The Social Innovation Podcast got to sit down and talk to Andre Menezes, the founder of Tindle Foods and Nex Gen Foods. Andre is a man clearly passionate about food and in this case specifically chicken. Singapore-based Tindle Foods produces plant-based chicken and has recently started working in the US and European markets.
In this discussion, Andre talks to us about alternative protein and the changes we are seeing in our society in terms of approaching animal products. We got to ask Andre all the questions we had about alternate protein and got a deeper understanding of the industry and where it is going.
Some of the topics Andre discussed:
  • Reaching the pinnacle of food experiences
  • The importance of team culture
  • The United States as a key market
  • Designing alternative meats that are healthy
  • Comparing the price of plant-based vs natural meat
  • How much protein do we actually need
Other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. An Unforgettable Plant-Based Experience
  2. Plant-Based Meat Is Not Here to Replace Broccoli
  3. A Chicken Is 70% Water
  4. We Are the Only Species That Drinks Milk From Another Species
  5. How Many Parents Would Take Their Kids to See How Meat Is Made?

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Zal Dastur 0:01
Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Social Innovation Podcast. I’m your host Zal Dastur. I’m here with Andre Menezes, who is the co-founder and CEO of Tindle, which is a plant-based chicken as well as the co-founder and CEO of Nex Gen Foods, which is the overarching company. Hi, Andre, welcome to the show.

Andre Menezes 0:21
Hi, Zal. Very nice to be here with you.

Zal Dastur 0:23
Thank you. So just to get us started on your why don’t you tell us a little bit about Tyndall and next gen foods and the work that you guys are doing there?

Andre Menezes 0:32
Sure. I guess it all started by asking ourselves and not being happy with the fact that we as a society as humanity, somehow we have evolved to believe that good food necessarily needs to come from animals. And we’ve been we’ve been allies, the entire production of meat, which is something we all love, in terms of ingredient, and taste and texture, we have been alized, all of the process of getting there with animal farming and how that industry is built to get to the product we want. So both Timo and I, when we started, it comes from not thinking that this is reasonable, and trying to find a way to show to the world and enable the world to have better food that comes that can satisfy everything we want from the ingredients coming from animals, but without the animals involved. That’s how it all started. That’s the genesis of our formation.

Zal Dastur 1:28
Talk to me about the work that you guys do there, and the kind of goal that you’ve set for next gen food.

Andre Menezes 1:33
Sure. So for us to achieve our mission to enable a more sustainable food system. That means without animals involved, we went deep down to understanding what were the key aspects that consumers and chefs and decision makers were looking for are looking for, in the very much loved meat from animals. And then we went to our own toolbox of technologies, and you know, our capabilities around research and development, to see how we could address all of those technical needs using the technology that we carry in developing house to make sure we deliver a product that is then able to fulfill all of the things we really want. And I think no one wants the feathers and the beaks and the eyes of a chicken. But basically the elements that make chicken, so craveable. And then we use food technology and food science to reach those objectives directly from plants without involving animals, our works, basically to develop those products, to then bring them to the world and market then globally as we’re doing. And then make sure we have a scalable business that can reach as many consumers as possible around the globe as quick as possible.

Zal Dastur 2:53
So you picked a particular path to market, your choice was to go with restaurants, chefs meeting their requirements before, say, people at home, which is I think that’s it’s a model that was I believe, replicated by impossible. They chose the sort of f and the Chef Restaurant model versus beyond that went the home model. What was your decision making here?

Andre Menezes 3:18
Sure. And it’s it’s interesting to see that different companies take different routes, yes, the most common route is usually going straight to the groceries. Because the times the revenue pickup is could be faster. And there is a perception, you know that the brain is already present and being there. But for us, the reason why we have looked at this go to market strategy is because looking at plant based meats, the category has been for so long associated with terrible cardboard tastes and experiences that we needed to make sure that we were not just another cardboard sitting on a shelf. And we needed to make sure that clients would understand that and we’ll have a chance of trying with the highest level of expectations around food that even the toughest critics, the chef’s would be happy with. It’s not definitely not the easiest way to go to market. But from our perspective, if you’re able to reach that pinnacle of culinary experiences, that means that your product is great that it behaves and then intended to that we’re going to be able to have consumers having that unforgettable plant based experience. Which is more than just having nuggets while watching you know, TV three minute home. A food experience that’s memorable involves the ambience, that whole entire dish around at times the music around you who were with and those things happen at a restaurant and the food is typically prepared by Chef for us was about reaching the pinnacle of food experiences and making it memorable to consumers educating them that PLANT BASE Foods do not have to taste like cardboard. That’s why we did it. And that’s how we decided to go.

