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Michael Mendes

Fmr. Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner

Just Desserts

San Francisco, CA, USA

Michael Mendes
Jim Mellon
Burnbrae Group
Andy Merrill
Prosek Partners

Michael Mendes’ Biography

Michael Mendes is a long-standing food industry veteran and Fmr. CEO & Managing Partner of artisanal bakery, Just Desserts. Founded in 1974, Just Desserts quickly became a household name across the US, largely due to its reputation of using only the freshest ingredients to produce the highest quality hand-crafted desserts.

As a leader in the industry, Michael has expanded the capabilities of the company, now offering organic, vegan and gluten-free products. The bakery is nut free and soy free, reducing consumer exposure to these common allergens. During his tenure as CEO, Michael has built a new state of the art commercial bakery, positioning the company for growth for the future. He helped validate the capabilities of the new bakery by become SQF, CCOF organic, and certified. Michael enabled the company to achieve the rigorous OU Kosher certification, which has been enabled the brand to reach a broader consumer audience.

Previously, Michael served as CEO, Chairman and President at Diamond Foods Inc. During his tenure, he led the business through significant strategic acquisitions and built a distinct snack portfolio with significant distribution in the US and Europe. He began his career as International Sales and Marketing Manager at Dole Food Company, where he was responsible for steering marketing with a global reach which introduced a wider market to farm-fresh foods.

Michael has served on the boards of the National Raisin Company, Hormel Foods, the Grocery Outlet and on the advisory board of The Wine Group. He served on industry boards including the Grocery Manufacturing Association, Snack Food Association and the NCFC. He has worked to support the community by serving on the board of Envision Education and as chairmen of the San Francisco City Ballet Foundation Board.

He earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BS from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Michael Mendes’ Newsfeed

Baking & Snack
Rolling out a healthy dose of new products

Bakers are bolstering their positions in the better-for-you sweet goods market. Take Just Desserts, which just launched a line of vegan cupcakes. The San Francisco-based company also offers branded baked goods that are free of many major allergens. “We recently became vegan-certified, further validating our program for the most discerning vegan consumer,” noted Michael Mendes, chief executive officer, Just Desserts. “In addition to being peanut-and tree nut-free, we are now eliminating soy from our bakery and have introduced oatmilk as a cream dairy alternative, and that change has already taken place for our vegan line of products.”

Just Desserts CEO Mendes Announces Approval for Vegan Certification

Michael Mendes, CEO of Just Desserts, says “The VEGAN.ORG certification validates that our vegan products fully conform to strict Vegan standards, and we elected to utilize the leading independent Vegan certification to provide this assurance to our customers."

Michael Mendes’ Background

Just Desserts
Fmr. Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner
Jan 2013 - Aug 2021
San Francisco, CA, USA
Just Desserts was established in 1974 in San Francisco and is best known for producing award-winning, premium desserts that are baked only from the finest and freshest ingredients.
Diamond Walnut Growers, Inc.
Chairman, President & CEO
Jun 1997 - Nov 2012
San Francisco, CA, USA
Diamond Foods, LLC was formed in 1912 with the vision of bringing the produce from California’s Central Valley walnut orchards to tables across America. The range has expanded to a wider selection of nuts but remains rooted in the belief that ‘Diamond Nuts are Made for Homemade.'
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Michael Mendes’ Gallery

Previous Board Positions

National Raisin Company
Board of Directors
2012 - Aug 2021
Fowler, CA, USA
The National Raisin Company was founded in 1969 and, since its inception, has become the largest independent producer of dried fruits in the United States.
San Francisco City Ballet Foundation
Board of Directors
Jun 2012 - Jun 2016
San Francisco, CA, USA
The San Francisco City Ballet Foundation supports the development of young artistic dance talent and encourages community performances, festivals and participation in exhibitions.
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Envision Education
Board of Directors & Finance Working Group
Jun 2014 - Jun 2017
Oakland, CA, USA
Envision Education is an organization that educates underserved children. Michael served on the Finance Working Group where he was responsible for the financial development of the organization.


Registrar Corp
Internal Auditor for SQF Edition 8.1 | Credential ID 307615-6516
Jul 2020
Hampton, VA, USA
Registrar Corp assists businesses with US FDA guidelines and regulation compliance. The organization has over 20 offices around the world with partners that include industry leaders, scientists and former US FDA Officials.
AIB International, Inc
Preventive Control Qualified Individual (PCQI)
Sep 2018
Manhattan, KS, USA
As a Preventative Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), Michael is classified as an individual who has successfully completed training in the development of risk-based preventative controls.


Michael Mendes: Creating an Entrepreneurial Environment
Jul 2021
San Francisco, CA, USA
Michael shares how businesses can adopt an entrepreneurial approach to thrive despite the pandemic. He argues that creating a performance-based culture will help inspire employees and help them reach their full potential within the company. An entrepreneurial environment emphasizes agency and transparency allowing “employees to partake in some portion of the benefit if success is achieved”.
Michael Mendes: Creating Greater Cultural and Strategic Alignment
Jul 2021
San Francisco, CA, USA
Michael writes about how cultural and strategic alignment is essential for high-performance companies. He explains that leaders should not only develop strong strategies but also ensure they can be effectively implemented to generate optimal results.
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Michael Mendes’ Education