Singapore is Is quickly turning into a hub for food-tech startups, Partly due to government initiatives supporting the development of meat substitutes. Is one of the newest entrants next Gen, Which will launch its plant-based “chicken” brand, called Tikt, In Singapore restaurants next month. The company announced today that it has raised $ 10 million in seed financing from investors including Temasek, K3 Ventures, EDB New Ventures (an investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board), NX-Food, FEBE Ventures and Blue Horizon.
Next Gen claims that this is the largest seed round ever taken by a plant-based food tech company based on plantbook data. This is the first time a startup has made outside investment, and the funding has exceeded its original target of $ 7 million. Next Gen was launched last October by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, with a founding capital of $ 2.2 million.
The first product of Next Gen is called Tidal Thi, an alternative to chicken thighs. Its ingredients include water, soy, wheat, oat fiber, coconut oil and methylcellulose, a culinary binder, but the key to its chicken-like flavor is a proprietary blend of plant-based fats, such as sunflower oil, and the natural flavor that makes it Allows chicken to cook like meat.
Next Gen’s chief operating officer Menezes told TechCrunch that the company aims to become a global leader in plant-based chicken, similar to the way Impossible and Beyond are known for their burgers.
“Consumers and chefs want texture in chicken, taste and aroma, and it’s largely related to chicken fat, which is why we started with thighs instead of breasts,” Menezes said. “When we cook, to simulate the smell, aroma and brownness, chicken fat made from a mixture, called lipi.”
Both Recker and Menezes have years of experience in the food industry. Recker founded German-based LikeMate, a plant-based meat producer acquired by LIVEKINDLY Collective last year. Menezes began his food career at one of the world’s largest poultry exporters in Brazil. He began working with plant-based meat as General Manager of Country Foods, Singapore’s importer and distributor, focusing on innovative, sustainable products.
“After being inside the meat industry for so long, it was clear to me that it was not a long-running business,” Ménage said.
Over the past few years, more consumers have begun to feel the same way, and have started looking for alternatives to animal products. UBS expectation To grow in the global plant-based protein market at an annual growth rate of over 30%, reaching $ 50 billion by 2025, as more people, even those who are not vegetarian or vegan, Look for healthy, human sources of protein.
Millennials and Gen Z consumers, in particular, are poised to reduce their consumption of meat, eggs and dairy products as they become more aware of the environmental impact of industrial livestock production, Menez said. “They understand the sustainability angle and health aspect of it, such as cholesterol or nutritional value, depending on which product you are about.”
Low in sodium and saturated fat, TiNDLE Thy has received a Healthy Choice symbol, which is operated by the Health Promotion Board of Singapore. The new funding from Next Gen will be used to launch Tinsel Thi, which will debut in popular Singapore restaurants such as Three Buns Quayside, The Prev Group, 28 Hong Kong Street, Bayswater Kitchen and The Goodburger.
Over the next year or two, Next Gen plans to extend its Series A round, launch more brands and products, and expand into its target markets: the United States (where it currently has a development director to build a distribution network ), China, Brazil and Europe. After working with restaurant partners, Next Gen also plans to make its products available to home cooks.
“We started with the chefs, because they are very hard to crack, and if the chefs are happy with the product, we’re sure there will be customers,” said Menges.