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2022 M&A in the Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Industry with Raymond James

The world of ice cream and frozen desserts always moves fast, and last year was no exception. With the help of John Barrymore, Managing Director at Raymond James, we’ve compiled a snapshot of some of our industry's most significant mergers and acquisitions during 2022.

 

Date: March 9, 2022 Country: UK Seller: Little Moons

Buyer: L Catterton Transaction Amount: Undisclosed


Last March, the European fund of L Catterton, a market-leading consumer-focused investment firm, acquired a significant minority shareholding in premium dessert brand, Little Moons. Since 1989, L Catterton's made approximately 250 investments in consumer business and has more than $30 billion of equity capital.


Founded in 2010 by siblings Vivien and Howard Wong, Little Moons has an approximate revenue of £50M and an approximate EBITDA of £13M. The brand’s well known for its bite-sized balls of artisanal gelato wrapped in a layer of mochi dough.


By capitalizing on the hit success of the mochi ice cream category, Little Moons’ products are now sold in the retail channel throughout the UK and internationally. With L Catterton's support, Little Moons will be positioned to accelerate its growth and international expansion.


 

Date: April 20, 2022

Country: USA

Seller: Pierre’s Ice Cream Company

Buyer: Ohio Processors

Transaction Amount: Undisclosed

Dairy-related product manufacturer Ohio Processors, Inc. acquired Pierre’s Ice Cream Company from owner Shelly Roth in April. The fourth-generation family-owned dairy manufacturer makes dairy products for private-label and wholesale food service distributors, including whipped cream, ice cream mixes, and coffee creamers.


Pierre’s product portfolio includes premium ice cream, premium sherbets, sorbet, no-sugar ice cream, frozen yogurts, cups, and novelties. Their products are sold through the retail grocer, food service, and contract manufacturing channels (mostly in Ohio and select areas of Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Chicago, and Bermuda).


Like Pierre’s Ice Cream Company, Ohio Processors, Inc. was founded in the 1930s and maintains a strong family heritage and shared values.

 

Date: May 20, 2022

Country: USA

Seller: Dippin’ Dots

Buyer: J&J Snack Foods

Transaction Amount: $222 million


May brought the announcement of a large acquisition deal between Dippin’ Dots and J&J Snack Foods.


Founded in 1988, Dippin’ Dots was the first in the industry to use a patented cryogenic freezing process to create “beaded” ice cream. The innovative freezing and packaging process enables the products to be distributed easily in entertainment and recreational venues, such as theme parks, stadiums, and festivals.

“This transaction was valued at approximately three times the sales and will generate substantial operational synergies,” says Barrymore.


Like J&J Snack Foods, Dippin’ Dots is an iconic, differentiated brand offering a unique take on the frozen novelty and beverage business. The acquisition will accrue J&J’s earnings per share and add significant tax benefits.

 

Date: June 29, 2022

Country: USA

Seller: Eclipse Foods

Buyer: Led by Sozo Ventures, with contributions from Forerunner Ventures, Initialized Capital, Gainels, and KBW Ventures

Transaction Amount: $40M+


In June, plant-based frozen dessert company Eclipse Foods raised over $40M in a Series B funding round led by California-based venture capital company, Sozo Ventures. This brings the total amount of money raised by Eclipse Foods to over $60M.


Eclipse’s ice cream, which uses a proprietary blend of non-GMO plants, has scaled faster and more efficiently than its competitors. The most recent funding will fuel the business’s rapid growth in retail and food service, accelerate R&D on Eclipse’s proprietary plant-based dairy platform, build the brand’s world-class team, and drive awareness for Eclipse as the world’s first true dairy replacement.

Eclipse Foods’ success is due to its proprietary formulation and approach to creating premium frozen desserts. Led by a talented team, the brand works diligently to truly replicate dairy ice cream's taste, texture, and functionality while ensuring it’s fully plant-based. The company offers more than 25 flavors at top retailers nationwide.


Eclipse Foods has an impressive retail presence growth of 2100 percent with Whole Foods, Albertsons, Vons, GoPuff, and various other retailers. Its foodservice partnerships include launching the first nationally-available non-dairy milkshake with Smashburger.

 

Date: October 11, 2022

Country: South Korea

Buyer/Seller: Lotte Group

Transaction Amount: Undisclosed

October brought about a merger between two subsidiaries of South Korean-based Lotte Group, which owns large ice cream brands such as Screw Bar, Watermelon Bar, World Cone, Piggy Bar, Jewelry Bar, and GooGoo. This consolidation of Lotte Confectionary and Lotte Foods will enhance competitiveness against rivals and improve operating efficiency.


In business since 1967, Lotte Group is known for its chewing gum, snacks, ice cream, milk fat, milk processing, meat processing, and other food manufacturing products. The Group plans to expand its exports by utilizing its network of global subsidiaries in eight countries.

 

Date: December 7, 2022

Country: USA

Seller: Wells Enterprises

Buyer: Ferrero Group

Transaction Amount: Undisclosed


Wells Enterprises, maker of ice cream brands Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop, Halo Top, and other branded and private-label ice cream products, was acquired by Ferrero Group in December. The acquisition will help Ferrero achieve its strategic growth ambitions for the ice cream category and assist with Wells' vision for accelerated growth.


As family-run companies, both brands have a proud heritage, extensive confectionery and ice cream experience, and well-loved products. Around since 1946, Ferrero launched in Italy before becoming a global leader in sweet-packaged foods such as Nutella, Kinder, Tic Tac, and Ferrero Rocher. Wells Enterprises is a 100-year-old brand that, like Ferrero, provides customers worldwide with high-quality, premium, sweet-packaged food products.


“This agreement brings together two of the world’s biggest ice cream and confectionary leaders,” notes Barrymore. “It promises lots to come for the ice cream category.”

 

Date: December 22, 2022

Country: USA

Seller: Trü Frü

Buyer: Mars

Transaction Amount: Undisclosed


Whole-fruit snacking brand Trü Frü, which helps meet demand in the better-for-you snacking category, was acquired by Mars, Inc. in late December.


Trü Frü's innovative snacks – made of whole fruit covered in premium chocolate – are available nationwide in frozen and shelf-stable formats. Since 2017, the brand’s total sales have increased by more than fivefold.


While expanding its health and wellness portfolio with this acquisition, Mars will also help Trü Frü strengthen its operations, broaden its distribution, and accelerate its growth.


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ABOUT INNODELICE

Founded by former executives in the ice cream industry, INNODELICE aims to create a worldwide ecosystem of solutions within the frozen dessert industry. Thanks to the relationships fostered by INNODELICE, manufacturers, brands, importers, distributors, and suppliers can discover, buy, and sell solutions to grow their businesses. These solutions include co-manufactured and branded products and innovative and competitive ingredients, packaging, and services. Our collaboration model generates lower costs and fewer risks for our participating partners while optimizing their time to market. To learn more about INNODELICE, contact Andrea Montreuil or visit www.innodelice.com.

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