Mars Inc.’s plans to combine its Chocolate and Wrigley business segments are expected to help deliver greater value to customers and enable the segment to address consumer trends and insights holistically in what is increasingly seen as one global confectionery category.
Some observers are calling it a “bullish move” on the part of Mars, maker of iconic brands like Snickers, M&M’s and Twix, uniting its chocolate operations with subsidiary Wrigley (maker of Skittles, Starburst, and Orbit gum) to create the Chicago-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery. Privately owned Mars is already the nation’s largest confectionary company.
“The candy market terrain shows a broad array of players that have a significant presence in the U.S. market, but is led by candy behemoths such as Mars and Hershey, which dominate the domestic market,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Rockville, Md.-based market research firm Packaged Facts. “But as in many markets today, there is an influential group of disruptors, especially the superpremium gourmet candy producers and the craft producers.”
Sprinkle continued: “Regardless of whether the newly announced unified company tackles such niche candy segments remains to be seen, but at the very least this is a fortification of Mars’ already formidable assets as the company looks ahead to future growth opportunities.”
Mars’ move comes on the heels of its decision to acquire Berkshire Hathaway’s reported 19 percent share in Wrigley to take full control of the subsidiary. Mars has owned a majority stake in Wrigley since the original acquisition in 2008.
The combination of the Mount Olive, N.J.-based chocolate company with Chicago-based Wrigley is expected to be phased in gradually during 2017. For the moment, the units will remain separate.
Strengthening Customer Relationships
Confectionery is just one of Mars’ diverse global businesses, which also include pet care, food, drinks and symbioscience.
Martin Radvan, current global president of Wrigley and a 30-year veteran of Mars Inc., will lead the new Mars Wrigley Confectionery. Jean-Christophe Flatin will continue as president of Mars Global Chocolate, and Casey Keller, previously regional president of Wrigley Americas, will become president of Global Wrigley.
“Mars Wrigley Confectionery brings together two great businesses, strengthening our ability to create win-win relationships with our customers and improving our opportunities to address dynamic retail and consumer trends together,” Radvan said.
The Mars Wrigley Confectionery business will employ about 30,000 associates in some 70 countries.
“We’re pleased that sole ownership of Wrigley provides us with an opportunity to rethink how we simplify our Chocolate and Wrigley businesses so that we can bring a more holistic approach to this vibrant category,” said Grant F. Reid, president and CEO of Mars Inc.