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Next Gen, the Singapore food tech behind the plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE, has announced that Rachel Konrad will be joining as its first independent board member. Konrad was a former executive with famous food tech Impossible Foods and electric car maker Tesla.
Next Gen, the company behind the TiNDLE brand of vegan chicken, has just appointed Rachel Konrad to its board. Konrad was the CCO of Impossible Foods for five years, during which the food tech company experienced explosive international growth and became a household name in the plant-based meat industry. Previously, she led communications at French-Japanese car alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and for Tesla’s US and Europe operations.
TiNDLE is a ‘categorical upgrade from Old Meat’
In a statement about her new role as an independent board member with the Singapore-based startup, Konrad said that “upgrading” alt-proteins will be crucial to convince the masses to shift away from unsustainable animal agriculture.
“We can’t solve our planet’s climate and extinction crises without radical changes to the food system, including a rapid shift away from animal agriculture,” said Konrad. “Next Gen Foods’ leadership team stands out for its passion and ambition to develop food that represents a categorical upgrade from Old Meat—and the company’s first product is an absolute blast to cook.”
Next Gen co-founder and CEO Andre Menezes says Konrad’s decades-long experience will help the company speed up its ambitious international growth plans, with its TiNDLE chicken already making its way into the Middle East market this month after launching in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
“We were looking for a board member and mentor who has been through hypergrowth scaleup and is passionate about making the global food system sustainable,” the CEO shared. “We also wanted someone whose international experience matches that of our multicultural leadership team.”
Menezes also hinted at new product innovations underway, saying that Konrad will “help us accelerate our expansion to every major market globally—with our flagship product and many others to follow.”
Next Gen eyes global plant-based stage
Since its inception in 2020, Next Gen has grown its presence rapidly from its domestic market in Singapore to over 100 restaurants across Hong Kong, Macau, and most recently, the UAE. The company has taken a gastronomy-first approach to market, launching its vegan chicken via foodservice and working closely with chefs, rather than rolling out its product in retail stores.
It’s an approach that one industry report has credited for Impossible Foods and Oatly’s success in building up a following among consumers before offering its products to shoppers at home.
Fuelled with high-profile funding from players like Temasek, K3 Ventures, and English footballer Dele Alli, Next Gen says it is now looking to grow its team with more than 50 job openings—40 of them based in the US to support its upcoming North American expansion. The US is currently the most lucrative vegan market, with plant-based food retail sales hitting $7 billion in 2020.
Konrad’s appointment comes shortly after the Singapore startup hired former Givaudan executive Alex Ward as COO, ex-Temasek director Rohit Bhattacharya as CFO, and Charlotte Teo, previously with J&J, as its global marketing director.
In a previous statement revealing the company’s US ambitions, Menezes said: “[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.”
All images courtesy of Next Gen.