Next Gen Foods Debuts TiNDLE in the United States and Announces a Record-Breaking $100 Million Series A Funding Round
Next Gen Foods announces today that its first product, TiNDLE is now available in a range of iconic restaurants across the East and West Coasts in some of the country’s leading “foodie” cities and a $100 million Series A funding round – the largest Series A to date for a plant-based meat company.
Participating in the Series A round are new international investors Alpha JWC, the Southeast Asian venture capital firm; the Singapore-based global investment fund, EDBI; and UK-based MPL Ventures. Returning from previous rounds are Temasek through its newly established Asia Sustainable Food Platform, GGV Capital, K3 Ventures and Bits x Bites. With the company’s plans to swiftly increase its global footprint this year, the fundraising comes from a broad mix of both Europe and Asia-based investors, following the seed round of $30 million that took place last summer. Total funding for the startup now exceeds $130 million.
TiNDLE has seen rapid success across several culinary epicenters – including Singapore, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Dubai – and the new funding supports Next Gen Foods’ acceleration to bring TiNDLE to key markets around the globe like the United States. Starting today, American diners can now taste TiNDLE in a range of delicious preparations at select eateries, including:
- Baia: Founded by Chef Matthew Kenney and helmed by Executive Chef Joshua Yap, the popular Italian eatery and destination offers a fully plant-based menu, including their take on the Parmesana, a TiNDLE chicken parmesan served with conchiglie and pomodoro
- WesBurger ‘N’ More: Led by Chef-Owner Wes Rowe, the Mission District staple serves diner-style favorites and uses TiNDLE in their recipe for chicken nuggets – with a side sauce of your choice, including a House Ranch – and their signature tots as an option to add on
- Wildseed: Beginning on Thursday, February 17, Adriano Paganini’s plant-based bar and restaurant will serve a TiNDLE Chicken Sandwich – prepared with a cabbage slaw, pickled red onions and chipotle aioli – as a featured main plate at their Union Street location
- Compton Vegan: The roaming Los Angeles food truck by Chef Lemel Durrah serves comfort food – using all plant-based ingredients – including rotating new menu additions such as TiNDLE Chicken Strips and TiNDLE Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- Just What I Kneaded: Owner and acclaimed baker Justine Hernandez prepares TiNDLE as “The Lizbird” – a fried chicken sandwich made with matzah meal, soy “honey” mustard, vegan mayo, red cabbage slaw, sliced cucumbers and a drop of chili oil on a housemade brioche bun – at her popular Frogtown bakery and café
- The Q Restaurant & Bar: A favorite stop for Memphis-style BBQ and Southern dishes in the heart of Northern California’s wine country, Chef Pablo Cerano offers TiNDLE as the primary plant-based protein option in two of The Q’s most beloved dishes – their signature Fried Chicken Breast Sandwich, made with a pepper vinegar slaw, as well as the Asian Fried Chicken Salad
- The Grey Dog: The popular, homestyle Manhattan restaurant group – also known as the “Neighborhood’s Best Friend” – prepares TiNDLE as a Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich served with a kale and red cabbage slaw, as well as the shareable Sticky Nuggets, at all five locations
- Orchard Grocer: Inspired by New York’s iconic delis, the Lower East Side delicatessen offers an all plant-based hero sandwich “The Emma” – as prepared by Chef Nora Vargas and named after a local rescue cat – that features a breaded and fried TiNDLE cutlet topped with housemade seitan ham, pesto, tomato, greens and melted dairy-free mozzarella, all on a fresh roll
- Settepani: At both the Harlem and Williamsburg locations, the Settepani family and Executive Chef Nino Settepani serve TiNDLE two ways – as Nonna’s meatballs with tomato sauce and basil and as Sette’s Sliders, made with TiNDLE patties, tomato, lettuce and topped with an awaze sauce, on a homemade brioche bun
- Little Brazil: Consulting chef for Little Brazil, Adelaide Engler, creates TiNDLE two ways at the Miami Beach eatery – as a TiNDLE Parmigiano, in the style of a classic chicken parm, and Crispy TiNDLE filled with Garlic Butter, lightly coated with panko breadcrumbs and served with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach
- The Lucky Well: Chef Chad Rosenthal prepares his iconic herb-brined fried chicken sandwich in the style of a TiNDLE Picnic Chicken Sandwich, served with his Memphis Mustard Slaw, at his flagship Philly restaurant
- Guardhouse Cafe: At this chef-driven coffee shop and café, set in the historic guard house of the Frankford Arsenal, Chef-Owner Khoran Horn serves a TiNDLE Nashville Hot Chicken, made with house pickle juice brine and homemade hot sauce, on top of two slices of Merzbacher’s sweet potato brioche bread
“There’s no question that the United States is home to some of the best food cities on the planet – and we’re excited to bring TiNDLE to this market and hear what consumers think,” said Andre Menezes, CEO and Co-Founder of Next Gen Foods. “The U.S. has long been a target market for us, and thanks to our lineup of fantastic investors who have participated in this funding round, this is only the beginning of our journey in delivering delicious and sustainable foods to reverse our climate crisis.”
“I was very impressed with TiNDLE. As a non-vegan chef, I can definitely vouch that this product is very close to mimicking the flavor and texture of chicken,” shared Joshua Yap, Executive Chef at BAIA in San Francisco. “Being at BAIA has widened my range of possibilities in cooking with vegetables and plant-based products. TiNDLE opens up a large window for chefs, vegan or not, to play with and create new recipes in their kitchens.”
