Believer Meats, Bezos Earth Fund, and NC State Partner on Sustainable Protein Center

Believer Meats, a leader in the cultivated meat industry, has announced a new partnership with the Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein at North Carolina State University (NC State). Funded by a $30 million award from the Bezos Earth Fund, the center is dedicated to advancing alternative protein production and commercialization to address the global protein supply gap anticipated in the coming decades.

“At Believer Meats, our mission is to ensure future generations can enjoy meat. We’re achieving this not just through product development, but by focusing on the core fundamentals for a sustainable business,” said Gustavo Burger, CEO of Believer Meats. “The Bezos Earth Fund grant underscores the significant work happening in North Carolina and validates our decision to locate here. We’re eager to collaborate with the center to provide innovative solutions to meet the growing demand for protein and nutrition.”

The Bezos Earth Fund’s investment bolsters North Carolina’s status as a burgeoning leader in the alternative protein sector. This is highlighted by Believer Meats’ groundbreaking commercial-scale production facility in Wilson, N.C., set to be operational by the end of 2024. Once fully operational, the factory will produce over 26 million pounds of cultivated meat annually. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility, featuring an innovation center and tasting kitchen, will create up to 100 new jobs in food production, food science, and related fields.

“Innovation alone cannot address our future global nutrition needs. We must ensure that these innovations reach the market,” said Andy Jarvis, Director of the Future of Food at The Bezos Earth Fund. “With NC State and industry partners like Believer Meats, we see a pathway to bring outstanding products from discovery to commercialization. We’re thrilled to partner with them to foster a future rich with nutritious and sustainable proteins.”

The Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein at NC State will bring together academia, industry, chefs, and policymakers to develop and commercialize advanced protein manufacturing, including cultivated meat, plant-based products, and precision fermentation. This center will be part of an international network of alternative protein centers supported by the Bezos Earth Fund’s Future of Food program.

“Creating alternative protein products that are delicious, appealing, and affordable is crucial to meeting future food supply demands,” said Bill Aimutis, Executive Director of the NC Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) and co-director of the new center. “Our partnership with Believer Meats offers a unique opportunity to diversify our food supply and supplement animal proteins, providing consumers with more choices.”

The center will build on North Carolina’s rich history in agriculture and bioscience innovation, supported by its favorable business environment.

“The Research Triangle’s rise as a life science hub was driven by the vision of our business and political leaders,” said Ryan Combs, Executive Director of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. “The growth of the alternative protein ecosystem is a natural extension that leverages similar talent pools. It complements our state’s agricultural tradition and positions us as a leader in the alternative protein industry.”

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