Little Jude's

Lower-sugar ice lollies aimed at kids is just one innovation helping Jude’s to register double-digit growth

Sales at Jude’s are flying as the sustainable ice cream brand significantly expanded distribution and boosted its offering with wide-ranging NPD, including a move into plant-based products.

Revenues jumped 38% to £15.9m in the year ended 30 September 2022, while the Hampshire-based business also grew its gross profit margins to 42.5%, according to newly filed accounts.

The Companies House accounts also forecast further “material growth” to follow in the coming years.

Operating profits soared from £245k to £1.3m and pre-tax profits moved from £220k to £1.2m as administrative costs remained broadly similar to the previous year.

“We continue to grow our product range and customer base, including expansion into Europe and the establishment of a German subsidiary to facilitate this,” Jude’s said in the document.

“While the near-term economic outlook looks challenging, with continued inflationary and cost of living pressures, the long-term outlook for Jude’s could not be more exciting.”

It comes as Jude’s continues to work with corporate finance advisors at Spayne Lindsay to explore options around bringing in outside investment for the first time in the brand’s 21-year history – as revealed by The Grocer in May.

Jude’s has outperformed the wider ice cream category in recent years, expanding its range of tubs and mini-tubs into more inventive flavours.

Other innovation included handheld variants to rival Magnum, plant-based ice cream, lower-calorie offerings and lower-sugar ice lollies for kids under the Little Jude’s brand, as well as moving outside the category into milkshakes, sauces and desserts.

As well as distribution across all the major mults, Jude’s supplies high-end restaurants, cinemas and theatres on the foodservice side.

Jude’s has been self-funded since Theo Mezger produced his first ice cream in 2002, naming the brand after his wife. Today, the business is run by Mezger’s sons Chow and Alex as co-CEOs, as well as long-time MD James Wright.

Sustainability is central to the brand, with the business committing to making half its products plant-based by 2025, up from 36% currently – with three-quarters of launches in 2022 being non-dairy.

Jude’s is aiming to reduce its carbon intensity per litre of ice cream by 43% by 2030 and claimed, in 2021, to be the UK’s first official carbon negative ice cream brand.

Jude’s declined to comment on the latest Companies House accounts.