Mars Wrigley’s travel arm to launch KIND bars in airport shops

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

With Mars holding a minority stake in the business, KIND will now reach a broad audience in travel retail. Pic: GettyImages/vhichie81
With Mars holding a minority stake in the business, KIND will now reach a broad audience in travel retail. Pic: GettyImages/vhichie81

Related tags Kind snacks Mars incorporated Mars wrigley confectionery Travel retail Snack bars convenience channel Snacks M&A Nuts Pinnacle foods

The retail expansion (outside of the US and Canada) marks another big move for KIND, two years after Mars Inc. staked a minority claim in the snack bar disruptor.

KIND might have had a tough time permeating the crowded shelves of travel stores without the help of a major player like Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail (MITR).

“The reason we are introducing this to our channel is that our consumers are international travelers, and these travelers are looking for more on-the-go snacking options,”​ an MITR spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks.

And there are plenty of customers: nearly four billion people annually travel through airports around the world where they spend some $38bn,​ according to a 2017 GlobalData report.

The Mars subsidiary believes KIND’s ‘proven and strong portfolio’ fills a void in the options typically available at travel retail, while simultaneously ensuring its own commitment to meeting consumer demand – especially for healthy snacks.

“We believe there is tremendous opportunity to build on the success of KIND’s portfolio in the global travel retail market as we continue to broaden our portfolio to address evolving consumer needs,”​ said Raghav Rekhi, MITR’s category director.

Under terms of the agreement, the companies will take advantage of each other’s strengths. MITR will leverage its experience in this particular retail channel, and KIND will reach a massive audience with three of its ‘winning’ variants. For now, it will not pertain to KIND's business in the US and Canada, and where MITR manages the brand, it will be known as BE-KIND.

KIND ripe for consumer travel needs

KIND shook the snack bar sphere when, in 2004, founder Daniel Lubetzky debuted bars made predominantly from nuts and fruit. The brand was one of the first to prominently skip artificial flavors and preservatives, a decision that has no doubt paid dividends in today’s clean label movement.

The company recently announced its first-ever acquisition, scooping up granola bites brand Creative Snacks​. In September, KIND COO Mike Barkley transitioned to the CEO role with Lubetzky stepping back from day-to-day operations. The growing company also hired​ veterans of Pinnacle Foods, Amplify Snack Brands and Campbell to handle other executive roles.

“We’re proud to partner with Mars, a family-owned, principles-driven company with a proven track record of holding a longterm view,”​ said Lubetzky of the MITR partnership.

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