M&M's maker Mars backs Kind bar company with investment, sales deal
Daniel Lubetzky, the founder and CEO of KIND, says spreading kindness is the core of his company. VPC
The maker of M&M's and Snickers candy reached a deal to invest in Kind and help expand the reach of the nutritional snack company's products.
The move gives Mars a foothold in the burgeoning business for snacks with natural ingredients. It also greatly amplifies Kind's sales potential.
Mars said Wednesday that it had acquired a minority stake in Kind and would help the company enter international markets.
Mars declined to disclose the size of the investment or the terms.
"This is a partnership built on mutual admiration and a shared vision for growth," Mars CEO Grant Reid said in a statement. "We believe there is tremendous opportunity to build on the success of KIND's product portfolio in new markets. As we continue to expand our business and broaden our portfolio to address evolving consumer needs, we're delighted to partner with a respected leader in the health & wellness space."
New York-based Kind's introduction of whole nut and fruit bars in 2004 set the company on a track to upend the business of snacks.
As many Americans gravitate away from sugary snacks and toward more natural products, Kind has gained significant ground by keeping its distance from traditional candy companies.
The deal with $35 billion McLean, Va.-based Mars aligns Kind closely with one of the world's most powerful candy makers, risking redefining the Kind brand.
But Kind CEO Daniel Lubetzky called Mars "a family-owned, principles-driven company with a proven track record of holding a long-term view," and said he looks "forward to working with them to make this a better world for future generations."
Lubetzky concurrently announced a $25 million donation to the Kind Foundation, which "aims to foster kinder and more empathetic communities."
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.