How does one of the most exciting upstarts of The Great Food Systems Shift see the future for alt protein and sustainable food consumption? Andre Menezes of TiNDLE Foods, Next Gen Foods and Elysabeth Alfano take a deep dive into how 2022 went down and their visions for the last half of 2023.
They also discuss the disruption of the chicken market on The Plantbased Business Hour.
Specifically, they discuss
- How celebrity chefs can help drive a foodservice business model by elevating the food and educating the consumer,
- Why the chicken market will be disrupted,
- The health risks of chicken,
- The importance of a scale-up plan and slowing growth for a long runway,
- Plus, their big $100M raise.
Below is a short clip and transcript from their conversation. Podcast here.
Elysabeth: I want to bring on the CEO of Next Gen Foods, the creators of fabulous TiNDLE chicken. Thank you, Andre Menezes, for being with me.
How have you been finding the industry in 2022 for foodservice?
Andre Menezes: We do work with Dot Foods by the way; a great partnership with them and we have over 105 distributors ordering from Dot just in the U.S. alone. The learning is that we’re obviously able to scale from zero to a thousand restaurants in the U.S. within 2022. It’s not even a year, it’s within 2022. And that means there is openness, there is excitement, there is demand, there is everything that is extremely exciting.
We don’t need to explain what plant-based is most of the time; that’s heard of already. So that’s number one and that’s great. There is a recognition in the importance and relevance, so [it is] mostly on the positive side.
The only challenging aspect for 2022 that we have seen from food service is no news to anyone but affects everyone is that labor shortages have been affecting the industry sector of hospitality and as such, the new menu innovation adoptions were slower than we would have liked them to be most of the time. In many cases, we had restaurants super excited to launch and ready to go but just that time to launch was a bit slower than it usually would have been. Other than that, it has been great. We are very happy to see the growth in foodservice and how consumers love it.
Elysabeth: And what is the process? Are you going and finding the chefs and then a couple celebrity chefs kind of pave the way for others? Or are the chefs embracing plant-based and then going to the marketplace and finding their best plant-based option? How is that dance happening?
Andre Menezes: It’s really a combination of all of it. We do not engage with celebrity chefs on a commercial agreement. We do have advisors that just give us the guidance on markets that we initially were not familiar with and who the names are that we should talk to and go after and what restaurant groups and flavor profiles and all those things. But that’s one element for us.
There is another key element which is that our food services team just recently announced it. We see that a key thing that we do is basically to go after the most promising clients ourselves and be able to communicate directly with them and do that business development portion in-house. That’s something we are doing but it comes from all channels you can imagine. I’m sure there could be someone watching this video right here and get interested about TiNDLE and reach out to me on LinkedIn and we start from there or reach out from our website. It’s really all across the board.
Elysabeth Alfano is the CEO of VegTech™ Invest, the advisor to the VegTech™ Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF, EATV. She is also the founder of Plant Powered Consulting and the Host of the Plantbased Business Hour.