Mars Acquires Meal Company to Enhance Food & Nutrition Portfolio

Kevin's Natural Foods will operate as a standalone business.
Kevin's Natural Foods

MCLEAN, Va. — Mars Inc. signed an agreement to acquire Kevin's Natural Foods, a high-growth, nutritious meal company.

Modesto, Calif.-based Kevin's makes chef-inspired sous-vide meals, sides and sauces using whole foods and simple ingredients. The meal solution's mission is to meet the needs of today's busy consumers by helping them eat healthier food within minutes, without sacrificing on bold world flavors.

[Read more: Mars to Add to Health & Wellness Portfolio]

Co-founded by Dan Costa, Kelsie Costa-Olson and Kevin McCray, Kevin's Natural Foods was born out of McCray's desire to be healthier himself, as well as to help other people eat well. Since its foundation in 2019, the company has experienced double-digit growth and is now available across 17,000-plus retail locations.

As part of the transaction with Mars, Kevin's will operate as a standalone business within Mars Food & Nutrition, reporting to Global President Shaid Shah. Kevin's Natural Foods will play a key role in Mars Food & Nutrition's ongoing journey to enable delicious, healthier eating to be part of consumers' daily lives, according to the company.

"We are excited to welcome Kevin's Natural Foods to the Mars Food & Nutrition family of businesses. We have been hugely inspired by Kevin's, a business whose mission fits squarely with our purpose: 'Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow,'" said Shah. "Kevin's products are of a very high-quality, nutritious and convenient, without compromising on flavor, and are enjoyed by an engaged and loyal customer base across North America.

"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," he added.

Kevin's Natural Foods has approximately 180 employees, with products currently sold in the United States, U.K., Canada and Mexico.

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"Mars Food & Nutrition shares our vision and passion for the role food plays in people's lives. We founded Kevin's with the mission to empower even the busiest people to eat nutritious, great tasting meals in minutes," said McCray. "Joining the Mars Food & Nutrition portfolio of brands will allow us to accelerate the development of more product innovations and support our mission of bringing Kevin’s to more consumers across markets."

The acquisition includes an exit of Kevin's minority partners, TowerBrook Capital Partners LP, an international investment management firm, and NewRoad Capital Partners.

"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. It's a tremendous milestone for Kevin's Natural Foods and our team, and we're excited for what's ahead," Costa said.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and expected to close in the third quarter of 2023. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Citi served as Mars' financial advisor, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Covington & Burling, and ArentFox Schiff acted as Mars' legal advisors. Wells Fargo Securities served as Kevin's exclusive financial advisor, and Sheppard Mullin acted as legal advisor.

Mars Food & Nutrition is a segment of Mars Inc. It has some of the world's leading food brands: Ben's Original, Masterfoods, Seeds Of Change, Tasty Bite, foodspring and DOLMIO.