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Mars opens $42m snack-focused R&D facility in Chicago
Rafaela Sousa

Rafaela Sousa

19 January 2024

Mars opens $42m snack-focused R&D facility in Chicago

Mars has opened a new $42 million global research and development hub at its facility in Goose Island, Chicago, US. The 44,000-square-foot site is one of Mars's seven global innovation sites across the world, and will focus on conducting chocolate and nut testing, as well as fostering research and innovation. As Mars aims to double its snacking business in the next decade, the new facility will provide 300 R&D associates in Chicago with the opportunity to create and refine new products for the company's snacking portfolio, before scaling them globally. According to the company, the site will bring together important innovation processes and serve as a testing space for sustainable ingredients. Mars said: "Recipes will be perfected in small batches in the plant's contemporary test kitchen, while the flexible bar line, which mimics factory conditions, will allow Mars' snacking scientists to hone the process of bringing new products to scale". Inside the plant there will also be a dedicated nut facility for testing, evaluating and incorporating peanuts and tree nuts into Mars products, essential for brands like Snickers, M&M's and Kind. Andrew Clarke, global president of Mars Snacking, said: "This state-of-the-art facility will serve as the epicentre for the kind of groundbreaking research and development that will shape the snacking category for generations to come. Innovation has been at the heart of our success for over 100 years, and this significant investment reaffirms our unwavering commitment to staying ahead of the curve." "With an assembly of trailblazing associates, pioneering partnerships that ignite our creativity and unparalleled technology at our fingertips, we will continue to push boundaries in our relentless pursuit of delivering extraordinary experiences for our consumers around the world." The hub will be powered 100% with renewable energy – sourced from Mars' wind farm in Ford Ridge, Illinois, US – ensuring a fossil-fuel-free operation.

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