GlassWall Syndicate’s Macy Marriott and Material Innovations Initiative’s Elaine Siu Discuss New Collaboration

Macy Marriott of the GlassWall Syndicate and Elaine Siu of Material Innovations Initiative join Elysabeth Alfano on The Plantbased Business Hour to discuss if Alt Materials will be as

strong as Alt Protein in the marketplace. Hear about the latest investments and innovations in the next big sector.

Specifically, they discuss,

  1. What is The GlassWall Syndicate and Materials Innovations Initiative and why are they working together?
  2. Will alt-materials track alt proteins?
  3. What materials are they seeing? Is it mostly in fashion and cosmetics?
  4. What kind of investing are they seeing in alt materials?
  5. What kind of interest do investors have?
  6. What are the consumer perceptions of alt materials?
  7. What are their predictions for the value of the alt materials market and who will be the big winners in the space?

A short clip and transcript from their conversation is below. The full interview is here. Podcast is here.

Click here to display content from YouTube.

Learn more in YouTube’s privacy policy.

Elysabeth: Is the materials industry getting the memo like the food industry is that they better start innovating for a different kind of future because their supply chain is going away? Is any of that impacting this?

Elaine Siu: That’s a big question but I think it is from the consumers, as well as, yes, maybe some impact on the supply chain as well, but I think it is really seeing that this is what consumers are asking for. And it doesn’t take a genius to make that leap, right? When everyone is kind of looking at a plant-based burger and then that shifts into thinking, “What about leather?”  The whys are all the same. The whys of why we need to switch to a plant-based burger are all the same. It’s the same animals being raised the same way. The products that come out of that might go into different streams into different industries, as you said, but all the reasons why the environmental impacts, animal welfare impacts- all those things happen in the same way. So, I think it is the realization that something has to change and if something has to change in one industry, what about that other industry? That is also being supplied all these raw materials from the animal agriculture industry. So, I think it is just a logical development that it would spread into other industries.

MII materials collage

Elysabeth: I love that you say this, that it’s consumer-driven and that consumers, at least from your advantage point, are moving beyond food and saying, “Oh no, this is actually a lifestyle choice for me” because once you make the leap from the burger to “I really don’t want animal leather in my car. I don’t want to sit there with animal leather all day or on my couch or feathers in my couch, etc.” you start to think it’s a holistic way of living or let’s say of even seeing the world. And so, I’m back to Macy at GlassWall Syndicate about the kind of impact you can have through investing and through innovation. So, we as people who believe in the free market who like to see capitalism take its toll, this is very exciting to see what kind of impact we can make for world standards through our spending. It’s very exciting.

Macy Marriott: Yeah, absolutely, and you know it’s one of those things where if you went to an alt protein conference any time in the last five years, I guarantee one of the panels said those buzz words: price, taste, convenience. You hear price, taste, convenience all the time. But I think that’s similar to what Elaine is saying here. We’re seeing that same kind of trend from consumers, again referencing this report that MII put together, but I remember reading about those consumers that were still preferencing a preferred animal-based leather over alternative leathers and it really talked about how there was an association with animal-based leather being higher quality, the performance was better, all of those things. But these companies, they’re working on great products and great performance.


They’re working on scaling. They’re working on the price point. So, at the end of the day, we expect consumers, especially the younger generation-we’ve got millennials and Gen Z that care about these things. They care about sustainability. They care about animal welfare.  So, if we can compete on those things, then we’re that much closer. So, if investors can fund those early rounds to be able to give them the capital that they need for the R&D to get there, I think it’s really exciting for us.

Elysabeth: Yeah, I would agree that five years ago people thought, “Oh well, animal leather’s going to be better, it’s going to be the higher end, it’s going to have more luxury, it’s going to be more durable” and I see that really shifting. People are saying “I really don’t want to be associated with the things that polluting the planet and maybe not aligning with my lifestyle” so I see that shift.



Subscribe for the vegconomist-newsletter and regularly receive the most important news from the vegan business world.