Next Gen Foods Acquires Dairy-Free Gelato Startup Mwah Ahead Of U.S. Retail Debut

Food & Drink

Next Gen Foods, the producer of plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE, has acquired Mwah for an undisclosed sum, two years after making an initial investment in the dairy-free gelato startup. The deal is expected to enable the alternative protein powerhouse to continue diversifying its product offerings, while meeting increasing consumer demand for sustainable food experiences, executives anticipate.

Mwah’s cofounders, Damian Piedrahita and Claudia Comini, will join Next Gen Foods as new shareholders as a result of the transaction, and will remain as leaders for their brand, overseeing R&D and business expansion, two parties confirmed.

“We’re thrilled to be joining the Next Gen Foods family. 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,” Piedrahita said in a statement. “Our plans are to introduce signature creamy and indulgent products this year – with our unique, best-in-class gelato experience.”

Next Gen Foods previously raised $100 million in a record-breaking series A round in the plant-based meat category, with support from Alpha JWC, EDBI, MPL Ventures and existing investors, Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform and GGV Capital.

“When we started Next Gen, we knew we would need to expand into multiple categories in order to create the impact we wanted to, which included a variety of expansion paths,” said Andre Menezes, who cofounded the company, alongside industry veteran Timo Recker. “We had the chance to meet the cofounders of Mwah back in 2019… and have been impressed with their unique products and R&D capabilities, as well as their entrepreneurial drive to make it a global brand.”

In 2022, Next Gen Foods also led Mwah’s $2 million-plus seed funding as the startup developed more plant-based prototypes mimicking the flavor and texture of traditional dairy. “The founders have demonstrated their ability to crack one of the hardest aspects by creating the indulgent dairy experience,” Menezes added. “Mwah isn’t limiting itself to a dairy alternative source — cashews, dates, oats, etc., but instead is focused on the right source for the right consistency and creaminess of the product developed.”

During the upcoming Expo West in Anaheim, California, Next Gen Foods will showcase its new range of faux chicken products, including nuggets, patties, popcorn, tenders, and wings, in addition to an early preview of select items that will launch in U.S. grocery stores later this year. The company will also feature a recipe made with Mwah’s latest Madagascan Vanilla gelato and TiNDLE’s new retail-ready products.

“This marks the first time we are showing both products in the U.S., following TiNDLE’s recent grocery debut across over 6,000 grocery stores in Germany,” said Menezes.

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