TiNDLE, the plant-based chicken brand developed by Singapore’s Next Gen Foods, has named Dubai and Abu Dhabi as its next destination in its ongoing global expansion. It also announced several industry veterans joining its team, as it eyes the US market after it extends its footprint to the Middle East in September.
Plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE is continuing with its international expansion, landing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in mid-September, marking its first foray into the Middle East market. The brand, which has already launched in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Kuala Lumpur, is the consumer-facing brand created by Temasek and K3 Ventures-backed Next Gen.
Middle East expansion
TiNDLE will roll out in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in mid-September this year, with Next Gen again working with distribution partner Classic Fine Foods to bring its plant-based chicken to the UAE. Entering the Middle East market is a strategic move for Next Gen to capitalise on the region’s high chicken consumption, with its poultry market forecast to grow 6% annually until 2026.
As with its launches in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Kuala Lumpur, Next Gen is taking a “gastronomy-first” approach to market—the same strategy credited for the mainstream success achieved by food tech giants Impossible Foods and Oatly.
It has not been disclosed which restaurants will begin serving the plant-based analogue in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but Classic Fine Foods CEO Christophe Barret says it will “allow chefs across UAE to propose new elevated culinary experiences to their clients.”
In terms of nutrition, each 100-gram serving of TiNDLE boasts 17 grams of protein. Next Gen says it was developed “with chefs, for chefs” and contains just 9 non-GMO ingredients like soy and wheat protein and sunflower oil.
Entering the US vegan chicken wars
Next Gen, fuelled by a record-breaking $10 million seed round earlier this year, is also planning to launch in the US market in the coming months, further extending its global presence. The company is now establishing its US headquarters and developing its approach to enter the market by 2022.
“Following our launch, record-setting Seed round and exceptionally quick regional expansion, we are now accelerating our global expansion,” shared co-founder and CEO Andre Menezes.
“[We are] recruiting a great team, and bringing on an ecosystem of partners will set the foundations for our US strategy. This will develop our understanding of consumer expectations and demand and deliver a superb launch for TiNDLE in the US.”
While key Asia-Pacific markets are poised for 200% growth in the next five years, Next Gen’s race to the US comes as vegan sales in the country reach all-time highs. In 2020, the plant-based retail market hit $7 billion for the first time, and plant-based demand in foodservice is likely to experience a major uptick as the economy opens up from the pandemic.
The vegan chicken category, in particular, is a space that many brands are betting on, including both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. While Beyond Chicken Tenders rolled out in 400 restaurants in the US, Impossible revealed its plan to launch vegan chicken nuggets soon. Quorn is bullish on the plant-based chicken market too, recently opening up an R&D centre in Dallas to double down on its North American strategy.
New senior leadership
To forge its US strategy and facilitate its growth in its current markets, Next Gen has announced several new additions to its Singapore-based senior leadership team.
Alex Ward, former APAC innovation chief at Givaudan, will be joining as COO, while Rohit Bhattacharya, previously director at Temasek, will lead as CFO. Charlotte Teo is now Next Gen’s new global marketing director, bringing in her experience from J&J. TiNDLE now also boasts a new Board of Advisors, with ex-Red Bull executive Alberto Carrero becoming its first member.
Menezes says that the new leadership team will help “scout the US” as it prepares to execute its strategy for the country, while also continuing to “build our tantalizing TiNDLE chicken experience across Asia’s trailblazing urban cities, with our leadership team in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific driving regional expansion.”
The firm recently welcomed F&B veteran Marc-Antoine Jolly to its leadership team as its new Asia-Pacific Growth Director based in Hong Kong, a strong sign of its ongoing focus in the Asia region, even as it makes its way onto the global stage.
Original Article by: Sally Ho, Green Queen