Mars Inc. has agreed to acquire KIND North America.
The companies have partnered over the last three years to bring KIND into new geographies and categories. As a result, KIND has expanded into more than 35 countries and into eight total categories, launching new products such as KIND Bark, KIND Frozen Bars, and KIND Smoothie Bowls.
“We are now well positioned to further advance our efforts and continue building a foremost health and wellness platform” said KIND founder Daniel Lubetzky. “Mars is a company that shares KIND’s passion for business as a force for good, and I am confident that together, we will be able to make our small contribution to make this world a little kinder.”
Terms were not revealed, but people with knowledge of the deal said it valued KIND at about $5 billion, reported The New York Times (Nov. 18). Lubetzky will retain his ongoing financial stake.
The deal bets on the profitability of the healthy snacking industry as Mars looks beyond its traditional confectionary brands.
Mondelez International’s 2020 State of Snacking report found that consumers are continuing to highlight the importance of snacks that enable them to lead healthier lifestyles, reported Vending Times (Nov. 12). Fifty-four percent of respondents relied on snacks for nourishment during the pandemic, saying that snacks have been “nourishing to their body, mind, and soul during the pandemic.”
Another survey from CVS Pharmacy found that nearly three in five Americans are choosing better-for-you snacks and meal solutions more often than they would have prior to the pandemic. The report highlighted that more than half of those who purchase better-for-you snacks/meal solutions for themselves purchase nuts/trail mixes, and a similar proportion (55%) purchase snack bars.
The acquisition puts Mars in a favorable position with consumers as some of KIND’s main products include better-for-you snack bars that include nuts.
When Mars bought a minority stake in the company back in 2017, it was looking to be a part of a popular snack brand that offered a healthy alternative to candy bars, while KIND was attracted to Mars’ international footprint.
Lubetzky noted that the sale will allow KIND to take a longer view and consider new products, geographic expansion, and acquisitions. “We don’t need to worry about getting a return in 2021,” he said. “We can think about investments that make sense for two, three, five, 10 years out.”
KIND’s sales have risen to about $1.5 billion from about $1 billion at the end of 2017.
“When we began this partnership, I said it was one built on mutual admiration and a shared vision for growth,” said CEO of Mars, Grant Reid. “After three years, you can see the impact, as together we have grown the healthy-snacking category.”