FRANKFORT, KY. — Confectionery manufacturer Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc. has announced plans to invest $9.8 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Erlanger, Ky.

The maker of Airheads, Mentos, Fruit-tella and Chupa Chups said it will add a candy manufacturing line and install an additional automated packaging area at the facility.

The investment includes the addition of at least 16 new full-time production jobs, the company said.

“With our growth consistently outpacing the US confectionery category for several years, this capacity expansion is critical for us to continue meeting the growing demand for our products,” said Sylvia Buxton, president and chief executive officer of Perfetti Van Melle North America. “After considering various locations within the Perfetti Van Melle global network, it was clear that expanding our manufacturing capacity here in northern Kentucky was the right choice, given the potential incentives offered to attract more job-generating investment by business to the region. The region has great proximity to our customers, a strong and diverse workforce base, and a thriving business support network. We’re excited, as this KEIA incentive will help us continue making life sweeter and providing a great place to work in northern Kentucky.”

Perfetti Van Melle said it has invested more than $35 million in upgrades to the Erlanger facility since 2017.

Perfetti Van Melle USA is part of the privately owned, Amsterdam-based Perfetti Van Melle Group, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and marketers of confectionery and chewing gum, with distribution in more than 150 countries.