Little Moons has hired industry heavyweight Mike Hedges to lead the mochi ice cream brand into its next stage following the recent investment by US private equity firm L Catterton.
Hedges joins the business as CEO on 4 April to support further distribution expansion in the UK and overseas.
Little Moons has enjoyed explosive growth in the past year as it became a viral hit on social media, scoring the brand listings with all the major mults.
Its mochi balls were the number-one driver of growth in the ice cream category in 2021, adding £18.5m in incremental retail sales value [Nielsen Scantrack MAT to w/e 2/11/21].
Hedges will work with brother-and-sister co-founders Howard and Vivien Wong, who retained a majority holding following the sale of a significant minority stake to L Catterton, which valued the brand at more than £100m.
Hedges told The Grocer that Little Moons’ growth had been “astounding” and his job was to take it to the next level.
“I’ll help with brand building and UK and international distribution, working alongside Howard and Viv. They’re completely engaged, and really up for the next phase of growth.”
A statement from Little Moons added: “Mike is an experienced leader of food businesses. He’s had a long career in fmcg, and has led businesses as they scale, growing distribution both domestically and internationally and nurturing and building brands throughout the process.”
The business said Howard and Vivien remained “fully committed” to the brand as it scales. “The addition allows both to focus on key projects to enable that growth.”
Hedges has 30 years’ experience in the fmcg industry, spending two years running posh crisps maker Tyrrells and holding senior roles at Twinings, InBev UK and Bulmers.
He was also brought in by snack brand Propercorn as CEO in 2018, spearheading expansion and driving the business towards a sale to PE firm Exponent in 2021.
Hedges is currently chairman of challenger confectionery brand Doisy & Dam, joining last year.