A new way forward
The product is currently being produced in Europe, and is not only vegan friendly but also Halal certified. It was also awarded the “Healthier Choice” logo by the Health Promotion Board of Singapore.
When Recker started Next Gen Foods in 2020, along with co-founder Andre Menezes, he was determined to become less reliant on the animal agriculture industry.
“We wanted to find a way to make saving the planet easy, enjoyable and delicious. We decided to create a plant-based chicken product first, as it’s the most popular global protein, a versatile and beloved meat in cuisines and traditions around the world,” he explained.
The brand is a result of that effort, and while it first started out in a dozen restaurants across Singapore back in March of 2021, it is now available in around 1,000 restaurants across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
From the beginning, Tindle was created with restaurants in mind.
“Our product is convenient to use and perfect across a range of global cuisines – from Italian meatballs and chicken kiev to dumplings and katsu, as well as cordon bleu or kebabs – and arrives to restaurants in a raw form that can be moulded and designed to fit any menu,” Recker noted.
Tindle is a hot menu item in some of the world’s leading restaurants, including Adda in Singapore, Akira Back in Dubai, Bref by Darren Chin in Kuala Lumpur, Candour in Hong Kong and Coffee & Coconuts in Amsterdam, and all-star chefs Rocco DiSpirito and Andrew Zimmern have both joined the company as business and culinary advisors within the last year.
“As a brand, we have placed a strong emphasis and focus on meeting the needs and demands of today’s consumers. In today’s world, this means taste and deliciousness,” he said.
Recker said the company is always looking to collaborate with partners in the culinary field who are bold and creative.
“From fine dining to burger and fried chicken joints, our partners express the full range of dining experiences and a plant-based chicken, like Tindle, works well in each of those formats,” he said.
The company is not just targeting existing plant-based diners, but also meat lovers and flexitarians.
“Because it’s so versatile and malleable, it can take centre stage in dishes, from satay to schnitzel and British Wellingtons to Indian butter chickens,” he said.
The secret ingredient
‘Lipi’ is the secret ingredient in Tindle’s plant-based formula. According to Recker, it is a proprietary emulsion of ingredients that includes sunflower oil and natural flavours, which provides the product with the aroma, cookability and savoury qualities that typically come from chicken fat.
“Thanks to ‘lipi’, our product exhibits that craveworthy quality that comes from the umami of dark meat – but with the bite and chew of a firm chicken fillet,” he said.
Every 100g serving of Tindle contains 17g of protein, 120 calories and 8g of fibre, according to Recker. He is convinced it can easily take the place of animal-based chicken in any dish.
“With this, we first and foremost focus on the culinary experience of the brand itself. That’s why we have taken the go-to-market approach of entering restaurants first and finding like-minded partners and chefs to introduce it to diners,” he said.
The APAC marketplace
In Singapore, where the uptake of alternative proteins is strong, prices are almost on par with conventional chicken, but elsewhere these offerings are typically priced at a premium level. This point is not lost on Recker.
“As a whole though, we as a company are working on scale across every aspect of our production and manufacturing, we foresee that the price of Tindle will come down to at least the level of poultry chicken across every region where we do business,” he said.
The company has received a total of US$100 million in Series A funding in the last year and is backed by a host of top-tier investors.
Recker mentioned that the recent fundraise will help the brand increase its presence in newer markets such as the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
“It will support our continued growth in the foodservice category, expanding into restaurants across these regions, and our future expansion into retail down the line,” he stated.
The future is bright
The company will also be using the recent raise to support and increase its research and development initiatives, as its research hub is set to open in Singapore within the next year.
“Our new R&D and Innovation Centre – which was developed in partnership with the Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC), established by Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform – will act as a launchpad for the development and trial of new technologies, applications, and products,” he elaborated.
For the uninitiated, Recker believes that it is time for the masses to understand that meat consumption has grown to an unsustainable level, and it’s putting a huge toll on the planet as greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land use continue to rise.
He is adamant that solutions like Tindle offer a scalable and sustainable way to eat the meat we love as a society – but doesn’t have as taxing an impact on our planet.
“Based on a 2020 Blue Horizon report, choosing plant-based chicken over avian meat saves 82 per cent less water, 74 per cent less land and 88 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions,” he concluded.