Plant-Based Meat Producers TiNDLE, Impossible Land in UAE in Time for Expo2020 | Salaam Gateway
DUBAI – Competition in the vegetable meat market in the United Arab Emirates is intensifying. Singapore’s Next Gen Foods launched its plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE earlier in September, while California-based Impossible Foods plans to launch its Impossible Burger at the Dubai World’s Fair when it opens on October 1.
Impossible’s announcement comes after rival Future Farms launched their Future Chick’n in June. The Brazilian start-up entered the United Arab Emirates in October last year and claims over 30% market share in the vegetarian corner of Carrefour, the region’s largest hypermarket chain, overtaking rivals such than Beyond Meat.
Impossible Burger is coming to the United Arab Emirates almost five years after its launch in the United States and will be on menus at the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 2020, the company announced Tuesday, September 28.
The company hopes to showcase its flagship product to the millions of visitors expected to arrive at the mega-event over the next six months.
But it won’t be the only vegan option out there. Several plant-based restaurants are settling in at the Expo’s Sustainability Pavilion, including a three-story vegan dining complex run by celebrity vegan chef Matthew Kenney, where several meatless dishes will be served.
FIRST OF ALL GASTRONOMY APPROACH
After making its World Expo debut, Impossible Burger will be available at nine restaurants across Dubai.
The plant-based burger will be available to other restaurants in the UAE from early October through Bidfood Middle East, the company’s local distributor.
Meanwhile, TiNDLE launched in 20 restaurants through eight partners across the UAE, including At.mosphere at Burj Khalifa, Akira Back Dubai, Bite Me Burger, FIKA at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Zero Gravity, BB Social Dining and La Brioche, and Le Meridien. Al Aqah.
Impossible Burger and TiNDLE both take a food-driven market approach, deploying their innovations with culinary experts through catering. And for good reason: adding plant-based menu items pays off for restaurants.
2018 research by food industry analysis firm Foodable Labs found that American restaurants that added vegan options to their menus reported a 13% increase in customer traffic.
Most recently, Technomic’s 2020 Generational Consumption Trends Report said that 41% of millennials enjoy trying new plant-based foods and drinks in restaurants.
This does not exclude the possibility of launching retail lines. Impossible Burger is already available in thousands of grocery stores in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore, and may expand its products into the UAE retail sector.
TiNDLE, which is currently only available in restaurants, will gradually roll out to other channels and will also have a presence in retail, Andre Menezes, co-founder and CEO of Next Gen, told Salaam Gateway.
“Our activities over the next two years include Series A fundraising, product diversification and international expansion, so selling direct to consumers is a definite possibility,” Menezes said.
Since its global debut in Singapore in March of this year, TiNDLE has launched in Hong Kong, Macau and now the United Arab Emirates.
Despite starting early in COVID-19, Next Gen has managed to raise $ 30 million in funding from Asian and American venture capital firms – the biggest initial round ever for a food start-up herbal, according to the company. Investors included Singapore public investment firm Temasek International and business guru Chris Yeh.
The funds have helped Next Gen bring TiNDLE to new markets, but it is the knowledge of the industry that has enabled the company to develop the taste and texture of their plant-based chicken.
Company co-founder Menezes was previously Managing Director of Singapore-based SATS BRF Food, now called Country Foods, where he worked on the processing and distribution of Impossible Foods products.
The other co-founder of Next Gen, Timo Recker, has also been involved in the industry, having founded German plant protein start-up LikeMeat in 2013 and served as its CEO until its acquisition by the Livekindly Collective. in 2020. Before that. , he worked in the family meat processing business.
“Part of the challenge was understanding what chefs and consumers want from chicken – in terms of taste, texture and doneness. We knew that providing delicious taste experiences was the key to making consumers forget why animals were needed in the first place, ”said Menezes.
“Our CTO John Seegers – who has over 25 years of experience in plant-based foods – consulted with professional chefs who have contributed to the process of developing TiNDLE from its taste profile, fiber integrity. , but above all in the way the product behaves in culinary applications. “
Next Gen’s strategy is based on a digital, lightweight and global supply chain. As such, the company has been successful in developing ingredient sources and manufacturing and distribution capabilities in multiple countries without leaving Singapore.
“The setup is already working on a large scale, with a manufacturing facility in Europe and products shipped to a few countries in APAC and the United Arab Emirates. In line with our global growth plans, we plan to have manufacturing partners at a minimum in Europe, the United States, Brazil and China, ”Menezes said.
Over the next few months, Next Gen plans to further expand TiNDLE into APAC, enter the United States and Europe, and establish a research and development center in Singapore.
The company also plans to develop a manufacturing partnership in the island nation near its R&D center, enabling faster innovation and preferential access to APAC markets, and leveraging Singapore’s free trade agreements.
In the United Arab Emirates, TiNDLE faces intense competition from other segment players, including Impossible Foods, which launched plant-based chicken nuggets in the United States in September 2021, and Future Farm, which entered the UAE market in June 2020 and recently launched its vegan. chicken in the countryside.
The Singaporean start-up will also be competing with Beyond Meat, whose products have been available in the United Arab Emirates since 2018, and which launched plant-based chicken offerings in the United States and Canada last July.
The purchase and consumption of plant-based foods is increasing in the Middle East. As a guide, while there are no official statistics on the number of vegans and vegetarians in the Middle East, there are many indicators that indicate that they are on the increase.
The number of members of the Vegans Take Dubai Facebook group has more than doubled over the past three years, from 3,000 in September 2019 to nearly 6,500 today.
All over the Middle East, vegan Facebook groups continue to attract members. Members of the Vegetarian / Vegan Society of Egypt have grown from 16,587 at the end of 2019 to nearly 32,800 today, Lebanese vegans from 932 to 1,100 and vegans in Amman from 1,094 to 1,900.
TiNDLE, however, not only targets vegans and vegetarians, but also hopes to appeal to chicken lovers in the region with the versatility of its product, which the company says can take center stage in almost any dish, from nugget skewers.
“The Middle East is a key market for TiNDLE given its high consumption of chicken. We are putting our foundations in place to be in the market as we accelerate our goal of becoming the number one plant-based chicken in the region, ”said Menezes.
“Investors in the region have started supporting businesses that are driving positive change in our food systems and we’re already seeing a lot of interest from consumers and chefs. ”
CALL TO MUSLIM CONSUMERS
Even though vegan ingredients are halal in nature, plant-based meat producers are increasingly choosing to obtain halal certification for their products in order to gain the trust of Muslim consumers.
Impossible Foods was the first plant-based meat manufacturer to receive halal certification in 2018. The company’s Impossible Burger has been certified by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) under regulations established by the Department. Malaysian Islamic Development (JAKIM).
Beyond Meat has also been certified by Netherlands-based Halal Quality Control, the European administrator of the World Halal Food Council, for 13 of their products, also aligned with JAKIM regulations as well as by Indonesian authorities.
Likewise, TiNDLE has been certified by the Halal Feed and Food Inspection Authority (HFFIA) in the Netherlands and is produced in a certified Halal factory in the country, while Future Farm’s products meet all halal requirements of FAMBRAS. (Federation of Muslim Associations of Brazil). and standards.
With innovative start-ups in the meatless ecosystem and with the growing options available in restaurants and retailers, the future of the region’s vegetable meat market looks bright.
In the global meatless market of $ 18.6 billion in 2019, the Middle East and Africa market was worth $ 176.5 million and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 5% until 2024, which is more than the global annual rate of 4%, according to Euromonitor International. .
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