Biggest Plant-Based Meat Augmentation Series A Yet Pushes Next-Gen Foods And Its Fake Chicken Brand TiNDLE To North America
Building on strong growth momentum in Asia in less than two years since launch, Singapore-based mock chicken producer Next Gen Foods has officially entered North America through partnerships with high-end local restaurants. range and online markets, intensifying competition in plant-based meat.
The move was made possible after Next Gen closed $100 million in a recent Series A round, the largest deal size yet in the plant-based meat category globally, a confirmed PitchBook. This brings Next Gen’s total funding to over $130 million.
This round was backed by new investors EDBI, Alpha JWC Ventures, MLP Ventures, in addition to existing investors Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform, GGV Capital, K3 Ventures and Shanghai-based food tech VC Bits x Bites.
A spokesperson for Next Gen said the company does not follow a traditional “lead investor” structure, allowing the round’s allocation to be evenly distributed among all of its major shareholders.
K3 Ventures founder and managing partner Meng Xiong Kuok, who is also a board member of Next Gen, believes the company is just at the beginning of a “meaningful journey”.
Kuok said, “Next Gen Foods has proven its ability to grow at unprecedented speed and realize its ambitions and plans across the globe. We are confident that the company is very well positioned to make a significant impact by gaining control of a relevant share of the chicken market in the United States. »
Co-founded by Andre Menezes and Timo Recker, who sold his former German company LikeMeat to LIVEKINDLY Collective in 2022, Next Gen’s flagship brand TiNDLE is known for its proprietary Lipi™ emulsion – a combination of sunflower oil and natural flavor – which allows it to mimic the taste and atoms of traditional chicken fat.
Has foodservice become an entry point for Alt proteins?
TiNDLE is made up of nine ingredients, according to Next Gen, including water; textured soy protein, wheat gluten, wheat starch; coconut oil; methylcellulose; and oat fiber. The product is also designed to easily apply to various cuisines and applications, similar to many in-store fake meat players, such as Daring, which aim to better penetrate restaurants with product flexibility.
Many believe that the restaurant business has also become an easy entry point to warm up to consumers who are unfamiliar with alternative protein products. Ross Mackay, CEO of Daring, previously told me that his company plans to focus more on this channel over the next few years, which currently accounts for 10% of its overall revenue.
For TiNDLE, the plan is to initially be served at locations such as New York’s The Gray Dog, Orchard Grocer, and Just What I Kneaded in Los Angeles upon entering the United States before gradually rolling out to the national scale.
“Starting Feb. 15, distributors will be able to order the product through DOT Foods,” and online vendor Food Service Direct, Menezes said. “This significant increase in our distribution will allow TiNDLE to reach all 50 states.”
Creating dining experiences continues to be an important part of Next Gen’s strategy to increase awareness of the TiNDLE brand. “We worked closely with one of our chef partners, Philadelphia-based chef Chad Rosenthal, to test consumer reviews and impressions of TiNDLE via an e-commerce pilot,” Menezes said. “Through its Motel Fried Chicken concept and its showcase on Goldbelly, [where] Chad offered a TiNDLE Fried Chicken Sandwich Meal Kit, right next to his Animal-Based Fried Chicken Meal Kits.
The United States is by far the largest market for Next Gen Foods, and the company plans to continue to consider traditional meat markets globally as future opportunities.