Mars Wrigley broke ground on a new, best-in-class, global research and development hub adjacent to the company's existing Global Innovation Center on Goose Island. Leaders from Mars as well as key Chicago stakeholders, including Michael Fassnacht, CEO, World Business Chicago, and Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., gathered together to commemorate the milestone for the company.
This multimillion-dollar investment will make Chicago home to the company's largest innovation hub in the world, creating a best-in-class workplace that will position Mars Wrigley to drive category-leading innovations for the company's iconic global snacks and treats brands such as M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, and more. The new facility will incorporate a test kitchen for developing new products, state-of-the-art pilot lines, and an area for breakthrough technology development.
At the event, Chris Rowe, global vice president of research and development, Mars Wrigley, spoke to a crowd of more than 100 attendees about how the new hub reinforces Mars' continued commitment to Chicago. "Mars has a long history here in Chicago, and we're proud to continue our legacy of innovation in the Chicagoland area by breaking ground on our best-in-class global research and development hub for Mars Wrigley," Rowe said. "As a leader in snacking and treating, we look forward to Chicago being the center of exciting, consumer-driven innovations that span the globe."
"On behalf of Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago's business community, we congratulate Mars on today's groundbreaking of its innovation center," said Michael Fassnacht, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, and Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. "Chicago's food innovation ecosystem is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. with record investments and innovation. We are grateful to Mars for its longstanding commitment to the Chicago community, and excited to see Mars help drive Chicago's resonance for food innovation throughout the world."
The investment will bring about 30 additional jobs to the Mars Wrigley Global Innovation Center, with jobs on the Mars Goose Island campus nearing 1,000. The project is slated to be complete by summer 2023.
Chicago has always, and will continue to play, an important role for Mars and its iconic history as one of the world's best candy makers. The company's operations in the Chicagoland area include an ice cream facility in Burr Ridge, where Mars makes DOVEBAR®, M&M'S® Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, and SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bar and Yorkville's treats production of LIFE SAVERS® and Gen-Z's favorite candy brand SKITTLES®. The company also produces a variety of filled bar chocolate, including SNICKERS® at its Chicago manufacturing site. At its Goose Island campus, Mars employs about 950 Associates from Mars Wrigley, Mars Food, and Mars Global Services.
In addition to its portfolio of treats, snacks, and food brands, Mars is also the maker of some of the best-loved pet brands including PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, CESAR®, and SHEBA® and provides high-quality, compassionate pet care through its network of veterinary clinics, and diagnostics labs across Antech®, Banfield®, BluePearl®, and VCA® in the US. In Chicago, and throughout Illinois, Mars employs more than 2,000 pet care Associates in its veterinary clinics and its pet nutrition manufacturing site in Illinois.
Earlier this year, Mars announced the future community donation of its Chicago manufacturing site. As part of the donation process, Mars is partnering with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago to engage the community, and local leaders, to identify opportunities for future use. Community engagement and conversations are underway and will continue over the next two years before the land is ready for donation sometime in 2024.