CHICAGO – TiNDLE, plant-based chicken from Next Gen Foods that was started in Singapore in 2020, recently announced its U.S. headquarters in Chicago and hosted an open house for its new R&D and Innovation Center.
The R&D Center in Singapore will develop the core technology, while the Chicago R&D and Innovation Center, will make technology relevant to U.S. customers and consumers and support the brand’s entrance into new U.S. sales channels, including foodservice and retail. There’s a third R&D Center in the Netherlands, where the products are produced by a co-manufacturer.
The U.S. is the company’s number one market, with about 900 restaurant customers, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany. Next Gen Foods aims to become a market leader in the U.S. after launching TiNDLE in the U.S. in February 2022. The company raised $100 million in Series A funding in February, for a total of over $130 million raised.
Why create TiNDLE?
Timo Recker, Co-Founder (who had previously founded a plant-based meat company in Germany) and CEO Andre Menezes (a Brazilian-born food industry veteran who had worked for the largest poultry exporter in the world) wanted to build a new company to become a global player that could challenge paradigms on how meat is produced.
Menezes noted: “We have population increasing by 2 billion by 2050. If we do the math, consumption per capita in underdeveloped countries and population growing. There’s not enough land, water, and resources on the planet to produce the meat the way we do. We don’t need a horse to get from point A to point B. 100 years ago, Chicago was full of horses on the street.
“We deliver on taste, texture, and nutritional values without relying on animals as a technology to get the chicken. Plant-based chicken use 82 percent less water consumption and 74 percent less land than chicken from birds.”
What is TiNDLE?
The company determined the three key factors consumers are looking for in chicken:
- Taste: the company’s Lipi fat emulsion tastes like chicken, and browns like chicken.
- Texture: especially fibers in the chicken.
- Versatility: it can be used in curries, sandwiches, tenders. It was developed for chefs to deliver on versatility expectations.
During the demo, Julie Ip, VP of Product Development-US, showed how the original version of TiNDLE can be molded into different shapes after thawing. The use of binding ingredient methyl cellulose, which is similar to an egg white, allows TiNDLE to be flexible when it’s cold but firm when it’s heated. TiNDLE’s protein, fat, and calorie levels are about same as chicken, with no cholesterol.
TiNDLE is made with ingredients like Texturized Protein (Soy, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Starch), Lipi (Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavoring), Coconut Oil, and Oat Fiber.
Who is TiNDLE’s consumer base?
“Eighty to 90 percent of our customers are flexitarians, age 18 to 35, slightly skewed to female. They care about sustainability. College educated. They’re not willing to give up meat if compromising on taste,” Menezes told the audience.
TiNDLE’s slogan is “Made with chefs for chefs” due to its versatility and its ability to be used in any cuisine, marinade, or cooking application.
The company has partnered with leading chefs around the world. James Beard Award winner and New York Times best-selling author Rocco DiSpirito and Emmy- and James Beard Award winning personality Andrew Zimmern joined the company as business and culinary advisors.
Virginia Lee is a food, drinks & beauty trends explorer and market researcher. She has advised companies on innovation and market entry opportunities in consumer packaged goods at Euromonitor International, Brightfield Group, and Innova Market Insights. Connect with Virginia on Twitter and Instagram at @VirginiaALee.