USA – American multinational confectioner Mars Wrigley is strengthening its research and development (R&D) capabilities with a US$40 million investment in a new innovation hub.
The R&D center for snacks and treats is being built next to Mars Wrigley’s world headquarters on Goose Island in Chicago.
The maker of skittles and M&M snack brands expects to break ground on the facility this summer and have employees in it by mid-2023.
Mars expects to bring on board thirty new employees once the facility is up and running, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The new facility will make the Chicago area home to the largest innovation hub for the global confectioner.
This announcement reaffirms Mars Wrigley’s deep connection to Chicago especially now when the company is shuttering its oldest candy manufacturing facility in Chicago in the next two years.
“Mars has made Chicago home to innovation for nearly 100 years, producing some of the world’s most beloved and iconic snacks and treats,” Chris Rowe, Mars Wrigley’s global vice president of research and development, said in the announcement.
“Creating new jobs and a world-class, multimillion-dollar research and development hub demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Chicagoland area and accelerates our future for innovation.”
It also shows that Mars Wrigley is committed to innovating its candies and snacks to continue following consumer and health trends.
“This facility brings exciting new capabilities and enhances the vibrant innovation culture Mars has on Goose Island,” added Rowe.
Mars is known for its innovation culture, and this new facility will give another opportunity to unlock it.
In 2020 alone, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, R&D at Goose Island led to six patents for items ranging from packaging to gum.
The company is also perpetually launching new versions of candies and snacks, including new takes on classics like M&Ms and Snickers as well as new formats for non chocolate Skittles and Starburst.
The Goose Island, Chicago facility isn’t the only addition to Mars’ signature facilities as the company had earlier filed paperwork last month to expand its suburban Washington, D.C., headquarters in Virginia, where it has been located since 1984.
The company plans to demolish one building on the site so it can expand another, adding about 31,000 square feet to the location, Washington Business Journal reported.
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