Zal Dastur 5:08
When you start a business like this, it is a very scientific business, right? You’re you’re putting together proteins or putting together different parts, you have to find the right chemicals from the plants to include. But that’s not your background. So how did you come together with your co founder? How did you know? Where did the Where did you guys draw each other’s strengths from?

Andre Menezes 5:29
And that’s a great question. And it’s very important that, to understand that from the beginning of the company with our ambition to make it, you know, the level of excellence we always look for, plus the level of scalability and a global level that we look for. We were very conscious about bringing the best in class best in the world we could find in terms of the team members. Starting from your question about myself and Timo we have very complementary skill sets and experiences. Timo was more involved into produce, getting the factory, the technologies, the processes, the suppliers, everything to produce the plant base in his entire life, and entire career previous previously, and I was involved in everything else from the meat perspective. So go to market global trade of meat and chicken, in particular, retail food services around many countries. And our combination of expertises combined with would be it became a very, very powerful set. But that does not include the answer to your first questions. Neither of us have a background on that, you know the scientific aspects of it. But we listed in in this case, John, our CTO, he has over 25 years of experience in plant based foods only. That’s the level of knowledge we bring to the company. John is a longtime friend and colleague from from Timo. And that’s the level of professionals we brought in from the beginning. So the short version to your question is we make sure that we bring professionals that are the best in class, to fulfill the gaps that we need in the company in order to achieve the objectives we have.

Zal Dastur 7:13
Now, I guess it’s easy to bring the best in class in when you have done one of the largest ever seed rounds for a plant based company, you’ve done one of the largest ever series A rounds for a plant based company, is there any lessons that you took away from the process of raising this money, things that you maybe would do differently? Again, if you had to go through the process, any lessons that you’ve learned that you could maybe share with some of us?

Andre Menezes 7:38
Sure, and I think I would first like to commend you on when you say like, you know, it’s easy to bring the best in class when you have the funds, which is partially true, you know, when I say partially true is because we’re not short of being able to support them with the livelihoods and the salaries that they need to keep their life running. But it’s also far from enough. Some of the best funded companies, not only in the sector, but in any sector are known to be very toxic environments that people do not really feel like working there. And I do not believe that the society at this stage that we are in the beginning of a wave that we’re leaving right now accepts that former industrial revolution way in which you know, capital prevails over anything else. And then the employee employees will be, you know, staying with the company simply because they’re getting a salary that may or may not be competitive. For us, it’s very important to keep the team motivated, align with the purpose with a sense of mission learning as much as they can. You know, we don’t really have very hard centralized hierarchies that we absolutely obey to every, every region, every one counts. You know, if someone is doing something proactively very well in London, that’s something that’s going to be seen and replicated by our company, being in Asia being the US or whatever. Likewise, the same is valid if someone is doing something in Dubai, that’s very noteworthy, we’re not going to shut it down because it’s not coming from a central headquarter. So we have that culture as a company. And that’s very important for us. And I would say that having that makes it easier than having the funds to keep the tenants in house. But to your question about the fundraise, and I’m involved with many founders, who are friends and look at mentoring in I would give one advice to all of them. That’s something I’ve learned that most startups really struggle with, is that if you are a founder, and you’re seeking investment, you’re not seeking investment for your product. You’re not seeking investment for technology, you’re not seeking investment for that, you know, beloved little thing that you have developed, you are seeking investment to full a business. And ultimately, what you need to build is a business. Yes, you have a product you have a technology but that’s not enough. And many founders struggle to understand that. So my key if I could only give one advice, friends, what I do usually is like, make sure you have your head, really anchored on the fact that you are raising capital for a business and all aspects of business must be well rounded up and taken care of, to make sure you have access to that capital. It’s not about owning a product. It’s not about owning a brand. It’s not about your manufacturing capabilities. It’s not about any of that, by itself. It’s about the combination of all of it, and how do they all work together? How is that orchestrated in a way that the business makes sense? That’s the advice I would give to anyone in that phase.

