will be supplemented by the cultivated protein research centre in Brazil. Due to be inaugurated in 2022, the second phase of the centre will include a 10,000 square metre plant.
Headed by Luismar Marques Porto and Fernanda Vieira Berti, both Ph.D in chemical engineering, the project will employ around 25 researchers.
“We are expanding our global platform to address the new trends in consumption and the growth of the global population,” Tomazoni said. “The acquisition of BioTech Foods and the new research centre put JBS in a unique position to push ahead in the cultivated protein sector.”