Working to unlock the Future of Protein, Beyond Meat announced plans to build a new 26,000-square-foot research and development center at its El Segundo, Calif., headquarters. The new facility will house more than 100 employees, and will be home to Beyond Meat’s Manhattan Beach Project, the company’s ongoing initiative to bring the best and brightest scientists, engineers, food technologists, chefs and researchers together to “perfectly build a piece of meat directly from plants.”

“The expansion of the Manhattan Beach Project here in Los Angeles reflects our belief that building meat from plants is an opportunity of global importance, one that is deserving of investment levels consistent with what you’d find in alternative energy or health sciences, sectors with which we certainly share common goals,” says Ethan Brown, founder and CEO. “We are seeing a record number of consumers expressing interest in a broader set of protein choices; to these consumers, it is our brand promise to enable them to eat what they love, from burgers to sausage, while feeling great about related health and environmental implications. The new center is designed to help us fulfill that promise to the best of our abilities.”

The center is seven times the size of the company’s existing facilities and will serve as the foundation of Beyond Meat’s commitment to innovation through accelerated experimentation, learnings and progress.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to perfectly build meat directly from plant materials, using only natural ingredients and without genetic modification. The breadth of processes and technologies we are bringing in-house supports the company’s focus on rapid innovation, in some cases reducing timelines by half,” says Dr. Dariush Ajami, research and development leader.