Animal AgTech D2C Funding

Can grass fed beef scale in the USA? ButcherBox CEO & founder, Mike Salguero, paints a vision for it.

ButcherBox CEO & founder, Mike Salguero, paints a vision for a robust grass fed cattle feeding segment in the US including the challenges that must be overcome first.

 

I am thrilled to share a conversation with Mike Salguero, founder & CEO of ButcherBox. If you’ve read Prime Future for more than a minute, you know I’m bullish on business models that leverage tech and reorganize supply chains in ways that create more value for producers (on one end) and consumers (the other end).

Enter ButcherBox.

ButcherBox was started in 2015 to “ship meat in the mail” with a focus on meat with claims that vary by protein. In the beef category, the company intended to sell grass fed beef which meant sourcing from Australia/New Zealand. But as their business matures, ButcherBox is looking to source grass fed beef in the US…a segment that does not currently exist at scale. There are several oft quoted “reasons this won’t work” that have to be eliminated in order for the US to develop a robust grass fed segment from genetics to pasture management to processing. It will take creativity, technology, incentive alignment, and a lot of time in front of the white board to figure out grass fed beef in the US but where there’s a market, there’s a way.

Mike is a tech entrepreneur turned meat industry believer who is building a brand for the long haul, as in 100-year-time-horizon. This is all the more interesting given Mike’s surprise when he started exploring the meat category that there (really) are no brands in meat, especially as retailers have dialed up private label offerings. But one segment’s miss is another segment’s opportunity, and here we are seeing how business model innovation can create value. Delicious.

I hope you enjoy Mike’s insights as much as I did. A few time points in time to highlight:

  • 7:30 minutes – Why the only early outside capital into ButcherBox was via a Kickstarter campaign, instead of the traditional venture capital model.
  • 14 minutes – Mike talks about some of the messy early challenges of getting ButcherBox off the ground.
  • 24 minutes – The 2 reasons ButcherBox customers are customers? Mike says its split between convenience (easy order, get a box the next day) and access (to meat with specific claims).
  • 31 minutes – Mike talks about the future of ButcherBox which has implications for retail (how consumers purchase meat) and livestock/meat value chain as they look at how to source grass fed beef, at scale, in the US.

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