A variety of bars obtained by the manufacturer of sneakers

Mars, the company behind M&M and Snickers, is acquiring the creator of Kid Bar, which celebrates snack artificial flavors and a lack of preservatives, company executives told The New York Times in an interview.

The deal for Kind North America comes three years after Mars, which had a minority stake in a privately held giant in the candy industry. The terms were not formally announced, but people with information about the deal said it was valued at around $ 5 billion.

Kind, founded in 2005 by Daniel Lubetzky, sells bars in flavors such as cranberry almonds and dark chocolate and emphasizes clear packaging and simple ingredients. A deal with Starbucks in 2009 helped expand the crowded snack market. Now it also provides granola, cereals and other products.

The deal is a wager on the sustainability of the healthy snacking industry, as Mars goes beyond its long-established brands such as Twix and Skittles. Mr. Lobetzky said the sale would continue to see the Kind for a longer period of time and consider new products, geographic expansion and potential, acquisitions.

“We don’t have to worry about a return in 2021,” Mr. Labetzky said. “We can think of investments that make sense for two, three, five, 10 years.”

Mr. Lobetzky said that he would remain involved in the company and retain a stake in Kind. Mr. Lobetzki, a Mexican-American entrepreneur, has made social change an important part of the company’s mission. Among his philanthropic efforts is The Kind Foundation, which helped deliver items such as food and skin care products to frontline workers earlier this year as they battled the epidemic.

For Mars, the deal comes as the company plans a future ahead of its candy. One of the largest private companies in the country, Mangal owns several pet-food brands, including Iams, Pedigree and Royal Canin. It has made large investments in the pet care industry for $ ‘s.’s billion over the years in veterinary company VCA Inc., and Europa’s AniCura, a chain of animal clinics and hospitals.

When Mars bought a minority stake in Kind in 2017, the company valued it at $ 4 billion, looking to capture a wildly popular snack brand that offered a healthier alternative to chocolate bars, while Kind Was attracted to the international foothills of Mars. Since then, of course, the epidemic has changed how people shop for food and food, and how companies pitch new products. Sales in the Kind began when the epidemic began, Mr. Lobetzki said, as Homebound stocked up on snacks like its bar and the company benefited from a strong online presence.

But snacks are under pressure, as there is still little or no business in corporate cafeterias, airports, and coffee shops. It has also become harder for food companies to introduce new products as supermarkets are limiting shelves to items they know will be popular.

An individual sample, a traditional way to bring a new product to market, poses a health risk.

“It’s challenging in the year of Kovid to introduce new items around the world,” Mr. Lobetzki said, “gaining a lot of traction globally, but it’s just taking as much time as we can Would like it.”

In that backdrop, at least in the short term, trends have reversed that endanger stalwart food brands such as General Mills, Kellogg’s and Campbell Soup, which have seen sales increase during the epidemic. The largest food companies in the United States have for years struggled to compete against innovation driven by new niche brands that first infiltrated Whole Foods and later into traditional grocers such as Kroger and Costco.

“I very much believe that disruptive brands have a very long future – much less so in 2020 and 2021,” Mr. Lobetzky said.

Nevertheless, Kidd sales have grown from about $ 1 billion at the end of 2017 to about $ 1.5 billion, Mr. Lubetzky said. It has expanded its reach to 35 from five countries, including China, Germany and France, and expanded its range of products and includes frozen items, leaning on Mars’ technology to make dairy-free frozen treat bars. .

“When we launched this partnership, I said that it was built on mutual appreciation and a shared approach to development,” MARS chief executive Grant Reid said in a statement. “After three years, you can see the effect, together we have developed a healthy-snacking category.”

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