JBS to open Brazil’s first cultivated protein research centre
One of the world’s largest meat processing companies JBS has announced it will be opening Brazil’s first cultivated protein research centre in late 2024.
In a landmark move, JBS has announced that it has commenced construction of Brazil’s first cultivated protein R&D innovation centre.
What’s more, it has claimed that the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre will be the largest food biotechnology research centre in Brazil, and is set to open at the end of 2024.
The Sapiens Parque innovation hub is being constructed in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, with JBS investing $22 million in the construction of lab facilities (phase one) and the pilot plant (phase two). The hub will have a scientific team of 25 specialist post-doctoral researchers, as well as staff and clerical support.
“As a global leader in protein production, it is our responsibility to be at the forefront of foodtech. 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,” said Jerson Nascimento Jr, JBS Global Supply and Innovation Director.
JBS has explained that the initial aim for the research centre is to make the production process for cultivated protein “more efficient, scalable and economically competitive”.
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, the project has the expertise of two of Brazil’s leading bioengineering specialists.
“We are delighted to be part of the first initiative of this size in Brazil and to be able to contribute to studies that will help expand the sector. We are confident this project will become an international benchmark,” said Dr Porto.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Santa Catarina, Jorginho Mello, highlighted that the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre reinforces the state’s innovation focus, explaining: “For those of us who grew up watching cattle graze from our windows in Herval D’Oeste, it’s almost out of this world to think of ‘cultivated protein’.
“But as a public representative it’s impossible not to see the future challenges, especially for countries that do not have as much land as Brazil to raise cattle. And it’s good to see Santa Catarina once again championing breakthrough innovation”.
The team of scientists have reportedly begun exploratory research to gain a better understanding beef cell cultivation, with an aim to establish cultivated beef protein production in the future.
JBS has estimated that, in total the JBS Biotech Innovation Centre will require approximately $62 million investment over three phases.
“When it reaches the commercial stage, JBS cultivated protein will initially reach consumers in the form of prepared foods, such as hamburgers, sausages, meatballs, among others, with the same quality, safety, flavour and texture as traditional protein. The technology has the potential to produce beef, as well as chicken, pork and fish,” explained JBS.