Opportunities exist to coordinate product development partnerships between ingredient suppliers, strategic partners, and product manufacturers to directly engage more holistically on product formulation.
Open-access blueprints would provide a head start on facility design and allow equipment manufacturers and engineering companies to address standard industry needs.
A systematic, open-access, comprehensive analysis of novel microbial strains could drastically expand the available strains that can compete on flavor, efficiency, cost, and nutrition.
Companies entering the alt protein space often struggle to secure line time at demonstration-scale and mid-scale commercial production facilities. Greater availability of mid-scale contract capacity would reduce capital outlays and facilitate scaling, allowing alt protein companies to maintain greater control over their equity and exercise more influence within the supply chain. Contracting production allows for a more modular supply chain, with participants achieving gains from specialization, allowing for better financial and organizational structuring around core competencies.
Resources and services that make it easier to locate, filter, and prioritize sales and partnership efforts would ease transactional burdens for startups and add value to existing companies looking for new partners, customers, and trends.
Intellectual property pools and patent pledges can help member companies contribute to a suite of patents that can be licensed within the pool.
It can be challenging and time-intensive for startups and researchers to find funders that are interested in their technology area, technological maturity level, fundraising stage, location, type of funding sought, and other factors. Lists of investors, lenders, and grant-making institutions with specific information on interest areas and point of contact can significantly reduce friction in fundraising. Likewise, it can be difficult for funders to find out about these opportunities, so centralized listings of all companies and researchers actively seeking funding can facilitate deal flow.
The success of early-days products has demonstrated strong consumer interest, but investment is needed to enable alternative protein supply chain companies to build out the infrastructure needed to capitalize on this opportunity. In particular, there is a need for debt-based financing that can be structured to support large infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure leasing for production and processing facilities as well as capital equipment would enable alternative protein companies to rapidly expand capacity without large upfront capital investments. Having leasing funds and leasing companies with an alternative protein focus could entice corporate players who otherwise would not have considered alternative proteins to enter the space. They could also spare many smaller alternative protein startups from undertaking relatively expensive, equity-backed capital raises early in their expansion.
The alternative protein industry has a significant need for workers and innovators with specialized knowledge spanning multiple traditional disciplines. However, since few universities offer alternative protein majors or dedicated subject matter, most alternative protein knowledge has to be learned on the job. The alternative protein industry needs educational programming that can cover the depth and complexity of knowledge, experience, and skills required within the context of traditional academic institutions as well as post-graduate professional development and training opportunities.