In a previous newsletter, I addressed some misconceptions about timing market entrance for innovations.
One of the many misconceptions being that you must be the first to enter the market to lead the charge (wrong, pioneers have arrows in the back, and strategic second or third entrants do notably better).
This key idea is mostly illustrated by Gartner's Hype Cycle. First, a burst of fear of missing out and unrealistic expectations fuel a bubble of hype, eventually deflating (brutally). And then, later, slow but steady access to productive outputs.
In 2023, this full picture is still not well understood. Pundits, journalists, executives, and way too many analysts for my taste, keep reading innovation markets as a simple "grow or bust" monophase cycle. Grow, grow, grow, and then explosive growth (or it failed). The dual-phase nature of this cycle seems unacceptable – maybe because it never complies with the business plan of early movers?
In any case, a current example of this misunderstanding is the current alternative meat market. Whether we discuss plant-based or lab-grown meat, there is a significant deflation in interest.
Plant-based meat has already been in the market for quite a few years and doesn't seem to take off as expected. By ricochet, lab-grown meat that is mostly not yet regulatory approved is also being questioned as a viable market change.
We could discuss this at length. Maybe one of the plant-based meat leaders is not managed as well as expected, thus coloring the whole ecosystem poorly. Or maybe, as with so many innovations, the transformative power lies outside the targeted market...
In any case, if the foodtech market enters a slump, prepared innovators and investors know that it's a positive signal, as this thought of disillusionment precedes the slopes of enlightenment.
Being prepared and already investing in the next wave of entrants is key. The underlying problem of our food consumption habits is going nowhere anytime soon...