Zal Dastur 10:44
So let me just look at that a little bit more. When you say business? Are you talking purely from a unit economic point of view? Are you talking from a profitability point of view? Are you talking? Obviously, the landscape has changed a little bit in the last few years in terms of where VC funds are willing to fund growth at all costs, irrespective of profitability? Are you saying that when you were pitching your business, you showed the path to profitability, you showed where this could grow into something that was not just gonna be VC funded until an exit

Andre Menezes 11:16
that as well, that’s part of when I say that we have a business plan, that it’s a full holistic business plan, it’s not only a product or brand or anything by itself, that includes a path to profitability, scalability, you know, product market fit in all aspects around the business from how much capital you’re going to consume, where you’re going to employ your capital? What are the unit economics? Like? How do they look like in the future? And why? You know, what do you need as a company to achieve in return how we’re gonna get there in order for this to become a profitable business that a sizeable revenue? So that’s what I mean, by having the whole business plan and the business strategy? Well design? Does it mean is absolutely fail proof? No, we’re still talking about venture capitalist and every investor is very well educated and aware of the risks associated. And it’s not about pretending there are no risks. But it’s about being clear on what the risks are, how you think about them, and how you think about that business growing, and putting it all together that requires a good knowledge about business, and you know, finance and business and all the operational aspects that are needed to scale the business as well. Not to mention obviously go to market, commercial brand communications. All of it is what I mean by when I say business.

Zal Dastur 12:48
So right now we’re talking to you from Chicago, even though it is a Singapore based company, you recently moved there for the business? Because I would imagine that the US is the world’s if not world’s largest market for this type of product, at least it’s the fastest growing, how has been the response in the US for Tyndall?

Andre Menezes 13:09
That’s exactly right. So part of our coaching company is that there’s no founder privilege, right. So here I am relocated to, to drive and to support the driving the growth from here, instead of trying to do that while sitting comfortably. You know, in a headquarter where we could just delegate to a team here. What we’re doing here is basically being close to the market understanding what is needed understanding what are the challenges, what are the tensions, we’re at the frictions, what resources needs to be employed, who we should partner with, and being very close to the business here. That’s valid, not only for myself, in the US, we do have very senior people located in different key portions of the globe. But to your question, US is definitely the biggest single market or country in the world, or a sector. And it is where we see the most potential for the short term, when I say short is zero to five years. Therefore, the need to be to be here from from myself and for the business us already represents. It’s the number one country in our business already, despite the fact that we only launched here this year. And it’s followed by Europe, UK and Germany, which were also launched this year. So that that proves that our strategy of opening those three key markets were was was right. And that’s why we did it.

Zal Dastur 14:33
That’s so interesting. So and it also goes to my thinking that the US, Europe particularly are more the markets that are kind of ahead of Asia, in terms of acceptance of these products.

Andre Menezes 14:47
You could say so from our perspective, what we see is that Asia has a very strong tradition of products that just call it those vegetarian, mock meats and all of those former Let’s call it generation one or whatever we decide to call it. But those products were not really catered to the crowd, we are aiming. And for the crowd, we are aiming, which is the crowd that will make an impact that we want to cause in this world. So people that are actually meat lovers and meat eaters converting into a partial or total diet, you know, in terms of meat consumption lately, at least reducing partially, that crowd is not the consumer of those former like those traditional mock meats. And that crowd is more relevant and more present more prevalent in the US. And in Europe, there is a drive related to animal welfare, sustainability, and health that is driving those this growth across this market. And what we see is that in relative terms, markets, such as the UK, Germany and Netherlands, are incredibly well advanced, and selected places in the US as well, US as a whole, obviously, given the scale and the relative position that it has, becomes the biggest market for our sector in the world, from our point of view, and from the data we have.

Zal Dastur 16:09
What is the difference that you’ve noticed between what a US consumer would want and what an Asian consumer would want?

