The first product to be launched is TiNDLE Thy, a plant-based chicken thigh product which will be distributed by Classic Fine Foods, and rolled out initially in food service, with retail in the pipeline.
The launch of the consumer brand comes after Singapore headquartered Next Gen closed a US$10 million seed round, more than its initial US$7 million target, following an earlier founder capitalisation of US$2.2 million.
TiNDLE Thy is said to be a versatile plant-based chicken product that can be shaped and cooked in various cuisines.
It is mainly made from water, soy, coconut oil and Lipi, a special blend of plant-based fats and flavour to recreate the taste and aroma of chicken.
In an interview with FoodNavigator-Asia, Next Gen’s co-founder and COO Andre Menezes said: “Consumers expect chicken to have the specific chicken texture, taste and smell. In terms of taste, most flavour typically come from chicken fat, so for TiNDLE, we replicate chicken fat using plant ingredients.”
Every 100g of TiNDLE contains 17g of protein, comparable to that of chicken.
According to Menezes, the product meets the Singapore Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Choice Symbol for its lower sodium (180mg/100g) and saturated fat content (1.88g/100g) compared to regular plant-based meat alternatives.
TiNDLE Thy is sold frozen, and has an 18 month shelf life.
The plan is to launch in restaurants first. “With TiNDLE Thy, we want to deliver a fantastic food experience, made from sustainable food,” Menezes said.
“Moving forward, as we expand the company and aim to create the maximum possible impact, we will go into retail with supermarket products.”
With the global debut in Singapore, the company is eyeing expansion in big meat markets such as US, Europe, China and Brazil.
In US, Next Gen is already recruiting a growth director, who will help build a network of distributors, restaurants, and chefs.
Major Asian cities are also in in its sights for future launches: “We are looking at developed, urban, highly connected cities in Asia with strong population demographics, and a good restaurant scene which are influential on the global or regional level,” he said.
Next Gen’s asset-light business model means the company will not be operating its own factories but works with partners to manufacture and distribute the product.
TiNDLE will be manufactured in the Netherlands, with a 5,000 tonnes capacity, enough for 9,000 restaurants.
This year, all efforts will be driven to bring TiNDLE to the global stage: “We have developed a business model that is asset light and as such, we're able to scale very quickly, around the globe,” Menezes said.
With the new funding, Next Gen hopes to accelerate research and development of plant-based products, and increase product diversification.
“This year, we are not planning to launch any other meat category, but we have ongoing developments for new products such as convenience foods.”
Next Gen hopes to raise Series A funding over the next two years.
The seed round was led by Temasek, K3 Ventures, the New Ventures arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), NX Food – part of METRO AG, FEBE Ventures, and Blue Horizon, among others.