Little Moons plan Kettering factory for popular mochi ice cream production
The little ice cream balls have been a social media sensation
A firm whose Japanese sweet treats sparked a social media craze look set to open a factory in Kettering.
Little Moons are due to take on a unit at Cransley Park, just off Junction 8 of the A14, to boost production of their mochi ice cream balls.
The dessert consists of a small ball of gelato ice cream wrapped in a sweet, soft and chewy rice flour dough, which has been steamed and pounded.
They went viral in the Covid lockdown after some TikTok users filmed themselves on an 'adventure to big Tesco' in search of Little Moons - leading to millions of posts and reviews on social media and Tesco sales skyrocketing by a staggering 700 per cent.
Now Little Moons look set to open a new production site in Kettering, although a spokesman for the firm said they were unable to comment further at this stage.
Little Moons was founded by brother and sister Howard and Vivien Wong, with the products now sold in stores including Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda.
Flavours they sell include Himalayan salted caramel, Uji matcha green tea, honey roasted pistachio, yuzu lemon, alphonso mango, creamy coconut, Madagascan vanilla, strawberries and cream, summer raspberry and Italian roasted hazelnut. Vegan flavours include Belgian chocolate and tropical mango and passion fruit.
Little Moons are due to occupy 'unit 4' at Cransley Park, a factory which has more than 4,000 sq m of manufacturing space.
It is the last remaining unit at the warehouse park, which was declared open for business in 2019 after sitting empty for years.
A planning document said: "The factory is currently empty, but plans are well under way to convert the factory into a food-safe manufacturing space with all the associated facilities and equipment required to produce frozen dessert products, including fridges, freezers, machine halls, storerooms, distribution, staff changing and welfare facilities."
The firm has now applied to North Northamptonshire Council to build a two-storey plant room and retaining wall.
Plans said: "Approval of this plant room and building its structure and fabric will be required in advance of fitting-out the factory and the plant room itself, as clearly no production can take place until the plant room is up and running."