Andre Menezes 16:18
That’s a great question. Because one of the biggest learnings we have then I was fortunate enough to live in Americas in Europe, in I mean, in Brazil, in the US, in Europe, in Germany, and in Asia. And I had this hypothesis that consumers, the consumers we’re talking about, and they are urban, highly educated, 18 to 35 years old. So Gen Z and millennials, this group of consumers, they’re not really that different across those urban centers. So we see a lot of similarities between our consumers that we see in Singapore, in Amsterdam, in the US, in Dubai, they’re pretty much they’re all driven by the same purposes and values, they all have the same hobbies, they are in the same networks, they speak the same language be primary or secondary language. And we see that similarities are actually much bigger than one would expect. That is something that is also true for chicken if you think about it, while yes, there are preferences between white meat dark meat in selected countries. In the end of the day, the same chicken is cut and shipped across the world. And it’s well loved everywhere. So we do see a lot of similarities. We do see some points of difference. But the differences are usually related to either application tweaks on recipes on how they prefer How To spice series, what are the seasons that are most prominent seasonings that are most prominent in that selected region. But most importantly, the biggest difference we see across those markets is basically just the ratio of this group of consumers I’m talking about versus the entire population. This is where a market like the US becomes more relevant than a market like Indonesia, for example, for us. This is what we mean by a bigger market in terms of advanced, but we think that small group, their behavior is pretty similar.

Zal Dastur 18:16
Andre, you’re Brazilian, and I’ve never had the good fortune of getting to travel to Brazil. But I’ve been told that it is a very meat dominant country. And I wonder, what was the sort of reaction from your family and friends and you know, when you said that you were going to set up this, this alternate protein, this plant based meat company, what did you find culturally, that there was any sort of a pushback that you were getting?

Andre Menezes 18:43
Meat in Brazil is a religion, right? So in its meat represents everything we hear about meat that we should, you know, respect meat as an ingredient and in the common psychology, because in Brazil, that’s exactly the case as well, like in exemplified. So what do I mean by that a barbecue is, is what people would do on the weekends. You know, being able to master a barbecue grill is what men are really proud about, and defines a bit of your manhood as well. You know, being able to cook and serve meat, it’s really what to look for. And if you’re growing in life, what really increase your consumption is basically meat, you know, you’re trading basically a diet of primarily rice and beans to being more meat heavy, more protein heavy, and then maybe less carbs. So that’s how important meat really is in Brazil. It is really a religion. That’s interesting, because like, even for myself, I understand how high meat is really ranked in everyone’s kind of mindset the rationally or not, that also means that you know, it’s basically the level that we want to play in that that help was explaining why we went so high on the culinary side and the experience side. But it did ask what’s the reaction of people when I came up with with these, and I told them, Brazilians are also very open to innovation in general. So they’re curious. And if they see that there’s a trend that’s happening there, in general, open to it. But one thing that I’ve learned very early on in this journey that worries me as a sector, is that consumers even close to us who are caring about the sector, and the reasons behind growing the sector may be disappointed by one wrong experience with plant base. And they may kind of discount the category because of that. It was shocking to me for the first time when I was in the I just arrived in the US and I, I was looking forward to to have my brother trying to for the first time, and he was too. But then when they asked him if he had tried plant these meats before, and then he said, Well, I tried once it’s been a while. It’s not for me, I don’t like you. And I was like, which one? Did you try A or B? And he was like, I don’t know. They’re the same, aren’t they? And I was like, No, they are very different. And they taste very different. If you try a you’re not going to like if you try D, you’re not going to be able to tell the difference. And then he was like, Yeah, I’m not so sure. And then he tried Tinder, he loved it. And when I hosted him at my place, I cooked the dinner secretly serving that the product over Bollinger’s sauce, and he couldn’t tell it was not meat. So that’s the kind of reaction we see around across the board, curiosity around innovation, a trial for curiosity. And then you have two paths. One is a product that performs and you know, there is a repetition coming up, and two, there’s a product that doesn’t perform. And that may actually slow down the category. That’s the thing we see for Brazilians, that’s the same we see everywhere in different, you know, levels of energy.

Zal Dastur 21:56
The follow up question for that is, one is around the health of the product. And some of the reading that I’ve done is said that at the moment, we’re kind of looking at very early stages of innovation in meat in the plant based meat. And technically, if you were to eat actual meat for your body, it may be healthier. So you know, is there Do you have something to say about that? Do you think, comparatively, it’s the same? Are we moving towards where potentially plant based meat could be even healthier than normal meat? Because you’d be able to add certain vitamins and minerals in there that normal meat doesn’t have?

