Next Gen Foods acquires dairy-free gelato startup Mwah ahead of US retail debut

Next Gen Foods, the maker of plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE, has acquired Mwah for an undisclosed sum two years after an initial investment in the non-dairy gelato start-up. The deal is expected to allow the alternative protein powerhouse to further diversify its product offering while meeting rising consumer demand for sustainable food experiences, executives expect.

Mwah’s co-founders, Damian Piedrahita and Claudia Comini, will join Next Gen Foods as new shareholders as a result of the transaction and will continue to lead their brand and oversee R&D and business expansion, two parties confirmed.

“We are thrilled to become part of the Next Gen Foods family. We know they are the right company to help us expand and serve the increasing consumer desire for more innovation in flavor and decadence from the dairy category,” Piedrahita said in a statement. “Our plans this year are to introduce signature creamy and indulgent products with our unique premium 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 launched Next Gen, we knew we needed to expand into multiple categories to achieve the desired impact, which included a variety of expansion paths,” said Andre Menezes, who co-founded the company with industry veteran Timo Recker. “We had the opportunity to meet the co-founders of Mwah back in 2019… and were impressed by their unique products and R&D capabilities, as well as their entrepreneurial drive to grow Mwah into a global brand.”

In 2022, Next Gen Foods also led Mwah’s over $2 million in seed funding as the startup developed more plant-based prototypes that mimic the taste and texture of traditional dairy products. “The founders have demonstrated their ability to crack one of the most difficult aspects by creating an indulgent dairy experience,” added Menezes. “Mwah is not limited to one alternative source of dairy products – cashews, dates, oats, etc., but instead focuses on the right source for the right texture and creaminess of the product being developed.”

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

“This is the first time we’re showing both products in the US, having recently launched TiNDLE in over 6,000 grocery stores in Germany,” said Menezes.

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