Mars Opens $42M Snacking R&D Hub In Chicago

Mars' new 44,000-square-foot facility in Chicago is the largest of its global Snacking R&D sites, will be powered 100% by renewable electricity.

In Chicago, Mars has launched a new Global Research and Development Hub on its Goose Island campus, the global headquarters of the company’s Snacking business.  At 44,000 square feet, the $42 million facility dedicated to chocolate and nut testing, research and innovation will be the largest of Mars’ seven global innovation sites around the world. Mars also has similar facilities in Chicago, IL; Guangzhou, China; Huariou, China; Elizabethtown, PA; and Slough, UK.

Mars is working to double its Snacking business in the next decade. With that goal in mind, the new facility will help Mars’ 300 R&D professionals in Chicago create and refine new products for the company’s multi-billion-dollar snacking portfolio before they are scaled at large around the globe.

Mars Chicago
(Photo: Mars, Incorporated)

The new facility will centralize crucial innovation components under one roof, while serving as a testing ground for future-focused, sustainable ingredients. 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. A dedicated nut facility inside the plant will enable next-generation testing, evaluation, and application of peanuts and tree nuts within Mars products, which is key to brands such as SNICKERS®, M&M’S® and KIND®.

“This state-of-the-art facility will serve as the epicenter for the kind of groundbreaking research and development that will shape the snacking category for generations to come,” said Andrew Clarke, Global President, Mars Snacking. “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.”

“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.”

— Andrew Clarke, Global President, Mars Snacking

Mars’ new R&D Hub is designed to help the company stay ahead of an evolving snacking landscape and rapidly shifting consumer demands. The world-class facility has been designed with sustainability front of mind. It will be powered 100% with renewable energy and covered by renewable energy credits from Mars’ wind farm in Ford Ridge, IL.

Mars opened its first large-scale factory in the Windy City in 1929. Chicago was also the longtime home of the Wrigley Company, known for its gum and fruity confections, which Mars acquired in 2008.

“I applaud the dedicated team behind the Mars Global Research & Development Hub,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “With a commitment to sustainable innovation, this state-of-the-art facility not only doubles down on Mars’ century-long legacy, but cements Chicago’s status as an epicenter for food innovation and propels us to new heights on the global stage.”

Mars Chicago
(Photo: Mars, Incorporated)


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“As Mars marks the opening of a new chapter, I am thrilled to join the resounding applause of the Chicagoland region’s business community in congratulating company leadership and team for the opening of the Mars Global Research & Development Hub,” said Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago.

“In a region already renowned as the epicenter of food-related production and innovation, the arrival of the Mars Research & Development Hub propels Chicagoland to even greater heights,” Fassnacht continued. “We commend Mars for its unwavering commitment to our city and region, and we are eagerly poised to witness the profound impact this expansion will have, cementing Chicagoland’s undisputed global standing as the ultimate crucible of food innovation.”

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