Building off the high-growth momentum across Asia in less than two years since launch, Singapore-based faux chicken producer, Next Gen Foods, has officially entered North America through partnerships with high-end local restaurants and online marketplaces, amping up the 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 to date in the plant-based meat category globally, PitchBook confirmed. That brings Next Gen’s total funding to more than $130 million.
This round was supported 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 Next Gen’s spokesperson said the company doesn’t follow a traditional “lead investor” structure, allowing the round allocation to be fairly distributed among all its main shareholders.
K3 Ventures’ founder and managing partner, Meng Xiong Kuok, who’s also a board of director of Next Gen, believes the company is only at the beginning of a “meaningful journey.”
Kuok said: “Next Gen Foods has proven its ability to grow at an unprecedented speed and to deliver on its ambitions and plans across the world. We have conviction that the company is very well positioned to drive meaningful impact by taking over a relevant share of the chicken market in the U.S.”
Cofounded by Andre Menezes and Timo Recker, who sold his previous German company LikeMeat to LIVEKINDLY Collective in 2022, Next Gen’s flagship brand TiNDLE is known for its proprietary emulsion Lipi™ — a combination of sunflower oil and natural flavoring — which enables it to emulate the taste and atoms of traditional chicken fat.
Has Food Service Become An Entry Point For Alt Protein?
TiNDLE is made with nine ingredients, according to Next Gen, including water; texturized protein from soy, wheat gluten, wheat starch; coconut oil; methyl cellulose; and oat fiber. The product is also engineered to apply easily to various cuisines and applications, similar to many in-store faux meat players, such as Daring, that aim to better penetrate restaurants with product flexibility.
Many believe food service has also become an easy entry point to warm up with consumers who aren’t familiar with alt protein products. Ross Mackay, CEO of Daring, previously told me his company plans to lean further into this channel over the next few years, which currently accounts for 10% of their overall revenue.
For TiNDLE, the plan is to be initially served in places such as New York’s The Grey Dog, Orchard Grocer, and Just What I Kneaded in Los Angeles upon U.S. entry before gradually rolling out nationwide.
“Beginning on February 15, distributors will be able to order the product through DOT Foods,” and online supplier Food Service Direct, Menezes said. “This significant increase in our distribution will allow TiNDLE to reach all 50 states.”
Creating culinary experiences continues to be an important part of Next Gen’s strategy to increase TiNDLE’s brand awareness. “We worked closely with one of our chef partners, Philadelphia-based chef Chad Rosenthal, to test overall consumer feedback and impressions of TiNDLE through an e-commerce pilot,” Menezes said. “Through his Motel Fried Chicken concept and storefront on Goldbelly, [where] Chad offered a TiNDLE fried chicken sandwich meal kit, right next to his signature animal-based fried chicken meal kits.”
The U.S. is by far the largest market for Next Gen Foods, and the company plans to continue eyeing traditional meat markets globally as future opportunities.