Singapore-based startup Next Gen Foods announced last week that its flagship alternative chicken product (named TiNDLE) has touched down in Amsterdam restaurants.
TiNDLE debuted in Singapore in early 2021 before launching in Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, and the UAE. The Amsterdam launch marks the beginning of TiNDLE’s expansion into Europe and beyond: Next Gen plans to introduce the product in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. next year.
“Amsterdam is a trailblazing city when it comes to food innovation and sustainability on the plate,” company co-founder and CEO Andre Menezes said in a press release emailed to The Spoon. Amsterdam is also a strategic European starting point for Next Gen because the company’s manufacturing operations are located in the Netherlands.
When I met up with Menezes last month to talk about the New York City sneak peek of TiNDLE, he told me that the Next Gen team had been working hand-in-hand with chefs to develop innovative recipes using the product. “Chefs are creative, but they’re also scientists in a way,” Menezes said. Instead of selling TiNDLE to restaurants in a premade shape, he said the team wanted to offer a kind of “Playdoh, or a canvas” that chefs could experiment with.
You can see the results of those partnerships in the range of different dishes that are now on Amsterdam menus—from the buttermilk-fried TiNDLE burger, to the taco with pickled cucumbers, to the roulade with shiitake mushrooms and kimchi. Among the six restaurants now serving TiNDLE are chic brunch spots; a Mexican cocktail bar and eatery; a vegan comfort food cafe; and a self-described chicken rotisserie “guilty pleasure bar.”
And while Next Gen is expanding TiNDLE’s global reach, it’s also investing in research and development for new products. The company announced today that it has partnered with the Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC), an accelerator and innovation hub, to establish an R&D facility in Singapore.
“Accelerating the transition to a more sustainable food system will require the ability to not only have commercially scalable products for our consumers, but also be on the cutting edge in terms of food innovation,” Menezes said in a press release shared with The Spoon. “We’re thrilled to be the first tenant and a long-term partner of the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform and A*STAR’s FTIC, where we’ll be able to significantly expand our R&D capabilities to drive new technologies and sustainable solutions.”
Next Gen plans to expand its portfolio of plant-based products at the new R&D center, which is scheduled to open in late 2022. The company plans to accelerate hiring and double its current number of R&D roles. It’ll be interesting to see which alternative protein space the team sets its sights on next: According to the company, it could be an alternative dairy, seafood, or meat product.