We should temper our expectations for alternate meat, says Grey Silo Ventures

For years now, people – myself included – have been waiting for the advent, in earnest, of plant-based meats. Everyone loves a barbeque, but not the meat industry’s effect on the environment, our health, or the treatment of animals themselves. Alternatives have been coming to the shelf for years now, but the same problems persist – the taste is not quite the same as real meat, and the price is far too high to really compete.

Today I speak to Giacomo Fanin, managing partner of Grey Silo Ventures, the corporate VC arm of family-owned Italian grain processing company Cereal Docks, which has a portfolio that heavily features startups working on alternate meat and protein. Fanin describes how the barriers that have been holding alternate meats back competitively, not only persist, but have in fact been excacerbated by inflation despite the enthusiasm for them. He talks about the gap between the sophistication of the technology being developed and the capacity to actually scale its production, leading to lacklustre sales in recent years that have undershot expectations, which in turn have quieted investment in the B2C alternate meats sector.

He also talks about how founding the CVC arm will position Cereal Docks in its industry, and how he sees open innovation as a route to strengthen the company, the founding family of which he is a second-generation member, for years to come.

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