Still owned and controlled by its founding family, packaged foods giant Mars is one of the world's biggest private companies, with annual sales of around $35bn. It operates across three main sectors. It is perhaps best-known as one of the world's leading confectionery companies with brands including Snickers, M&Ms and Wrigley's gum. (see Mars Wrigley Confectionery). However the group's single biggest business is petcare. It is the global leader in petfoods with a huge collection of brands led by Whiskas and Pedigree. More recently it has expanded its footprint with acquisitions including premium European petfood brand Royal Canin and the Iams and Eukanuba brands in the Americas (but not Europe). The petfoods business is partnered by an extensive presence in pet healthcare. Mars has expanded its scientific pet nutrition unit Waltham into actual veterinary care through the acquisition of Banfield Pet Hospitals and VCA. Together these operate a network of over 2,000 vet practises and hospitals in North America and Euriope. Slightly smaller than its confectionery and petcare divisions is a small but powerful collection of consumer food brands. The most widely known is Uncle Ben's easy-cook prepared rice and culinary foods - the company invented the concept of branded rice in the 1940s. This is partnered by a selection of other products including Dolmio and Seeds of Change sauces globally and Masterfoods in Australia. Grant Reid is global CEO of Mars Inc. Divisional leaders include Poul Weihrach (president, petcare) and Fiona Dawson (president, food & nutrition). The group is wholly owned by members of the Mars family. Stephen Badger, son of Jacqueline Mars, succeeded his cousin Victoria Mars as company chairman in 2017.
Capsule checked 29th January 2019
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Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Apr 2018: Mars promoted Michele Oliver, currently VP, global chocolate marketing, to a newly created role as global corporate brand & purpose director, with a brief to promote gender and racial diversity across the whole group's marketing.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Jan 2017: Mars Inc is to expand its petcare division, already one of the world's largest, with the acquisition of US veterinary group VCA for $7.7bn, or $9.1bn including debt. That company runs around 800 animal hospitals across the US as well as 60 large diagnostic labs and a chain of doggy daycare centres under the Camp Bow Wow brand. Sales were around $2bn last year. VCA will continue to operate as a separate division under the umbrella of Mars Petcare, and will take over management of Mars's existing vet division, which runs 1,100 pet hospitals under the Banfield, Bluepearl and Pet Partners banners. The deal will make petcare the single biggest business within Mars, ahead of confectionery.
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