Andre Menezes 22:32
So the short answer is that yes, plant based meats can be much healthier than me and for many different reasons. But I’m gonna elaborate further on the topic because this is a is one of the hottest topics on this space. So the first question that when someone asks about what is healthy and we did that exercise, what’s healthy to us? Maybe different from what’s healthy to me, what do I mean by that may be healthy to me is having less sodium may be healthy to you is having no cholesterol. Because our diet requirements are different plant based foods plant based meats is not here to replace broccoli and carrots and and you know cauliflower in that there is a criticism coming from people who try to bucket plan pays as if it’s supposed to be a salad. If you just want to sell it do eat a salad, fine. But this is something that delivers everything that the meat ingredient does without the animal. And then jumping to the next one. In our case we went we were very careful about that aspect. And we do care immensely about that above anything else. And we went deeply to understand what consumers really want when they say they want something healthy, or they say they want something nutritious. And we found out that consumers are in general and chefs, they’re looking for something that has the same level of protein, absolutely key high level or at least same level or comparable levels of protein, not a higher level of calories. So calorie always ranks very high as well. Not a higher level of fat, you can be the same or lower. We also learned that consumers are looking for my more dietary fibers but it doesn’t rank as high as and everyone is kind of worried about Cholesterol and Sodium. So when we designed the product, we looked at all those aspects on a nutritional side and we made sure that our product will have the same amount of protein in terms of grams proportion as a chicken skinless chicken will have the same amount of calories and the same amount of fats. That’s how we’ve done it. And then obviously no cholesterol and a very low amount of sodium which is very similar to a very lightly brined chicken breast which no one would eat without at least a little bit of salt. That’s how we have taken on the nutritional side. We also heard consumers that there is a gender I’m concerned about the number of ingredients. And when made in also not having ingredients that are not recognizable or heavily genetically modified and things that will make them feel uncomfortable, right? So we made sure to use only nine ingredients, all of them are not genetically modified. And we made sure to address all of those concerns. None of them is a novel ingredient, we’re not using something that’s forbidden to be sold anywhere in the planet. And that’s part of the design of it. And part of the reason, and we made sure to address those aspects. So yes, health aspects are extremely core to everything we do. We designed a product that suits the needs and understandings for all consumers. Most of the information that interests behind the propagation of facts that may not be so accurate about plant based meats are some generalizations. But it’s also important to remind that more than 70% of the antibiotics consumed in this planet are not going for it to humans, that the way we grow animals is not at all natural. And we have been living with genetically modified animals or feed to animals eating a ton of antibiotics throughout their lives to enhance their growth. Yes, antibiotics to enhance growth in particularly with chicken and in some other species with hormones, not at all. A natural and sustainable way of farming PLANT BASE can actually serve all of that by taking the animal farming out of the equation.

Zal Dastur 26:34
So then the next question I want to ask is that, you know, we have been doing industrial farming for what, maybe 200 years approximately, which is given a lot of time for men to figure out how to get that piece of meat, whether it’s chicken or beef to your table for technically as cheap as possible. That way you’re talking about economies of scale, you’re talking about, as you said, pumping animals full of antibiotics, as well as things to make them larger so that each chicken is more heavier. And you are at the very early stage of the lifecycle of the whole category. Right? The whole categories may be at most, like 10 years old in the way that we’re looking at it right now. So do you see a point where there’s going to be a fair cost comparison between chicken that is, you know, made in a factory as it were, and the meat that you are producing in your factories?

Andre Menezes 27:28
Absolutely no doubt about it, I would even say plant based will be cheaper. And for it to be cheaper. The key aspect is basically the scale, which today’s do a tiny fraction of the overall meat, obviously, that’s the key number one factor. But there’s a reason for that. And the reason is because it’s way more efficient and consumes way less resources. But then to your next question. So why is it so cheap today, then, I mean, if you think about it, chicken is 70% water, if we extend our views jointly hearing, we do an exercise of thinking ahead 50 years from now, although I don’t think we need to go that far, but 50 years just to make the exercise more clear. And if I tell you that we are exporting 1000s of tons of water, fresh water out of a country per month into another country and not really charging much for it 50 years from now, knowing that the water is, you know, freshwater is not the most infinite resource we have in the planet right now. And that we’re seeing the droughts in California even right and one of the richest places in the world, does that sound like it’s going to be kept at the level, I have full confidence that we will not so as long as there are no subsidies as long as resources are charged for and just having the same scale. PLANT BASE will not only be as cheap as but will actually be multiple times cheaper than animal meat.

