The new Snack Centre is designed for the future of groundbreaking research and snacking innovation.
With a pioneering group of employees, pioneering partnerships that inspire Mars people’s creativity, and unrivalled technology at our fingertips, we will continue to push the boundaries in our relentless pursuit of delivering extraordinary experiences to consumers around the world.
The new Snacks Centre will support Mars’ 300 research and development staff in Chicago to create and refine new products for the Mars Snacks portfolio.
Mars has just opened a $42 million global research and development centre at its Gus Island, Illinois, campus, which serves as the global headquarters for the company’s snacks business. The site is one of seven Mars Innovation Sites around the world.
The 44,000-square-foot facility will be dedicated to chocolate and nut testing, research and innovation. As Mars looks to double its snacks business over the next decade, the new facility will support Mars’ 300 R&D staff in Chicago to create and refine new products for the company’s multi-billion dollar snacks portfolio.
The new factory will bring together innovative components under one roof, while also serving as a testing ground for future-proof, sustainable ingredients. Formulations will be perfected in small batches in the factory’s modern test kitchens, while a flexible bar production line that mimics factory conditions will allow Mars Snacks scientists to polish the process of scaling up new products.
The dedicated nut facility at the plant will also support next-generation testing, evaluation and application of peanuts and tree nuts in Mars products, which are key to brands such as Snickers, M&Ms and KIND chocolate bars.
This state-of-the-art facility will be a centre for ground-breaking research and development that will shape the snacking category for generations to come,” said Andrew Clarke, Mars Snacks’ global president. This has been at the heart of our success for more than 100 years, and this major investment reaffirms our unwavering commitment to staying ahead of the curve.
The facility has also been designed with sustainability in mind. It will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, with no fossil fuels, and has been awarded renewable energy credits from Mars’ Ford Ridge Wind Farm in Illinois.
Chicago has been a part of Mars Incorporated’s history since the early 1900s, when the company opened its first major plant in the Windy City in 1929. It’s also the longtime home of the stalwart Chicago-born Wrigley Co. Famous for its chewing gum and fruit candies, Mars acquired the company in 2008.
“I applaud the dedicated team behind the Mars Global R&D Centre,” said Mayor Brendan Johnson. “With a commitment to sustainable innovation, this state-of-the-art facility not only doubles Mars’ 100-year legacy, but also reinforces Chicago’s position as a centre of food innovation and propels us to new heights on the global stage.”
The Global Innovation Centre will join Mars’ existing network of global innovation sites in Chicago, Illinois; Guangzhou, China; Huairou District, Beijing, China; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; and Slough, England.
More about Mars food
Mars, Inc. is an American world-class food processing company founded in 1911. Mars became famous in the 1920s when it sold the Milky Way Bar, which was a big hit in the United States. Mars is also a family business.
Mars entered the Greater China market in the 1990s with M&M’s, Snickers and Dove chocolates. Mars built two manufacturing plants in Huairou, Beijing, China in 1994 and in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province in 2005.
On 10 July 2001, Mars Food bought European pet food company Royal Dutch from BNP Paribas for €819 million (US$700 million).
On 6 October 2008, Mars Food, Berkshire Hathaway and Goldman Sachs acquired Wrigley for US$23 billion in cash at US$80 per share. Of this amount, Mars contributed US$11 billion.
On 10 April 2014, P&G sold 80% of its pet food arm to Mars Food for US$2.9 billion in cash, with the latter acquiring P&G’s three pet food brands of Iams, Eukanuba and Natura, as well as businesses in North America, Latin America and several other markets.
On 6 October 2016, Mars Food repurchased the remaining 20% stake in Wrigley from Poksha Hathaway, combining its Chocolate and Wrigley business units to form Mars Wrigley Confectionery
On 9 January 2017, Mars Food acquired US animal hospital chain operator VCA for US$7.7bn at US$93 per share, including the assumption of US$1.4bn of liabilities, in a deal totalling US$9.1bn.