Andre Menezes is the CEO of Next Gen Foods. His company is best-known because of TiNDER, which is a plant-based meat that is meant to substitute for chicken. Very recently, Next Gen Foods managed to raise $100 million in a Series A funding round that will be used to fuel its further expansion.
1. Born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Menezes was born in Belo Horizonte, which is the sixth biggest city that can be found in the country of Brazil. The region was settled in the early 18th century. However, Belo Horizonte itself came about in the late 19th century because the leaders of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais wanted a new capital. Nowadays, the city is a regional center of tech, culture, and commerce.
2. Went to the State University of Campinas
Education-wise, Menezes went to the State University of Campinas. Said school is said to be responsible for a much higher percentage of Brazil’s research output than normal, which is supported by how it produces more patents than any other Brazilian organization with the sole exception of the state-owned oil company Petrobras. As such, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that the State University of Campinas is also considered to be one of the best schools in Brazil as well as the rest of Latin America.
3. Studied Mechanical Engineering
In school, Menezes studied mechanical engineering, which isn’t exactly the first field that comes to mind for most people when they think of start-ups centered on plant-based meats. Still, plenty of people go on to work in a field that is very different from what their education prepared them for. Indeed, Menezes started working in finance as soon as he finished working as a procurement intern at Siemens in 2011.
4. Has Extensive Experience with the Food Industry
Menezes has extensive experience with the food industry. This is because he went to work for BRF S.A. in late 2013. For those who are unfamiliar, said company is the product of a merger between two Brazilian food companies called Sadia and Perdigão, which were enough to make it one of the biggest food companies that can be found in the entire world. This is supported by how it employs more than a hundred thousand people. A number that speaks volumes about the size of its operations. Menezes spent six years working at BRF S.A.
5. Was a Supply Chain Consultant to a Joint Venture
Speaking of which, Menezes’s final assignment at BRF S.A. was working as a supply chain consultant for a joint venture situated in Singapore. That is the same place that Next Gen Foods is based out of in the present time. As for why that is the case, Singapore has become something of a hub for food-related start-ups. This makes sense because the city-state has a strong interest in ensuring its food security through modern food production methods. In part, this is because of climate change, which threatens everyone. However, it should also be mentioned that Singapore’s relationship with neighboring Malaysia is a complicated one, meaning that this is a consideration as well. On top of this, the city-state has the necessary infrastructure in place to support such ambitions. Something that can’t be said for most locations out there.
6. Met Timo Recker in Singapore
Unsurprisingly, Menezes met the Next Gen Foods co-founder Timo Recker in Singapore while he was looking into the best plant-based products that were available for distribution at said location. It proved to be a very fortunate meeting. After all, both Menezes and Recker were ready to start something new, with the result that they got Next Gen Foods up and running on October 1 of 2020.
7. His Product Is Versatile
As mentioned earlier, Next Gen Foods is famous for a kind of plant-based chicken called TiNDER. It is interesting to note that Menezes and the rest of Next Gen Foods’s leadership have put a strong emphasis on the versatility of this product. This makes sense because chicken is a very versatile kind of meat, meaning that a similar kind of versatility on the part of a chicken substitute will enable it to target more markets and thus more consumers than otherwise possible. Furthermore, a lack of versatility would highlight the chicken substitute’s nature as a chicken substitute, which is presumably not the best selling point for such products.
8. His Product Is Made Out of Non-GMO Ingredients
On a related note, chances are good that interested individuals can guess that TiNDER is made out of non-GMO ingredients. Simply put, there is an ongoing debate about whether GMO crops can be trusted or not, with the result that a lot of consumers have settled on the position that GMO crops cannot be trusted. As such, if Menezes and the rest of Next Gen Foods’s leadership had gone with the use of GMO ingredients, they would have locked themselves out of a lot of markets. Something that is particularly true because a good chunk of the consumers who are most interested in plant-based meats are also consumers who care about this issue.
9. Has Gone with an Asset-Light Business Model
Next Gen Foods has seen rapid expansion. To a considerable extent, this is because Menezes and the rest of the company’s leadership have gone with an asset-light business model. To name an example, they aren’t doing their own production. Instead, they are entrusting that part of the process to local partners for increased ease.
10. Plans to Focus On Geographical Expansion
Currently, Menezes plans to focus on geographical expansion. His company has plans to introduce other plant-based meats to substitute for other kinds of meats. However, those won’t be available anytime in the near future. For the time being, Menezes wants to focus on breaking into the United States as well as other major markets such as Brazil and China.