New future: Future food

Changing the plant-based food industry one spoon at a time

#inconversationswith Jean Madden,
CMO at Next Gen Foods

Image: TiNDLE
Consumers’ lifestyle and expectations have changed: beyond dairy allergy or lactose intolerance, more consumers are looking for plant-based foods that are not only tasty but “ethical” i.e. do not harm the planet nor the animals.

TMS recently spoke with Jean Madden, Chief Marketing Officer at Next Gen Foods, makers of the plant-based chicken brand ‘TiNDLE’ to learn more about their insights, predictions and plans for the brand which is now available in Hong Kong, Macau and our home city, Singapore.

① The plant-based diet and industry has experienced a surge in the past few years, but from a consumer perspective, there might be so many new options that it’s overwhelming. What makes TiNDLE standout?

First off, TiNDLE is super delicious! TiNDLE is a mind-blowing chicken experience made entirely from plants but manages to replicate every aspect of chicken — bite, texture and taste. TiNDLE is also antibiotic- and hormone-free, contains only 9 non-GMO, non-Novel ingredients - and no nasties! A key differentiation of TiNDLE is its versatility in culinary preparation.

Made by chefs for chefs, TiNDLE works across multiple cuisines and dishes - from pizzas to stir frys, to pot pies and curries. Now chefs across Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau are creating incredibly delicious dishes and new culinary experiences using TiNDLE. Be it in Michelin-starred restaurants to ‘instagrammable’ food trucks - TiNDLE is everywhere.

A unique blend of plant-based fats and flavour, Lipi™ helps achieve TiNDLE’s distinctive aroma, taste and cookability. Tell us more about the development process behind Lipi™?

      We started off by understanding what makes chicken so craveable and delicious. It turns out the answer lies in chicken fat!

In its simplest terms, Lipi™ is chicken fat but made from plants. Lipi™ is our “secret sauce” and a proprietary emulsion of plant-based fat and natural flavours, and is what gives TiNDLE the distinctive taste, aroma, and cookability – particularly browning – of traditional chicken.

③ TiNDLE is available in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. How has the reception been and are there any unique challenges the brand faces across these markets?

The reception in all three cities have been phenomenal and we’re so heartened by the love from chefs and consumers alike. We launched in Singapore this March at 11 restaurant brands and three months later, we are now at close to 50 restaurants islandwide, including well-loved establishments such as Adda, Three Buns and Privé. In June, we also launched in Hong Kong and Macau at 19 of the hottest restaurants including Uma Nota, Poem by Le Comptoir Group, 2 Michelin-starred Bo Innovation and W Hong Kong to name a few.

Historically speaking, Asia has had one of the widest adoptions of meat-free options in the world, but this was mainly due to religion or affordability, with products that were not necessarily appealing to meat-eaters. Traditionally farmed meat has always been seen as part of a ‘premium’ lifestyle in Asia, so a perception shift here — while happening, is still behind markets like the USA and Europe. However, the speed at which global centres like Singapore and Hong Kong as well as Mainland China are moving—in terms of education, awareness and availability of options—is helping to change the perception towards alternative proteins and is causing an accelerated growth in the region. TiNDLE was born in 2020 during the pandemic – and building a global business while not being able to travel would never be possible if not for our innovative and asset lite business model, strong partner network and amazing team.

④ Since launching in Singapore on March 18 2021, what does TiNDLE think about the plant based / alternative protein space in Singapore?

Earlier this year, TiNDLE, from Next Gen Foods raised the largest seed round ever for a plant-based start-up. As a company, we are proud to be leading the charge globally from Asia, and aim to continue paving the way in changing consumer mindset around plant-based foods.

As a foodie nation that is held in high regard by everyone from Michelin inspectors to street food enthusiasts, we’re proud to work directly with dozens of respected chefs in the country who are raving about TiNDLE.

TiNDLE’s success in Singapore shows that the plant-based product space is no longer a niche or a small segment of the market here. With TiNDLE’s chicken made from plants delivering mind-blowing taste and texture while being more sustainable for the planet, consumers no longer have to compromise with plant-based foods. The incredible reception of TiNDLE amongst chefs and consumers is fantastic and we’re expecting this momentum to only accelerate further.

⑤ Post-pandemic and five years down the road, where do you see TiNDLE and what are some of the plans we can look forward to seeing?

Our goal is to become the undisputed leader in plant-based chicken globally. There’s lots in store for TiNDLE — we plan to diversify our product line and continue to expand internationally. After our phenomenal launches in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, we have set our sights on Kuala Lumpur and many more foodie capitals, like Dubai and USA which will be part of our expansion plans in the next 12 months. Direct-to-consumer sales are also a definite possibility for TiNDLE in the future as we continue to work with chefs and like-minded partners to increase the awareness and practice of more sustainable consumption habits.

Launched in Singapore, TiNDLE aims to provide a mouthwatering and "mind-blowing" meat experience made entirely from plants.