Natural kids food brand Little Dish has appointed a new sales director as it looks to double sales by the end of 2012.

Andy O'Brien has joined the company from Innocent Drinks, where he worked for more than two years as a grocery controller for Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado and The Co-operative Group.

Little Dish retail sales grew 70% last year to £7m and the company aims to hit £14m by the end of 2012. O'Brien said his key challenge was to develop a coherent toddler category in the chilled aisle.

"There is an entire baby aisle and we're not in it because of the nature of our product," he said. "That's not going to go away but we can start to develop a similar destination for mums in chilled and we're going to have to develop a reason for mums to shop there as opposed to


Heavy investment in marketing and more focused activity with retailers would raise brand awareness, he said, adding that there was a £2bn untapped market in kids meal occasions up for grabs.

Further recipe development and new products were planned this year and the lunchtime market would be the next big focus, he said.

"We're only touching the sides of the kids chilled category and we have a big job to do on awareness," he added.

"More than 100,000 kids enjoy Little Dish each week but mothers are dropping out of the category every minute as their children grow up. We need to ensure new mums know our offering."