Mars chairman reveals how the chocolate giant will look different in 5 years

  • Mars Inc is one of the biggest family-owned companies in the world, with more than $35 billion in annual sales.
  • The 106-year-old company is known for its iconic candy brands, including Snickers, M&Ms, Milky Way, and Twix. But the company’s biggest business is its pet-care business.
  • Business Insider spoke to Mars chairman Stephen Badger, the great-grandson of founder Franklin Mars, to get some insight into what the company has planned for the future. 
  • The biggest change coming to Mars in the next five years will be portfolio transformation, Badger said. 

Mars — the company that makes M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles, and other popular candies — has big plans for its future. 

The 106-year-old company has historically been known for making some of the most popular candies in the world, but the company’s pet-care business is actually where it makes most of its money. And as Mars expands, it’s looking to not only add more new products, but introduce new services as well. 

“The biggest transformation that we’re continually pondering is our portfolio transformation,” Badger said. 

One example of this is its growing pet-care business. Mars bought VCA Inc, which manages some 800 veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada, for $9 billion last September.

Mars’ pet-care portfolio already includes Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, which it acquired in 2015; Pet Partners, which it bought in 2016; and Banfield Pet Hospitals, which it purchased in 2007. The company also makes Iams, Nutro, Pedigree, Royal Canin, and Whiskas pet food.


“We used to be very much a pet-food company. Now we’re a pet-care company with businesses like VCA and Banfield, where we are actually doing day-to-day treatment of animals all the way through to quite serious diagnostics and surgeries and treatments of animals,” Badger said. “So I would say portfolio transformation is the issue at large, and it’s going to come to play in a variety of ways.”

But the company isn’t just looking at expanding its portfolio. It’s also looking for new ways to tell consumers about its products.

“It’s incumbent upon us to perpetually think about the changing nature of consumers’ behaviors, not only in terms of what they want to buy, but where they want to buy it, and how they want to be told about it,” Badger said.

To do this, the company is working on a digital transformation that it hopes will better connect its products with people.

“In terms of digital, one of the biggest opportunities, and the thing that we’re most proud of in terms of what we have, is our brands. Our brands are known around the world, loved around the world, and used by people on a daily basis,” Badger said. “And the ability to actually engage in conversation with people is something that we’re really excited about. And I think that’s the next evolution in terms of what we’re trying to undertake and that really excites me.”

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