TOPEKA, Kan., July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Mars Chocolate North America announced that it will invest an additional $100 million in its Topeka, Kansas site, breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art 90,000-square-foot facility in America's heartland. As part of this expansion, the company will create a total of 70 new full-time, permanent, high-wage manufacturing jobs.
"For over a century, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them," said Tracey Massey, president, Mars Chocolate North America. "We are grateful for the warm welcome and continued support we have received from Topeka and the state of Kansas, and we are pleased to further invest in the community with additional job creation and economic development."
As the company launches new innovations, it is committed to continuing to make its products in the U.S. Over 95 percent of Mars Chocolate products sold in the U.S. are also made locally by the company's dedicated team of over 3,500 associates located in its 9 domestic sites. From roasting peanuts in Albany, Georgia to roasting cocoa beans to make our real chocolate in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, we take great pride in the fact that our products – from cocoa bean to chocolate bar to bite size M&M'S® Brand Candies – are made in America.
While Mars was the first chocolate manufacturer to reduce single serve products to below 250 calories, in recent months the company has brought to market a range of new product offerings with a focus on introducing more options less than 200 calories. Earlier this year the company brought back M&M'S® Crispy at 180 calories per serving and in August will launch nationally goodnessknows® Snack Squares, a delicious and satisfying treat at 150 calories.
"Our consumers and retailers are demanding even greater choice, seeking more product variety across a range of format, calorie and price options," added Massey. "By further growing our footprint in the U.S., we will better be able to introduce new treats to satisfy the most diverse consumer appetites."
Mars' expansion in Topeka follows the grand opening of the facility in 2014, the first new Mars Chocolate North America site built in the last 35 years. With this expansion, Mars' investment in Topeka totals $430 million, today employing over 200 associates producing a variety of M&M'S® Brand Candies and SNICKERS® Bars. Named "Plant of the Year" by Food Engineering magazine, the facility is LEED Gold certified and meets Mars' stringent sustainability standards.
"This additional investment does more than create new well-paying jobs for Kansans, it reflects Mars' continuing commitment to growing its business in America's heartland," said Governor Brownback. "In little more than one year after the grand opening of its Topeka facility, Mars is expanding its manufacturing operation with a new state-of-the-art facility. The availability of a talented workforce, along with a strong relationship between Mars and state and local leaders, creates an environment for continued economic growth and opportunity."
"This expansion represents the continued partnership between Mars and the Topeka community; showcasing a key JEDO focus on bringing in additional employment and investment from existing businesses into the community," said Scott Griffith, Chairman, GO Topeka Board of Directors.
"The city of Topeka is excited when existing companies like Mars Chocolate North America select our community to continue their growth and investment," said Mayor Larry Wolgast. "We're thrilled that Mars is expanding their partnership in Topeka and look forward to many years of continued growth and opportunity within our community.
This latest investment in the U.S. follows recent announcements by Mars, Incorporated of additional expansion across the country. In June Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company announced it would be adding 155 new associates at its Flowery Branch, Georgia facility to support additional sugarfree gum production. In addition, Mars Chocolate North America also shared news of its plans to hire 20 new associates in Albany, Georgia to support the national launch of goodnessknows®.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars' first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a "mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders" – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA™ and WISDOM PANEL™.
For more information, please visit www.mars.com. Follow us: facebook.com/mars, twitter.com/marsglobal, youtube.com/mars, linkedin.com/company/mars
SOURCE Mars, Incorporated