- Singapore-based Next Gen Foods raised $100 million in the largest Series A funding round ever for any plant-based meat company. New investors include Alpha JWC, EDBI and MPL Ventures, with returning investors Temasek, GGV Capital, K3 Ventures and Bits x Bites. Next Gen Foods plans to use the funds for an expansion into the United States, as well as R&D into new sustainable foods. The company's total funding now exceeds $130 million.
- Next Gen's Tindle, a chicken analog with a variety of applications, is now available at 12 U.S. restaurants. A fried chicken sandwich made with Tindle by Philadelphia's Motel Fried Chicken is also available nationwide through Goldbelly. Starting today, Tindle is also available for foodservice distributors nationwide through Dot Foods, as well as direct purchase through FoodServiceDirect.com, and through Cheetah in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Chicken analogs are becoming popular, with several new offerings from major plant-based and fermentation companies hitting stores and menus. Tindle has already been well received in restaurants in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, the United Arab Emirates and Amsterdam.
Next Gen Foods is on a roll. It has repeated its seed round fundraising feat, receiving an amount larger than any other plant-based meat company. And it's set to be the next meat alternative to dive into the U.S. restaurant scene. The hype around Tindle is huge, but so are Next Gen Foods' expectations: CEO and co-founder Andre Menezes said in an interview last year that the company sees the United States as Tindle's largest market.
This fundraising and the announced expansion certainly jumpstarts this expansion. A release about the funding indicated that Tindle is now available at three restaurants each in San Francisco and New York, two each in Los Angeles and Philadelphia and one in Miami and California's Napa Valley. It will debut at restaurants in more U.S. cities, including Miami and Austin, Texas, in coming months.
And with the new availability through Dot Foods, FoodServiceDirect.com and Cheetah, the number of places that serve Tindle will soon be growing. That growth would be keeping with the company's performance worldwide. Within a year of its launch, Tindle has debuted on more than 200 restaurant menus on three continents, Next Gen CFO Rohit Bhattacharya said in a statement.
This fundraising will also help Next Gen Foods get to its next big thing. Part of the money will go to the company's new research hub, which is set to open in Singapore later this year. It's being developed in partnership with the Food Tech Innovation Center — an R&D hub sponsored by Temasek's new Asia Sustainable Foods Program and the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation — and will give Next Gen Foods the research space and equipment to discover the next Tindle. The company will also use some of the funds to add to its R&D teams in both the U.S. and Singapore.
Tindle follows the path set by Impossible Foods, which debuted its Impossible Burger in a gradual foodservice rollout that started in 2016. After years of introductions, first at exclusive restaurants and then at more mainstream eateries, Impossible Burger became a retail product in 2019.
However, Tindle could prove to be more versatile than the Impossible Burger. While Impossible Burgers behave like ground beef in a recipe, Tindle is sold as a frozen dough that can be hand-molded into different forms. It's been used in all kinds of applications — sandwiches, nuggets, skewers — and prepared in a variety of ways. The clean-label chicken analog has a proprietary ingredient called Lipi, which is a distinctive blend of sunflower oil and natural flavorings that adds to Tindle's chicken-like flavor, but also brings the kind of fatty texture and juiciness that consumers expect from chicken.
And while other chicken analogs are starting to appear in restaurants nationwide — like Beyond Meat's chicken tenders and other recent plant-based rollouts at Panda Express and KFC — the unique way that Tindle can be prepared could take it a step above. Tindle can be made into more high end whole-cut applications prepared by gourmet chefs, as well as more standard fare and finger food sold by QSRs. With Tindle's U.S. entry, the already competitive chicken alternative segment may take its product development and innovation up a few notches.