SÃO PAULO — Brazilian meatpacker JBS S.A. began construction on a $22 million project to build a research, development and innovation center for cultivated protein. The JBS Biotech Innovation Center, located in Florianópolis, Brazil, is set to be completed by the end of 2024.

“As a global leader in protein production, it is our responsibility to be at the forefront of the food industry,” said Jerson Nascimento Jr., global director of supply and innovation at JBS. “The JBS Biotech Innovation Center 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 and high-quality products to our consumers.”

The project, which will eventually require a total investment of $62 million, consists of three phases: the implementation of laboratories, a pilot plant and building a basic module on an industrial scale to demonstrate the viability of cultivated protein.

Personnel at the JBS Biotech Innovation Center will include a team of 25 postgraduates, doctors, specialists and administrative support staff. The center will first focus on making the production process of cultivated protein more efficient, scalable and economically competitive.

A team of scientists from the center has already begun research in temporary facilities while construction is underway.

JBS said once it reaches the commercial phase of cultivated meat, the company will deliver cultivated meat in the form of prepared foods, such as hamburgers, sausages and meatballs, “with the same quality, safety, flavor and texture as traditional protein.”