LONDON — Next Gen Foods, a maker of meat alternatives, has acquired non-dairy gelato startup Mwah! Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2020, Next Gen Foods developed the TiNDLE brand of breaded nuggets, wings, tenders, popcorn pieces and patties formulated with wheat and soy protein, plus Lipi, the company’s proprietary emulsion of plant-based ingredients designed to simulate the aroma, taste and cooking of chicken.
Last year, the company completed a $100 million Series A funding round and opened a research and development center in Chicago. Next Gen Foods has raised a total of $130 million to date and sells TiNDLE products to more than 1,500 restaurants and 6,000 grocery stores worldwide. The addition of London-based Mwah! builds on its recent expansion into the European and US markets.
“When we started Next Gen three years ago, we knew that making a significant impact on the food system would require continuous development of delicious foods that consumers desired,” said Andre Menezes, chief executive officer and co-founder of Next Gen Foods. “This meant we needed to invest in R&D that would help us create products that would not only deliver on our promise to eliminate animal agriculture but also outperform on taste and experience. By joining forces with Damian (Piedrahita) and Claudia (Comini) at Mwah! and expanding our offerings in plant-based chicken category with TiNDLE, we're committed to making sure that everyone can enjoy all the foods they already love.”
Mwah! has created a process combining natural flavorings, plant proteins and lipids to recreate the creaminess and indulgence of dairy products, according to the company. The startup closed a seed round, led by Next Gen Foods, early last year, raising more than $2 million to develop its plant-based Madagascan vanilla gelato, featuring cashews, coconut oil, vegetable fibers, natural flavors, sugar, salt and organic Madagascan vanilla.
Menezes and Jean Madden, chief marketing officer of Next Gen Foods, previously served on the board of directors for Mwah! As part of the acquisition, Mwah! co-founders Piedrahita and Comini will become full-time members of the Next Gen Foods team.
“We’re thrilled to be joining the Next Gen Foods family,” said Piedrahita, CEO of Mwah! “We know they are the right company to help us expand and tap into the rising consumer desire for more innovations in taste and decadence from the dairy category. Our plans are to introduce our signature creamy and indulgent products this year — with our unique, best-in-class gelato experience — and looking forward to hearing feedback from dairy lovers everywhere.”