The manufacturing capacity for rapid and cost-effective scale-up of alternative protein production is a current constraint on the growth of the industry. Repurposing and retrofitting stranded or underutilized assets such as shuttered bioethanol plants can help mitigate some of the financial hurdles and shorten the amount of time required for companies to expand production.
Many alternative protein companies are interested in exporting their products or ingredients, and this is matched by interest from businesses in many countries eager to import exciting products. But import/export is a complex endeavor with many legal, logistical, and administrative challenges. There are many opportunities for brokers, directories, legal firms, and service providers to facilitate global trade in alternative proteins, including consulting services on regulatory compliance, facilitating introductions to in-country distribution partners, and aggregating listings of government support programs and trade contacts.
Brands, dedicated private labelers, and co-manufacturers can take advantage of the private labeling opportunity, and would benefit from developing a wide range of products to fit every category and access to R&D to meet unique needs of customers.
Opportunity exists for a broker, marketplace, directory, or other exchange platform to facilitate B2B sales of plant-based foods as ingredients to manufacturers of frozen and prepared foods.
Intellectual property pools and patent pledges can help member companies contribute to a suite of patents that can be licensed within the pool.
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.
An alternative protein data lake could contain anonymized data from processing runs across many manufacturers, informing processing improvements and aiding process failure troubleshooting.
Given the strong and persistent growth in alternative protein production, the industry has a pressing need for a trained workforce. Technical colleges should establish programs to help train the next generation of alternative protein workforces and build a talent pipeline for the industry.
Many alternative protein companies use similar inputs, but individually lack the purchasing power to negotiate favorable contract terms. A pooled procurement/group purchasing mechanism for ingredients, inputs (growth factors, media, etc.), and feedstocks would help reduce costs and increase industry leverage.
Tailored resources in the form of events, courses, thought leadership, directories, consulting services, and training programs for alternative protein B2B sales people.