How AgLocal Wants to Change the Meat Industry
It’s not too difficult to find locally grown fruits and vegetables in most markets — but start searching for beef, chicken or pork and your food’s origins become a lot more murky. That’s what the Kansas City-based startup AgLocal aims to change.
The mobile-based app functions as a network to benefit three sides of the carnivorous human food chain. Consumers will be able to browse for local farms to order meat, which independent distributors will deliver to grocery stores, where individual buyers will claim their order.
Farmers won’t be forced into the false choice between scaling up to provide for huge conglomerates such as Monsanto, or the inefficient farmers’ market route. Distributors will be connected to their markets and not have to work with huge competitors that hurt their margins. Consumers will know where their meat comes from and have more transparent freedom of choice.
AgLocal co-founder and CEO Naithan Jones, who comes from a family of chefs and farmers, says the startup’s concept came from his own frustration as a meat-loving, health-conscious consumer.
“I’m always so conscious about what I put in my body,” he told Mashable earlier this year. “There are a lot of services out there for vegetarians and vegans, but not for meat eaters.”
Pitching the company to potential investors and other entrepreneurs Wednesday in San Francisco at the startup accelerator NewMe‘s demo day, Jones described his ambition to “change the way meat is bought and sold all over the world” for a marketplace wallowing behind the broader curve of innovation.
The $200 billion global meat business, he said, is an “antiquated, old industry powered by just a few corporate partners that have consolidated power and cut you out of the loop, which has created this problem of sustainability.”
But the company will need to make money to do that. How? Jones says AgLocal will charge wholesale fees when distributors buy from farms and farms from distributors.
AgLocal is currently wrapping up the 12-week NewMe program, where co-founder Jacob McDaniel says it made important connections, learned from mentors and fine-tuned its business strategy. McDaniel declined to provide funding numbers but says the company has had no trouble attracting buzz and interested investors.
A small group of consumers, probably in the San Francisco and New York City areas, will be able to order meat from farmers in an alpha launch within a few months, and McDaniels says AgLocal plans to expand to about 30 major American cities in the next one to two years. Eventually, however, the goal is to connect meat eaters and farmers worldwide.
Is AgLocal a service you would use? Do you think it can change the meat industry and become a success in the process? Let us know in the comments.
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