The startup plans to expand TiNDLE to additional major U.S. cities in the next few months, including Miami, Austin and more. Stay tuned for future developments and restaurant news.
USA, Meet TiNDLE
TiNDLE is a versatile, easy-to-work-with, plant-based chicken that has caught the eye of all-star chefs and culinary professionals due to its unique versatility and similarities in taste and texture to chicken from birds. It features the distinctive flavor of chicken, thanks to Lipi™ – the company’s proprietary emulsion of plant-based ingredients that mirror the aroma, cookability and savory qualities that typically comes from chicken fat.
TiNDLE is made of nine simple ingredients, all of which are ubiquitous and well known to international regulators and food manufacturers. In addition, it is high in protein and fiber and contains no antibiotics, hormones, cholesterol, or genetically modified ingredients.
Several of America’s leading chefs and culinary personalities – including James Beard Award winner and The New York Times best-selling author, Rocco DiSpirito, and Food Network personality and grillmaster, Chef Chad Rosenthal – are already innovating and cooking with TiNDLE. Chef Rocco DiSpirito recently joined the company as a culinary advisor and consultant, testing early crowd favorites in his TiNDLE Parmesan Sliders and TiNDLE Lotus Leaf Baos at last fall’s New York City Wine & Food Festival. Later this month, Miami residents will have a chance to experience TiNDLE – as prepared by Chef Rocco – at the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival from February 24-27.
Consumers can also sample a taste of Chef Chad Rosenthal’s restaurant-quality experience nationwide through the Motel Fried Chicken storefront on Goldbelly – which offers a convenient and interactive meal kit featuring his signature TiNDLE Picnic Chicken Sandwich. Goldbelly is a curated marketplace for gourmet food and gifts, delivered straight to your door.
To celebrate its debut in the United States, TiNDLE is teaming up with Chef Chad Rosenthal and NYC’s neighborhood favorite, The Grey Dog, to serve samples of their new signature TiNDLE recipes for New York City residents. Touching down in the U.S. for the first time, the TiNDLE food truck will be stationed on Wednesday, February 16 from 4 to 7 PM at Brooklyn Borough Hall / Columbus Park (32 Court St, between Remsen St and Joralemon St) and Thursday, February 17 from 4 to 7 PM at Union Square (Union Square West between 16th St and 15th St).
Growth for 2022 and beyond
The new funding will help to increase distribution of TiNDLE throughout all 50 states in the U.S. Beginning today, distributors nationwide can now exclusively order the product through DOT Foods – the largest food redistributor in America for over 60 years. Restaurants can order TiNDLE directly through their local distributor, or it is also available for purchase on FoodServiceDirect.com – the convenient online marketplace for quality food and supplies. Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area can also acquire through Cheetah, a local e-commerce marketplace, serving the best restaurants in the region.
In addition, the recent raise will support and increase Next Gen Foods’ R&D and product innovation capabilities at its brand new research hub set to open in Singapore later this year. The company’s state-of-the-art R&D and Innovation Center – developed in partnership with the Food Tech Innovation Center (FTIC), established by Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform – will act as a launchpad for the development and trial of new technologies, applications and products.
Next Gen Foods also intends to expand its R&D team across Singapore and the United States to include additional protein scientists and food technologists with ingredient and product development expertise. Open roles at the company can be found here.
“Within a year, we’ve gone from launch to more than 200 restaurants on three continents. We will continue this relentless momentum in 2022 thanks to strong demand from chefs, distributors and consumers, who love TiNDLE for its great taste and tiny environmental footprint,” said Rohit Bhattacharya, Chief Financial Officer at Next Gen Foods. “We are grateful to have mission aligned and long-term global investors supporting us during such a critical phase for the company – bringing their expertise and visionary leadership.”
“GGV is excited to deepen our relationship with the Next Gen Foods team with this Series A funding round. We seek companies that can separate themselves from the rest of the industry through technology, innovation and passion,” said Jenny Lee, managing partner at GGV Capital. “Next Gen Foods’ growth in less than a year has been remarkable, as is their ongoing commitment to being part of the solution for how global food production will play a significant role in addressing the impact of climate change. We look forward to their next phase of expansion into the U.S. and beyond.”
Existing investors in Next Gen Foods include NX-FOOD and Yeo Hiap Seng – as well as prominent personalities such as business guru and author Chris Yeh and famed English footballers Dele Alli and Kieran Gibbs.
Rapid growth, global vision
Next Gen Foods was founded in 2020 by Brazilian-born poultry exporter and food industry veteran Andre Menezes, and German native Timo Recker, whose family business made schnitzel and other meat products for three generations. After meeting through an introduction by Rohit Bhattacharya, who is now the startup’s Chief Financial Officer, they decided to work on products that reduce humanity’s reliance on animal agriculture.
The early leadership team – including Chief Marketing Officer Jean Madden – worked closely with Chief Technology Officer and the brainchild behind TiNDLE, John Seegers, to develop a flagship product through extensive research into what makes chicken taste and perform like chicken. They named their first product TiNDLE as a modern reference to 19th-century Irish physicist John Tyndall, who proved the connection between atmospheric CO2 and the greenhouse effect.
On average, chicken made from plants uses less land, less water, and produces less CO₂ than chicken from birds. Based on a 2020 Blue Horizon report, choosing plant-based chicken over avian meat saves 82% less water, 74% less land and 88% less greenhouse gas emissions.
In less than one year, TiNDLE grew from being served in a handful of Singapore-based restaurants to being served in more than 200 restaurants across the United States, Asia, Middle East and Amsterdam.