(CNN) — Candy giant Mars is buying the company behind Kind nut bars and granola to expand into healthier snacks.
Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not disclosed.
It comes at a time when consumers have become increasingly interested in healthy snacks and food products. Mars, which sells candies like M&M’s, Snickers, and Twix, doesn’t have much to offer on that front.
Mars bought a minority stake in Kind in 2017. As part of that deal, it took control of Kind International, helping grow the business outside of the United States and Canada. The deal announced Tuesday will make Mars the owner of Kind North America as well.
With the help of Mars’ initial investment, Kind has started selling its products in over 35 countries and launched new items, like refrigerated nut butter protein bars and healthy, indulgent snacks like dark chocolate bark, the companies said in a press release.
Though sales of sweets have grown during the pandemic, when people have been reaching for comfort foods and holding outdoor gatherings featuring S’mores, there are signs that the pandemicwill ultimately increase consumer interest in healthy foods.
“In this Covid environment … the interest in food as medicine grows even louder,” wrote Nicholas Fereday, senior analyst of consumer foods at Rabobank, in a November report about 2020 food trends.
Kind’s executive chairman Daniel Lubetzky, who founded the company, will maintain a financial stake in Kind and “play a key role in the future development and expansion” of the brand, according to a statement.
Mars is privately held and has a large portfolio beyond its edible offerings. The company owns pet food brands like Pedigree and Whiskas and provides healthcare for pets through pet hospitals.