Infrastructure, not technology, is now the biggest barrier to the adoption of altprotein and other next generation food products. While global funding for startups in alternative proteins and other products is still growing in regions like APAC, overall funding is well down. But even harder to get is infrastructure funding for commercially unproven technologies. That’s what Superbrewed Food has found out.
As founder Bryan Tracy so succinctly puts it “banks don’t give you loans on yet-to-be-proven technology”. And neither will most VC’s. As specialist financers like Synonym say “Many companies feel like they should be able to raise infrastructure funds with a venture capital-like risk profile and these things don’t work.” Traditionally food investments are at the low end of returns on investment and this attracts a different class of investor. But the big advantage of food investments is that people will always need to eat and drink! Even more so with a growing global population and rising middle class.
So, who will fund the infrastructure to enable the adoption of altprotein and other new technologies? Large CPG companies, Mega-VC’s, specialist financers, Governments? Do we need to create mega-fund versions of something like the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa?
There’s no one right answer but with trillions of USD required it’s no small task.