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Brief: JBS to acquire cultivated meat company in $100m investment

November 18, 2021

  • Brazil’s JBS — the world’s largest meat processor — plans to acquire a majority stake in Spanish cultivated meat company BioTech Foods as part of a $100 million investment into the nascent sector, Reuters reports.
  • Of that total, $41 million will go towards construction of a manufacturing plant in Spain which could produce up to 1,000 tons of cultivated meat per year, according to Brazilian financial newspaper Valor.
  • Some of the capital will also be deployed to build an R&D center in Brazil focused on cell-cultured meat.

Why it matters:

The market entry of the world’s biggest meat processing and packing firm is a massive milestone for the cultivated meat industry, which has recently come under increased skepticism about its economic viability.

“When we enter a business, it is to have a leadership position,” JBS global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni told Valor.

In May, JBS agreed to acquire Netherlands plant-based protein brand Vivera in a deal worth €341 million ($409 million).

Several other ‘Big Meat’ companies have invested in plant-based protein startups, but have been slower in backing cultivated meat makers. Among those to have taken minority stakes in cell-cultured meat startups are BRF, Cargill, CJ CheilJedang, and Thai Union, which participated in in the $105 million Series B funding round that Israel’s Aleph Farms raised in July.

San Sebastian-based Biotech Foods develops products under the Ethicameat brand.

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