Healthy acquisition: Mars buys keto and paleo brand

2 Aug 2023

US-based global manufacturer Mars has acquired healthy keto and paleo meal brand Kevin’s Natural Foods, whose products include healthy sous-vide meals, sides, and sauces.

In July 2023, multinational manufacturer Mars announced it has signed an agreement to purchase the health brand Kevin’s Natural Foods, which offers keto and paleo-certified products and dairy, gluten, and soy-free items.

“We are thrilled about joining Mars Food & Nutrition, as it opens new opportunities to reach a broader audience and fulfil our mission,” Kevin McCray, co-founder of Kevin’s Natural Foods, told Ingredients Network, on what its hopes are following the acquisition.

Healthy acquisition: Mars buys keto and paleo brand
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Purpose of purchase

Through the acquisition, Mars Food & Nutrition aims to help Kevin’s Natural Foods continue to grow, innovate and reach more people with its portfolio of products. “Our hope is to empower people to eat well without sacrificing flavour, and with Mars’ support, we are confident that we can make a more significant impact,” adds McCray.

The global name in confectionery and food recognised Kevin’s Natural Foods, a US company based in California, as a high-growth and nutritious meal company, subsequently spurring its purchase. The newly-acquired brand will act as a standalone business within Mars’ Food & Nutrition segment, adding to its core portfolio and recent product innovations.

“Together, we aim to provide consumers with convenient and healthy meal choices that cater to their busy lifestyles, ensuring they can savour every moment of their culinary experience,” says McCray.

Natural food aspirations

“Joining Mars Food & Nutrition offers Kevin’s Natural Foods a significant opportunity to expand our reach and impact, bringing our chef-inspired, nutritious meals to a wider audience,” says McCray.

With Mars’ expertise and reach, Kevin’s Natural Foods sees tremendous potential for further growth. The brand first launched in 2019. Today, its products are available in over 17,000 retail locations across the US, UK, Canada and Mexico, including grocery stores, supermarkets and digital commerce.

“Mars’ support will be invaluable in expanding our presence into even more stores, reaching a wider customer base, and making our products more accessible to consumers,” McCray adds.

With Mars Food & Nutrition, Kevin’s Natural Foods aims to transform how people approach their culinary choices, providing convenient and health-conscious meal options that suit their busy lifestyles. “We are thrilled about the opportunities to accelerate innovation and introduce more culinary creations that cater to evolving tastes and preferences,” McCray says.

Aligning vision, values and product mix

Kevin’s Natural Foods states its vision revolves around empowering individuals and families to lead healthier lives by offering culinary shortcuts to delicious and nutritious meals.

The brand’s products include chef-inspired sous-vide meals, sides, and sauces, crafted to cater to various tastes and dietary preferences. Kevin’s team states it is committed to delivering convenient, flavourful, and wholesome options that suit the busy lifestyles of its consumers.

“The acquisition of Kevin’s Natural Foods aligns perfectly with Mars Food & Nutrition’s ongoing journey to build a purpose-driven business that enables delicious and healthier eating to be part of consumers’ daily lives,” a spokesperson for Mars told Ingredients Network.

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Kevin’s products complement the core portfolio and recent product innovations Mars Food & Nutrition have launched, including Ben’s 10 Medley in the US and Ben’s One Pan Creations in the UK.

“Kevin’s focus on empowering consumers to eat well without compromising on taste strongly resonates with Mars Food & Nutrition’s ambition to enable delicious and healthier eating to be part of people’s daily lives,” says Mar’s spokesperson.

Health brand appeal

Several key factors drew Mars Food & Nutrition’s attention to Kevin’s Natural Foods. Mars was inspired by Kevin’s innovative approach to crafting chef-inspired, sous-vide meals with bold and diverse flavours. “This creative culinary expertise aligns perfectly with their goal of providing consumers healthier and more enjoyable meal options,” said a spokesperson for Mars.

Kevin’s Natural Foods believe its commitment to using whole foods and simple ingredients resonates with today’s busy consumers by helping them prepare healthier food within minutes without sacrificing quality or flavours. “Kevin’s remarkable growth since its establishment and its dedicated and passionate consumer base made it a compelling addition to the Mars Food & Nutrition portfolio,” a spokesperson for Mars says.

“As a standalone business within Mars Food & Nutrition, we’ll be able to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit and authenticity of our brand while getting the support and capabilities to continue our long-term growth journey,” said Dan Costa, CEO and co-founder of Kevin’s Natural Foods, in a statement announcing the acquisition.

“The Kevin’s Natural Foods team has delivered impressive growth since it was founded four years ago, and we look forward to drawing on our experience of nurturing and scaling founder-led brands to help bring their products to even more people,” said Shaid Shah, global president of Mars Food & Nutrition.

Mars’ acquisition of Kevin’s Natural Foods includes an exit of Kevin’s Natural Foods’ minority partners, an international investment management firm, TowerBrook Capital Partners and NewRoad Capital Partners. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, subject to customary regulatory approvals.

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