CHICAGO—Mondelēz International announced that it would acquire energy bar company Clif Bar for $2.9 billion with potential for additional payments, and Kellogg Company announced today that it plans to separate into three independent companies focused separately on cereal, plant-based foods and global snacking.
The Mondelēz acquisition includes CLIF, LUNA and CLIF Kid brands and expands the company’s global snack bar business to more than $1 billion.
“We are thrilled to welcome Clif Bar & Company’s iconic brands and passionate employees into the Mondelēz International family,” said Dirk Van de Put, chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International. “This transaction further advances our ambition to lead the future of snacking by winning in chocolate, biscuits and baked snacks as we continue to scale our high-growth snack bar business.”
The deal will expand Clif’s sales distribution and gain further penetration in existing and new customers and channels in the U.S.
“Mondelēz International is the right partner at the right time to support Clif in our next chapter of growth,” said Sally Grimes, chief executive officer, Clif Bar & Company. “Our purposes and cultures are aligned and being part of a global snacking company with broad product offerings can help us accelerate our growth while staying true to our deeply ingrained Five Aspirations—sustaining our people, planet, community, business, and brands—five bottom lines that have grounded our company since its founding and will remain our North Star going forward.”
Mondelēz International will continue to operate the Clif Bar & Company business from its headquarters in Emeryville, California. The company will also continue to manufacture its products in its facilities in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
Mondelēz said that the acquisition of Clif Bar & Company will build on its continued prioritization of fast-growing snacking segments in key geographies. So far in 2022, Mondelēz International has announced an agreement to acquire Ricolino, Mexico’s leading confectionary company, from Grupo Bimbo and closed on its acquisition of Chipita S.A., a leader in the Central and Eastern European snack-size cakes and pastries category.
In 2021, Mondelēz acquired Grenade, a U.K. performance nutrition company; Gourmet Food Holdings, an Australian food company in the premium biscuit and cracker category; and Hu, a well-being snacking company in the United States.
Clif is a category leader in alternative snacks in the convenience channel, with an ACV (all commodity volume) of 80.7% and a nearly 13% increase in sales in 2021, according to NielsenIQ Total U.S. Convenience data.
Meanwhile, Kellogg’s plans include spinning off its U.S., Canadian and Caribbean cereal and plant-based businesses. The Battle Creek, Michigan, company’s core snacking business, which accounted for about 80% of net sales in 2021, will remain focused on snacking, international cereal and noodles, plus North America frozen breakfast.
“Kellogg has been on a successful journey of transformation to enhance performance and increase long-term shareowner value,” Steve Cahillane, Kellogg Company chairman and CEO, said in a news release. “This has included re-shaping our portfolio, and today's announcement is the next step in that transformation. These businesses all have significant standalone potential, and an enhanced focus will enable them to better direct their resources toward their distinct strategic priorities. In turn, each business is expected to create more value for all stakeholders, and each is well positioned to build a new era of innovation and growth.”
Like Clif, Kellogg is also a leader in the alternative snacks category in convenience stores. In 2021, sales rose 2.8% and the brand’s ACV percentage stood at 94.3%, according to NielsenIQ Total U.S. Convenience data. Kellogg also is a leader in the edible grocery and packaged sweet snacks categories in the convenience channel.
From energy bars to puffed veggies and spicy meat sticks, convenience store shoppers are loving their alternative snacks.
“In 2021, the category exceeded all prior years in sales and showed really strong sales in nearly every month,” said Jayme Gough, research manager, NACS, in a recent NACS Magazine article. “This category is a staple for travelers looking for a savory treat, a morning commuter purchasing a snack for later or a dried-meat enthusiast. As more people get back on the roads and start to go back into the office, this category is ripe with opportunity.”
Alternative snacks contributed an average of $2,797 in sales per store, per month last year, and had a gross margin profit of 45.40% in 2021. The Health/Energy/Protein Bars subcategory contributed better gross margins at 49.49% than the alternative snacks category.
“Despite starting off slower in 2021 than other categories, by March, monthly sales of health/energy bars were above that of the previous two years,” Gough said.