MCLEAN, Va. -- Mars Inc. and Kind have entered into a strategic partnership whereby Mars will take a minority stake in Kind. The partnership will enable Kind to expand its healthy snacks and "social impact work" around the world, while allowing Mars to gain more presence in the growing healthy snacks category. Mars’ investment gives Kind a valuation of more than $4 billion, five times its value three years ago, according to The New York Times.
Kind will continue to operate independently out of its New York headquarters, led by its majority stakeholders, company founder Daniel Lubetzky and the current Kind team. As part of the agreement, Mars will lead the growth of the Kind business outside the United States and Canada.
The Kind products will remain unchanged, keeping the same recipes that use nutritious ingredients without sacrificing taste, the company said.
"When we introduced our first whole nut and fruit bar in 2004, we set out on an ambitious mission to do things differently and challenge false compromises by offering snacks that were healthy and tasty as well as wholesome and convenient," Lubetzky said. "It's been exciting to see the reach and impact of our mission, and with our partnership with Mars, we're looking forward to continuing on this journey as we empower more people to make healthy eating decisions across the globe."
The company's commitment to nutrition was a driving force behind the new partnership agreement, he said, adding that Mars is a "family-owned, principles-driven company with a proven track record of holding a long-term view." Fostering and growing the company's food-with-a-purpose vision is paramount to the Kind mission. In a letter to the Kind team, Lubetzky said the year-long process of bringing on Mars as a strategic partner was a long and thoughtful one, one that will "best position us to achieve these ambitious goals on a global scale and fulfill Kind's maximum potential."
"This is a partnership built on mutual admiration and a shared vision for growth," said Grant Reid, CEO and president of Mars. "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 and wellness space."
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