- Mars, Incorporated plans to buy better-for-you snacking brand Trü Frü in a deal that is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Trü Frü makes frozen and shelf-stable snacks out of fruit coated in chocolate. When the brand becomes an official part of Mars, Trü Frü will operate as its own business unit under the larger company’s umbrella. It will continue to be run by its current CEO, Brian Neville.
- Mars, which is best known for its confections but has a deep presence in dinner foods, pet care and food science research, has used recent acquisitions to build up its better-for-you snacking portfolio. Mars bought Kind North America in 2020, and then bought Nature’s Bakery through Kind a month later.
Mars is continuing to bolster its better-for-you snacking credentials by bringing a trendy and quickly growing brand into its fold.
Trü Frü was founded in 2017, and a release about the acquisition says total sales have increased by more than five-fold since then. Forbes reported that as of October, SPINS data shows Trü Frü’s sales increased 104.3% year-over-year to be nearly $84 million. Annual revenues in the natural channel have increased 58.7%, and they’ve grown 82% in the convenience channel. Neville told Food Navigator at the beginning of this year the company had ambitions to cover 1 billion pieces of fruit with chocolate in 2022. Trü Frü makes frozen pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, blueberries and cherries covered in chocolate; and chocolate-covered dried raspberries, bananas, coconut, strawberries and mangos.
Based in Utah, Trü Frü has about 50 employees. The brand, which pushes the “permissible indulgence” trend, has received several innovation awards through the years with its frozen hyper-chilled and crunchy hyper-dried fruit pieces dipped in white and dark chocolate. The treats are clean label, with relatively short ingredient lists that are recognizable to the average consumer.
This acquisition helps Mars continue on the path it started down in 2017, when the company first bought a stake in Kind North America. Mars was able to get its foot in the door of the healthy snacking category by tying itself to a trusted and popular brand — but one that was still able to benefit from the reach and finances of Mars.
While Trü Frü has seen extraordinary growth on its own, through this acquisition that growth will become supercharged. And Trü Frü definitely could help Mars grow its better-for-you offerings in a way that better bridge its well-known confections and the natural ingredients that are the hallmark of the Kind and Nature’s Bakery brands.
And there’s a lot happening with Mars that could help bolster Trü Frü with new ideas and innovation. Mars is building a new $40 million candy and snack R&D center that could help the company improve and come up with new products. Mars also is working to build its frozen treats business, which is a sector Trü Frü already is in. With Mars’s manufacturing and distribution power, Trü Frü may be a big part of what Mars builds.