Zal Dastur 28:51
So I’ve been a flexitarian for 1314 years now. And that started with me not liking the way that we treated the animals that we were eating and wanting to do something about it. So I basically cut it out from Monday to Thursday, I didn’t eat meat. And then it became so much about climate change and how reducing meat consumption was just better for the planet in general, which only reinforced my beliefs. And my thinking is that anything and I say this more with beef than chicken. If you want to eat a steak, great go and have meat. But in any situation as you describe as Bolognese where you’re putting it in a sauce where you’re putting it in a bake pie or anything like that, there is absolutely no reason why the plant based alternative should be used or should not be used, I should say. Just because the taste is invariably the same, the texture is very similar and you can get it all without hurting an animal and I hope that in much less than 50 years people will come to this realization on their own and you will start seeing that people will start getting judged for having meat like animal based meat on their plate versus an alternative, because of many of the reasons that you said, the scarcity of resources, potentially including the full cost of that animal into the price, as opposed to what we’re doing now, which is a heavily subsidized bit of food that we’re getting, because we think of it as such a natural part of our eating.

Andre Menezes 30:20
Absolutely. Everything described to me so accurate. And so in line with the reason and how with the reason why we do what we do, and how we think. And our view on that is that we are not we’re very pragmatic on a way that we say that we don’t believe that animal farming will cease to exist, we don’t believe that meat industry will cease to exist. But we’re also very pragmatic in saying that 90% of the occasions and how we eat meat, the absolute with penalize that it doesn’t need to be meat, it doesn’t make that much of a difference, it’s more protein than we need, we’re not really enjoying. And we’re not really even being the respect to that ingredient, as we should on the cooking and all that most that really, I don’t know the number, but let’s call it 90%. But for sure, most of the occasions where meat is being served as being you know, not really well cooked, not really well displayed. It’s a dry piece of chicken breasts thrown in between two bands. In fry. It is a ground, you know, ground beef, served in a sauce, it is all sausage made with minced pork with a lot of our ingredients that you don’t even know what goes inside. That’s most of the meat. In terms of occasion, it’s not that highly curated experience, we’re enjoying something special. It’s not a steak, as I said, it’s not associated sashimi, or that very well put together a dish made by a chef respecting that ingredient on the highest level of culinary, right? So with Benelux it and why we must say well, but we need protein. Actually, if you look at the history of the world, the consumption of meat per capita, and you can take the US but any developed economy as a proxy, you will see that that growth has happened over like in the last 50 years primarily before that the consumption that we had was a fraction, someone was teaching us very effectively, that we need to have bacon and sausage sausage for breakfast together with eggs, and then not a piece of steak for lunch, and then snack being jerky or whatever shape of meat again, and cheeses or whatever, right. And then later at night, as well having dinner. And even in having dinner that’s also with a piece of meat or chicken or whatever. And the same goes for dairy. We’re the only species that drinks milk from another species. And that’s that’s the result of an education that goes for so long with a lot of money behind. We are on the edge of that creation of the new category, as you said, and we take the paradigms for granted. So it kind of feels that SOS low and we have this urgency. But if you think about what’s happening right now, is that there is a general generational shift that is already happening, and that the kids from you know, our kids will not learn as we did how much meat they should you know, they should definitely eat that that’s not the best ingredients. That’s not we’re going to teach our our kids we’re being educated and that generational shift will be major that’s about to happen. In some places, it’s already happening. In others it will not. And frankly, it shouldn’t be surprising. You probably have seen many kids and parents, either kids being surprising surprise and denying eating meat when they realize it comes from an animal for the first time. What parents tell me how many parents are actually happy to take their kids to know and see how a cookie is made. Probably all of them tell how many parents are happy to take their kids to see how how meat is produced. I’m pretty sure no one right that shows how we have this societal paradigm that we are part of. But how it doesn’t make any sense. Things that don’t make sense can be challenged and can be transformed. And that’s what’s happening right

