USA- On 18th January, Mars, a global leader in snacking and confectionery, announced the inauguration of its transformative Global Research and Development Hub on Goose Island in Chicago, marking a significant milestone in the company’s century-long commitment to innovation. 

Costing a staggering US$42 million and spanning an impressive 44,000 square feet, the cutting-edge facility is positioned as the crown jewel of Mars’ snacking business, cementing Chicago as the epicenter of Mars’ global innovation network.

As part of Mars’ strategic plan to double its Snacking business over the next decade, the Goose Island hub will be pivotal in propelling the company’s multi-billion-dollar snacking portfolio to new heights. 

The facility will serve as a crucible for chocolate and nut testing, research, and innovation, centralizing essential components under one roof to streamline the development process.

Andrew Clarke, Global President of Mars Snacking, expressed his excitement about the new facility, stating, “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. 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.”

The Goose Island hub will house a contemporary test kitchen where recipes will be perfected in small batches, ensuring the highest quality in Mars’ products. The flexible bar line, designed to mimic factory conditions, will enable Snacking Scientists to fine-tune the process of bringing new products to a global scale. 

A dedicated nut facility within the plant will facilitate next-generation testing, evaluation, and application of peanuts and tree nuts, crucial to beloved brands such as SNICKERS®, M&M’S®, and KIND®.

Not only focused on innovation, the Goose Island hub is designed with sustainability at its core. The facility will be powered entirely by renewable energy, sourced from Mars’ wind farm in Ford Ridge, Illinois. 

This commitment to sustainability aligns with Mars’ broader goals to reduce its environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson praised Mars for its commitment to sustainable innovation, stating, “I applaud the dedicated team behind the Mars Global Research & Development Hub. 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.

The opening of the Global Research and Development Hub solidifies Chicago’s historical connection with Mars, dating back to the establishment of its first large-scale factory in the city in 1929. Chicago’s standing as a global food innovation hub is further elevated with the addition of the Mars facility.

Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO of World Business Chicago, echoed these sentiments, saying, “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. 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.”

The Goose Island hub will join Mars’ network of global innovation sites, including locations in Guangzhou and Huariou, China; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; and Slough, United Kingdom, strengthening the company’s position as a global leader in snacking and confectionery innovation.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.