- Next Gen Foods purchased plant-based gelato maker Mwah. The acquisition price was not disclosed.
- Next Gen Foods led Mwah’s $2 million seed round last year, which funded the production of the brand’s first product. Next Gen CEO Andre Menezes and Chief Marketing Officer Jean Madden were previously on Mwah’s board. The brand’s gelato will make its debut with Next Gen’s lineup this week at National Products Expo West.
- Singapore-based Next Gen Foods is a buzzy startup in the plant-based space with two record-breaking funding rounds, the adoption of its Tindle product at 1,500 restaurants worldwide, and large rollouts in grocery stores and meal kits in less than three years.
While Next Gen Foods is best known for its fibrous and juicy Tindle product, this acquisition adds another dimension to what it is doing in the plant-based space.
A press release about the acquisition states the company’s mission: Next Gen is a platform “to bring like-minded brands that deliver on quality taste and experiences to market, which includes popular categories such as dairy, seafood, and meat.” And as Tindle continues its rapid expansion, it is a good time for the company to use its popularity to boost another brand.
Mwah is based in London and was founded in 2020 by Claudia Comini and Damian Piedrahita, who met as consultants working in the food and beverage and hospitality industries. They created a process to combine plant proteins, lipids and natural flavors that they say recreate the qualities of pure cream. Their first product, which Next Gen will be pushing forward is Madagascan Vanilla Gelato. It’s made from ingredients including cashews, coconut oil, vegetable fibers, natural flavors, sugar, salt and organic Madagascan vanilla.
Next Gen will work to get Mwah’s gelato on the market through a similar path as Tindle. After the big debut at Expo West this month, the gelato will be available at two U.K. restaurants — one that specializes in desserts, and one that is vegan. Next Gen said in an email U.K. foodservice is where the brand will get its start. It will eventually expand to retail and other key markets, including the U.S. and Germany, the company said.
While Tindle has seen runaway success so far, Next Gen’s founders have a reputation for knowing what works in the plant-based food business and being able to bring it notice and attention. Menezes had been the general manager of Country Foods Singapore. Next Gen co-founder and Chairman Timo Recker created German plant-based LikeMeat brand, which was bought by The Live Kindly Collective.
In its first two years, Next Gen Foods raised $130 million. It started with a record-breaking $10 million seed round in February 2021, which was the largest ever for such an early stage plant-based company. Five months later, the company announced its United States launch plans and a $20 million extension to its seed round. As the expansion began in February 2022, Next Gen broke records again with a $100 million Series A round.
The category of plant-based frozen treats is getting quite crowded, though there are fewer players in gelato. The only large manufacturer that comes close is Unilever’s Talenti, which makes a dairy-free variety containing eggs. Next Gen said in an email that gelato is known for its creaminess and is a difficult dairy product to produce.
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