Mars has secretly become bigger than Coca-Cola and the reason may not have much to do with sweets

Mars has secretly become bigger than Coca-Cola and the reason may not have much to do with sweets

Business is sweet, both metaphorically and literally, for Mars, a private company that has revealed some impressive sales figures.

On Wednesday, confectionery giant Mars gave a rare glimpse of its dramatic recent growth.

Announcing that CEO Grant F. Reid is leaving, the company also revealed that sales increased by 50% to nearly $ 45 billion in 2021, according to a statement. While total revenue may also include additional sources of revenue, sales are usually the bulk of them.

That number probably puts the company ahead of Coca-Cola, which reported annual revenue of $ 38.7 billion in 2021.

The number of Mars employees increased significantly while Reid was at the helm of the company, from 2014 to 2022, more than doubling from 60,000 to 140,000, according to the announcement.

Mars’s growth far exceeds that of peer-to-peer packaged food companies over the same period. Hershey, for example, saw its revenue rise from $ 7.4 billion in 2014 to $ 8.9 billion in 2021, according to the company’s annual reports.

Others have even seen negative growth in recent years. In 2020, for example, Coca-Cola’s revenue fell from $ 37.3 billion in 2019 to $ 33 billion, according to the company’s annual reports from those years. This drop was probably due to the fact that consumers did not travel to public places where its products are sold as a result of pandemic-related restrictions.

If Mars has a similar consumer market for its candy products, how has its growth soared over the last decade? The answer is a diversified business model and what appears to be an extremely lucrative pet business.

The company is not just the maker and distributor of sweets such as Snickers, M & Ms and Skittles, but one of the largest providers of pet care services in the world. In recent years, this aspect of the company’s operations has grown significantly. More than half of the company’s 85,000 employees now belong to the pet care industry, according to the Mars website.

In 2015, Mars acquired Blue Pearl, then the largest pet care and emergency care chain in the United States. Two years later, it acquired VCA Animal Hospitals, based in Los Angeles, and in 2018 acquired the Linnaeus Group. With this latest acquisition, Mars has become one of the leading veterinary care providers in the United Kingdom.

Pet care has been a growing sector throughout the pandemic, bringing in $ 123.6 billion in 2021, according to the American Pet Products Association. In 2019 alone, consumers spent $ 97.1 billion on pet care.

The company’s leading position in pet care is reflected in its new CEO. Poul Weihrauch, global president of Mars Petcare, will succeed Reid as CEO. Weihrauch started the company in 2000 as the brand leader for Snickers, and became the president of the company’s pet care companies in 2014.

“At that time, [he] “has overseen significant growth and diversification in veterinary health, diagnostics, data and platforms, doubling the size of the business,” the company wrote in the announcement.

As a private, family-owned company, Mars is not required to publish public financial statements. In 2020, the Mars family took 3rd place Forbes Billion dollar dynasties list.

That same year, the Institute for Political Studies’ Progressive Think Tank published a report on the families of American billionaires. Over the past four decades, the Mars family has seen its wealth grow by 3,517% from $ 2.8 billion in 1983 to $ 94 billion in 2020, according to the report.

Mars did not answer Luckrequest for comment.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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