WILSON, N.C., and REHOVOT, Israel — Believer Meats, a leading pioneer of the cultivated meat industry, officially broke ground Wednesday on its first U.S. commercial facility in Wilson, North Carolina.
Once operational, the 200,000-square-foot facility will be the largest cultivated meat production center in the world with the capacity to produce at least 10,000 metric tons of cultivated meat, without the need to slaughter a single animal. This is a watershed moment for the cultivated meat industry that will allow Believer Meats to meet growing demand for decades to come.
"Our facility propels Believer forward as a leader in the cultivated meat industry," says Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, CEO of Believer Meats. "Our brand has continually proven our commitment to scale production technology and capacity, and with our new U.S. production center, we are one step closer to commercialization. Believer is setting the standard globally to make it possible for future generations to eat and enjoy meat."
The company explored several well-established manufacturing corridors in eastern North Carolina because of its highly qualified talent pool and the region's success in integrating technology-driven solutions to improve the lives of residents, which aligns with the company's mission.
"We're pleased to welcome Believer Meats to North Carolina," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. "This important decision to build its first U.S. commercialization operation in Wilson County validates our innovative research and development and highly skilled talent while further cementing our state as the best in the nation to do business."
Believer is making an initial planned investment of $123.35 million in Wilson County, located approximately 40 miles east of Raleigh, and includes plans to create over 100 new jobs over the next three years. The facility will utilize proprietary, custom-made bioreactors that can achieve high cell densities and yield based on patented processes. In addition, the state-of-the-art facility will feature an R&D and innovation center, a contemporary kitchen to host tastings, as well as offices and conference room spaces.
"We celebrate this milestone and are thrilled to see the North Carolina and Wilson County officials and community providing critically important support to scale cultivated meat production. These steps pave the way for cultivated meat to come to market in the U.S. at scale and helps ensure as many consumers as possible have access to these groundbreaking products," says Liz Specht, Ph.D., vice president of science and technology at the Good Food Institute. "Further government investment like this will advance the sector toward commercialization, helping to feed a growing population more sustainably, spurring economic growth, and improving environmental and global health outcomes."
The facility's groundbreaking is the latest in a series of developments as BELIEVER prepares to bring its products to consumers, including its recent rebrand from Future Meat Technologies to Believer Meats, its R&D breakthrough with cultivating lamb, and the creation of a global leadership team, to name a few.
"Today's announcement is another example of the growth, progress and increased interest in this cutting-edge industry," says Robert Rankin, executive director of the Association for Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Innovation. "Members of AMPS Innovation look forward to continued advancements in this industry to support commercialization of cultivated meat, poultry and seafood."
"The future of food starts with what we do today, and we are on the path to creating the change we seek," said Johnson-Hoffman. "Through affordability, approachability, and availability, we want our products to become the meat of choice globally, and with the announcement of our new production facility, we are well on our way."