Meat alternative company Beyond Meat has opened a new 26,000 square-foot research and development centre at the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles.

Beyond Meat announced that it would build the facility earlier this year, and the new centre will be the home of the company’s Manhatten Beach Project, which aims to develop meat alternative products made directly from plants, which are “indistinguishable from their animal protein equivalent.”

The new facility is seven times the size of Beyond Meat’s existing research facility and will contain eight labs, including a sensory lab which will be used for real-time consumer testing and feedback.

A test kitchen will also be included at the site, and the area will host chefs and culinary experts who can experiment and test Beyond Meat products on-site.

Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat CEO and founder said: “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.

“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.