Mars Inc., the family-owned food conglomerate, recently announced its acquisition of Kevin’s Natural Foods, a renowned brand known for its high-quality sous-vide meals, sauces and side dishes. The deal, which values Kevin’s at approximately $800 million, was pursued after Kevin’s explored various options, including a potential sale earlier this year.
“We are excited to welcome Kevin’s Natural Foods to the Mars Food & Nutrition family of businesses,” said Shaid Shah, global president, Mars Food & Nutrition, in a press release. “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.”
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars operates three major divisions: Mars Petcare, Mars Snacking and Mars Food & Nutrition. With an annual sales revenue of around $48 billion, Mars has solidified its presence in the market. Once the acquisition is finalized, Kevin’s will continue to operate independently as a distinct brand under Mars’ food and nutrition unit.
Mars, renowned for its candy brands like M&M’s and Snickers, has been actively diversifying and expanding its portfolio in recent years. The company aims to focus on healthy food options and snacks. According to Shah, the company plans to achieve growth in its food business through future acquisitions.
Shah emphasized that Mars is dedicated to its mission of enabling healthier and more flavorful diets for consumers worldwide. Kevin’s Natural Foods aligns with this vision, as the company strives to provide convenient, clean and delicious options for busy consumers.
The founders of Kevin’s, Dan Costa, Kelsie Costa-Olson and Kevin McCray, established the company in 2019. McCray, driven by his personal experience with an autoimmune disorder, aimed to create a food brand that prioritized healthy eating habits.
Since its founding, Kevin’s has experienced remarkable revenue growth. In 2022, the company generated $140 million in revenue, representing a 40 percent year-over-year growth. The projections for 2023 are even more impressive, with sales expected to reach $190 million.
The company’s growth trajectory is evident when comparing its revenue figures from previous years. In 2019, Kevin’s recorded a modest revenue of $8 million; however, the following years witnessed substantial expansion, with revenue jumping to $45 million in 2020 and further increasing to $100 million in 2021.
Back in January, McCray revealed to Axios that the company was contemplating two potential paths for its future: an initial public offering (IPO) or a sale. This decision garnered significant anticipation within the industry due to the company’s impressive growth and the attraction of investors towards consumer packaged goods companies amidst an uncertain economy.
Joining Mars Food & Nutrition portfolio of brands will empower Kevin’s Natural Foods to accelerate product innovation and expand their reach to more consumers globally. McCray expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, highlighting the shared mission between the two companies.
The food and beverage sector has experienced a relatively active period of dealmaking in recent quarters, even amid subdued overall consumer deal volumes. Notably, Unilever announced its acquisition of frozen yogurt brand Yasso in North America, while Flagstone Foods acquired Emerald Nuts from Campbell Soup Co.