The Spanish government is funding a new project in the emerging area of cell-based protein.

Biotech Foods, a firm based in San Sebastián in the north west of the country, is leading the scheme, which has attracted EUR3.7m (US$4.5m) of government funding.

The company, is developing alternatives to beef and pork, is the only cell-based firm involved in the project, in which Spanish meat processors Argal and Martínez Somalo are also taking part.

Iñigo Charola, Biotech Foods' CEO, said the company had started pilot production but, asked when the company was hoping to launch its first product, he said: "We are working to bring our products to the market in the near term. Based on the successful launch of cultivated meat in Singapore we think cultivated meat will be part of our diets in many other countries sooner than expected."

Last month, Singapore gave the all-clear for meat created in a laboratory to be sold in the market by approving cultivated meat products made by US firm Eat Just.

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By GlobalData

Charola indicated Biotech Foods had ambitions to market its products outside Spain but acknowledged the challenges facing the business. "We think alternative proteins is a movement that affects many regions and BioTech Foods aims to commercialise its products globally," he told just-food. "Product launch is our main priority at this moment and, as in most cases in the cultivated-meat industry, regulation and industrial scale production are the key challenges."