TOPEKA, KAS. — Less than a year-and-a-half after opening its first new plant in North America in 35 years, Mars Inc. already is giving the facility a makeover. The company on July 16 said it will invest an additional $100 million in the Topeka plant, adding a 90,000-square-foot facility to the site. As part of the expansion, the company will create 70 new full-time, permanent, 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 of 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.”
Mars in recent months has introduced 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, which contains 150 calories.
“Our consumers and retailers are demanding even greater choice, seeking more product variety across a range of format, calorie and price options,” Mr. Massey said. “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 opened the $270 million, 500,000-square-foot facility in Topeka in March 2014. Mars makes such products for the company’s Mars Chocolate North America business unit as Snickers and M&M’s, but other product lines will be added as additional phases of production are implemented.This latest U.S. investment comes after recent Mars’ announcements of additional expansion. In June, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., a subsidiary of Mars, announced it would be adding 155 new associates at its Flowery Branch, Ga., facility to support additional sugar-free gum production. In addition, Mars Chocolate North America also shared news of its plans to hire 20 new associates in Albany, Ga., to support the national launch of goodnessknows.