Zal Dastur 34:05
now. I’m amazed every time on this show how many people reference children. And one of the when I talk to my friends, one of the common reasons that they give for being let’s say vegetarian twice a week or three times a week is because oh my kid came back from school. And she told me that she doesn’t want eat meat. And so now she’s a vegetarian, and it’s just much easier for the household if we cook, you know, three meals vegetarian instead of having to make her different food every day. And it’s amazing to see that the influence coming from the children up into the parents because I think at some level, the parents know that what the kids are saying is true. And what the kids are saying is right, and they’re kind of taking that as a as a motivation to make that change.

Andre Menezes 34:57
And you mentioned something before Very few people will kind of feel ashame. Eventually, I was reading an article that actually, between Gen Z is if they go to a Starbucks or any coffee shop or whatever, and someone orders a regular milk, they’re kind of like, not Not really. I mean, you got it, you got not order to not order the new Chroma car, right? Because if not, you are not going to be well seen and accepted in this group. And that’s major. And this is like, you know, that wouldn’t happen 10 years ago, if

Zal Dastur 35:31
that’s crazy, that is really amazing. And I, as I said, I hope that starts happening with with me, you know, I being an Indian, I’m traveled to a lot of my parents parties, where the, you know, the sort of Indian aunties are around, and I’m picturing this one day where these aunties are looking at someone saying, Oh, you’re, you’re, you still serve actual meat? Oh, you know, we stopped doing that years ago, you know, we don’t do that at all that societal pressure to say, we know that this is wrong, people shouldn’t be doing this. And that pressure coming from your peer group more than it comes from the outside world.

Andre Menezes 36:04
Yeah, we are all you know, we as a species, we live in groups and society, and we have the, the urge to be part of something right and be part of a group and that generational shift will definitely drive it in terms of mass adoption. And what I love seeing is that history teaches us a lot of examples that are very similar. And if you look at the transition between horses, everyone’s talking about EVs and internal combustion engines. Fair enough, it’s happening right now, but horses to cars from animal based transport to you know, mechanical and other technology that replaced was it exactly the same? Was anyone trying to replicate the horse leg and all this stuff? No, it’s you know, it’s slightly different in many angles better in some order back then probably not, you know, cart was noisy would break down, we wouldn’t find that liquid to burn as easily as he would find food for your horses. But those things are evolving, and people just get used to it. And it sounds absurd right now to have a horse to to commute daily, in downtown Singapore. But it was actually the case 100 years ago in Chicago, it’s just it’s all happening. It’s evolving history teaches us that this has happened many times, it’s just in the in the edge of the next big one.

Zal Dastur 37:20
I’ve actually thought many times that in 2030 years, it may be possible that a car becomes like what a horses now where firstly, only people that are really interested in driving it will own a private car, you’ll have to go to a special place, you can’t just take it on the road, you have to take it to a track, you have to take it to a designated area where humans will be allowed to drive cars, it will be there’ll be collectors that will really only be for very wealthy people, I think that we’ll probably see that transition with the internal combustion engine, when everything moves to an automated electric fleet. It’ll only be the very passionate people that are actually driving cars. And that will be something that will as a skill will probably fade from humanity after, you know, 50 or 100 years.

Andre Menezes 38:04
And again, that’s not the problem with pollution, right? Having those guys are definitely not what’s making the planet become what it is. And the same goes for meat, whether one chooses to not eat meat because of the animal consideration, or if that someone chooses to eat despite of the animal consideration. That’s an individual choice in end of the day, but having it as a society totally penalized as it is and with all the impacts we know will exist. That’s not that doesn’t make sense. But yeah, we all love the taste and the texture. So the big question that we try to solve everyday is how can we make sure people have access to a delicious, nutritious, you know, craveable ingredient that delivers everything you want about chicken in our case, without everything that comes with chicken as an animal as a bird? Yeah, that’s what we look for. That’s why we do what we do. And you know, we are very positive that this is just the very beginning of a very meaningful transformation.

Zal Dastur 39:02
Andre it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you really learn so much about the alternative protein space. Thank you for your time and for being on the show.

Andre Menezes 39:09
Thank you so much. It was my pleasure being here with you.