As it turns out, reinventing the way we buy and sell meat is no easy task. AgLocal gave it a good shot, but one year after pivoting from a ranch-to-restaurant marketplace model to a meat subscription service, the company has shut down.
“The reason we’re closing is a familiar story,” reads a statement on the company’s website. “We weren’t able to reach our goals of becoming a business that can operate in a self-sustaining manner. As such, all sales will be suspended immediately on our website.”
Founded in 2011, AgLocal initially tried to connect local meat producers directly to restaurant owners using mobile technology. It was an innovative stab at disrupting the inefficient production pipeline of the meat industry. But after two years, founder and CEO Naithan Jones realized that his company’s original model just wasn’t going to work.
“That was a model that wouldn’t scale effectively,” Jones told Fast Company at the time of the pivot. “Restaurant margins are thin, and because restaurants require credit to operate, we recently switched to this model.”
Rather than fold at that point, AgLocal decided to go straight to consumers: The startup launched a two-tier meat subscription service on the West Coast last April. For $85, carnivorous consumers could have five to seven pounds of sustainably raised meat delivered to their doors each month, or pay $150 for 10 to 12 pounds. Eventually, the company wanted to sell individual cuts directly to consumers, and even build their own storefronts.
Things obviously didn’t pan out that way. Despite its innovative model and the ease with which it attracted early press and investment dollars, ultimately AgLocal bit off more than it could chew, it seems.
We have reached out to the company for comment and will update if we hear back.JPT