Beyond Meat opened the doors of a new 26,000-square-foot research and development center at the company’s El Segundo, Calif., headquarters. The new facility, which houses nearly 100 employees, is the new home to Beyond Meat’s Manhattan Beach Project, which is designed to bring together the world’s best scientists, engineers, food technologists, chefs and managers to build meat directly from plants.

Seven times the size of its existing facility, the Innovation Center supports the company’s Rapid & Relentless Innovation initiative, the goal of which is to continuously iterate the company’s products until they are indistinguishable from their animal protein equivalent.

“The use of science and technology to build meat directly from plants, coupled with a commitment to all natural and non-GMO ingredients, is the core of our company. At Beyond Meat, we strive to understand meat at new levels, and then rebuild it using amino acids, lipids and minerals from plants. What the animal has done throughout history—organize plant material in the form of muscle or meat—we believe we can do more efficiently to the benefit of human health, the environment and animal welfare,” says Ethan Brown, founder and CEO. “The path to the perfect build of meat from plants is both long and steep, but with every iteration, we are getting closer and closer. I am so pleased to join our special group of scientists, engineers, chefs and managers in announcing the opening of our new state-of-the-art innovation center.”

The new facility is broken into eight distinct labs and footprints, with an emphasis on consumer engagement and learnings.

“The new home to the Manhattan Beach Project allows us to reimagine the use of existing technologies for a better understanding of the complexity of meat,” says Dr. Dariush Ajami, vice president of research and development. “The Innovation Center gives us a leg up as we apply this knowledge in our efforts to perfectly build meat directly from plant materials, using only natural ingredients and without genetic modification.”

The new facility also features a test kitchen to host chefs and culinary experts. The kitchen offers a gourmet-style space where chefs can experiment and test Beyond Meat products and new innovations.

The continued growth of the Manhattan Beach Project will create close to 50 new jobs over the next year.