Mochi ice cream pioneer Little Moons is to open a new factory to meet booming global demand after more than doubling sales last year.

The brand, which sold a stake to private equity player L Catterton in early 2022, will open a 50,000 sq ft facility in Kettering next year to scale up production and capitalise on growth in the UK and abroad.

The investment was announced alongside new accounts that show booming sales across key markets.

Total sales rose to £68.5m for the 18 months to 30 December 2022 – up from £25.5m on the previous 12-month period. It means revenue more than doubled on a comparative basis.

UK sales grew from £13.6m to £35.2m thanks to growth in UK grocery distribution, multiple new flavour listings and significant investment in marketing and sampling.

This helped the brand become the eighth largest ice cream brand in the UK and the second fastest growing by units in the top 10 [IRI].

Continental European sales were up from £11.7m to £25.5m as it more than doubled sales in France and secured key listings in DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) as well as Italy, Spain, Norway and other countries.

Rest of the world sales reached £3.8m from just £0.1m in the previous 12-month period, after launching into Australia in October 2022 via retailer Woolworths and growing its presence to 28 countries worldwide.

In addition to production capacity, Little Moons has invested in teams on the ground in France and Germany to accelerate growth, as well as a new permanent office space for its head office teams in Farringdon, London.

“These significant investments in setting the business up to succeed over the next five years are a signal of the commitment that founders Vivien and Howard Wong have to building a powerful global brand in ice cream and sweet treats,” Little Moons said.

L Catteron’s significant minority shareholding was understood to value the booming business at more than £100m.

Little Moons founders Howard and Vivien Wong retained a controlling stake after the investment.