Mars Wrigley Building New Research & Development Hub to Support New Product Innovation
The facility will propel the company's global snacks and treats brands.
CHICAGO — Mars Inc. will soon break ground on a new global research and development hub adjacent to the company's existing Global Innovation Center on Goose Island, making Chicago the largest innovation hub in the world for Mars Wrigley.
When complete, this new innovation hub will inspire the next generation of new products and help propel Mars Wrigley's global snacks and treats brands, including M&M'S, Snickers, Twix and Skittles.
"Mars has made Chicago home to innovation for nearly 100 years, producing some of the world's most beloved and iconic snacks and treats," said Chris Rowe, global vice president of research and development at Mars Wrigley. "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. This facility brings exciting new capabilities and enhances the vibrant innovation culture Mars has on Goose Island."
Construction aims to begin this summer and is slated to be complete by summer 2023. The investment will bring approximately 30 additional jobs to the Mars Wrigley Global Innovation Center, and bring the Mars campus total to nearly 1,000 jobs on Goose Island.
Mars' operations in the Chicagoland area also include an ice cream facility in Burr Ridge, where Mars makes its DOVEBAR, M&M'S Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich and Snickers Ice Cream Bar, as well as treats production of Life Savers and Skittles in Yorkville. The company also produces a variety of filled bar chocolate, including Snickers, at its Chicago manufacturing site.
"Chicago is ever-growing and emerging as a leader in innovation and technology," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "Mars is the latest among many companies who are recognizing our city's strengths and unmatched talent and expanding operations here. I thank Mars and its leadership for their longstanding commitment to our city and wish them success in this latest expansion."
Earlier this year, Mars announced the future community donation of its Chicago manufacturing site. The company is partnering with Local Initiatives Support Corp. (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.
"LISC is honored to partner with Mars and support community engagement efforts for this notable land donation," said Meghan Harte, executive director of LISC Chicago. "We'll leverage our expertise to support Chicago residents, local leaders and Mars in defining and moving forward a community vision for the site that will deliver clear benefits to residents of Galewood and the city's West Side."
Mars Wrigley is already known in the convenience store industry for its new product innovation. The company took home three awards in the 2021 Convenience Store NewsBest New Products Awards competition. Entries are rated and awarded points by consumers based on the criteria of taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging.