Next Gen, a fresh young brand founded by Timo Recker of Germany’s LikeMeat and Andre Menezes of Country Foods Singapore, this February announced a seed round of $10M which was reportedly the largest ever seed round in the plant-based sector, for its vegan chicken brand TiNDLE.
“We are in the business of creating new food experiences”
Last month, the seed round was extended for a total raise of $20M as it prepared to launch into the USA, and truly create the next generation of plant meats for a new generation of consumers.
We spoke with Menezes, formerly COO and newly instated as CEO, about the young brand’s lofty ambitions for worldwide domination and what makes TiNDLE unique amongst an increasingly busy plant-based chicken space.
Can you tell us your elevator pitch?
We believe that you shouldn’t have to suffer to do good for the planet and that a great tasting ‘meat’ experience doesn’t need to involve animals, so we set out to make saving our planet a pleasure, not a pain. Since we know how to make delicious food without using animals, we created TINDLE™️, a mind-blowing, mouth-watering chicken experience made only from plants that satisfies even the most discerning chicken lover.
We are in the business of creating new food experiences; ones that allow chefs to express their creativity in ways traditional meats don’t allow and deliver moments to savour. Simply put, we’re hoping to help save our world one delicious bite at a time.
You recently extended your seed round, can you tell us a little about that?
The reception to TiNDLE and the company has been extremely positive. We extended our seed round to make a bigger leap in our journey of building a leading global plant-based foods company while accelerating our expansion plans.
“Simply put, we’re hoping to help save our world one delicious bite at a time.”
What does the company plan to use the extended funding for?
The funding will be used on R&D to keep developing great products and capabilities to accelerate our expansion even further, with more markets in APAC and Middle East, which is already happening, and market entry into the USA.
With many big players entering the plant-based chicken space, what differentiates TiNDLE?
Our very first product, TiNDLE Thy, is a super delicious chicken experience made entirely from plants, which delivers everything consumers crave about chicken —the bite, texture, and taste.
Our CTO John Seegers – who has over 25 years of experience in plant-based foods – consulted with professional chefs who provided input to TiNDLE’s development process from its taste profile and fiber integrity but, most valuably, how the product performs across culinary applications. We also developed a proprietary ingredient, Lipi™ that emulates the taste and aroma of traditional chicken fat and delivers the chicken taste consumers love.
We’re confident that TiNDLE is the only plant-based chicken that is versatile enough to be used across a multitude of cuisines and dishes. Furthermore, TiNDLE is made from only 9 simple non-GMO, non-Novel ingredients – made entirely from plants and has no “nasties” that typically come with chicken from birds like cholesterol or hormones. We are confident of being able to stand out from the existing brands in the US.
Can we expect a retail launch soon? If so, for which products?
We will begin with focusing on food services, enabling great chefs and restaurants in urban cities across the US to offer innovative, delicious and sustainable plant-based chicken dishes on their menus. With time, we will gradually evolve to other channels and will certainly be present in retail, too.
Will Next Gen Foods establish a manufacturing facility in the US?
We currently have a manufacturing facility in Europe (Netherlands), but in the long term, we plan to have production partners in the US, along with Europe, China and Brazil.
What are the major milestones moving forward?
Besides investing in our international expansion to the USA and other global foodie cities, we are focused on developing our technology even further, establishing a research and development center in Singapore.
Why is Singapore so central to alt protein investments and developments?
Despite its tiny size, Singapore has historically proven its ability to become a leading global hub for selected activities. It has done this across various industries, including pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, oil and gas, finance, banking, and transportation. Singapore is booming as a food tech hub, offering strong infrastructure that supports food tech innovations and has attracted key global multinational companies, research and development centers, and venture capitalists, cementing its hold as a powerful ecosystem.
As a multicultural city with great influence and global connections, being in Singapore positions TiNDLE to build a global business that can expand into other Asian markets, Europe and the United States.
Where do you see Next Gen in five years?
Our ambition for the next five years is to build on our highly scalable fundamentals and grow TiNDLE into a global leader in plant-based chicken with a presence in the United States, Europe and Asia. Once our business network is operating at scale, we will leverage our growth to introduce new exciting brands across other categories of plant-based foods.