Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Governor Cooper Announces Food Tech Company to Build First Large-Scale Production Facility with $123 Million Investment in Wilson

Raleigh, N.C.
Dec 7, 2022

Future Meat Technologies Inc. d/b/a Believer Meats, a cultivated meat company, will create up to 100 new jobs in Wilson County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will make an initial investment of more than $123 million to establish its first commercial-scale food manufacturing facility in Wilson. 

“We’re pleased to welcome Believer Meats to North Carolina,” said Governor 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 Meats is a cultivated meat company pioneering the first scalable lab-grown meat production system that can feed the world. Founded in 2018 by Professor Yaakov Nahmias, Believer has been perfecting its process, technology and engineering out of its pilot plant in Rehovot, Israel, and is now prepared to scale up production as the company accelerates towards product launch in the U.S., pending regulatory review. The new facility will be in the Wilson Corporate Park.

“Believer is on a mission to ensure that future generations can enjoy the meat we know and love today. Breaking ground on our first U.S. facility is not only a watershed moment for our company, but for the category as a whole, as it demonstrates our commitment to making cultivated meat a reality,” said Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, CEO of Believer Meats. “The scale of our facility is a giant leap forward in ensuring that we can create meat that is not only delicious, sustainable, and nutritious, but also broadly accessible.”

“Believer Meats will strengthen our growing innovation economy with its advanced technology,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “North Carolina’s leadership in agribusiness and biotechnology, combined with the largest and most diverse manufacturing workforce in the southeastern United States, will help the company meet the future food demands of a growing global population.”

Although the salaries for the new jobs will vary for the positions which include opportunities for PhDs, scientists, food production professionals, and other personnel. The average annual salary will be $60,087, exceeding Wilson County’s current average wage of $47,863. The new jobs will create an annual payroll impact of more than $6 million.

A performance-based grant of $500,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with Believer Meats’ location to North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require matching participation from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“This is a fantastic economic development win for Wilson and the entire state,” said N.C. Senator Milton F. Toby Fitch, Jr. “Believer Meats could have taken this project anywhere in the world, but they chose Wilson County thanks to the diligent work and collaboration of our hardworking economic development professionals and local and state leaders.”

“These new jobs and multimillion-dollar investment are welcomed additions to eastern North Carolina,” said N.C. Representative Linda Cooper-Suggs. “Believer is at the intersection of biotechnology and agriculture, and we are confident that they will find global success here in our community.”

Joining the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were key partners in the project that included the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Food Innovation Lab, North Carolina Community College System, Wilson Community College, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Wilson County, Wilson Economic Development Council and the City of Wilson.


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