Mars breaks ground on global R&D hub in Chicago adjacent to company's existing Global Innovation Center on Goose Island; facility will incorporate test kitchen for developing new products, pilot lines and area for breakthrough technology development

Sample article from our Food & Beverage

June 17, 2022 (press release) –

Chicago to become largest innovation hub in the world for the global snacks and treats maker

Today, Mars Wrigley broke ground on a new, best-in-class, global research and development hub adjacent to the company's existing Global Innovation Center on Goose Island. Leaders from Mars as well as key Chicago stakeholders, including Michael Fassnacht, CEO, World Business Chicago, and Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., gathered together to commemorate the milestone for the company.

Mars Wrigley Global President Andrew Clarke speaks at the groundbreaking for a new, best-in-class global research and development hub adjacent to the company’s existing Global Innovation Center at their Goose Island Campus on Thursday, June 16, 2022 in Chicago. (John Konstantaras/AP Images for Mars, Inc.)

Mars Wrigley leaders Andrew Clarke, Global President, Chris Rowe, Global Vice President of Research & Development, and members of the Mars Wrigley leadership team are joined by Michael Fassnacht, CEO of World Business Chicago, Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., State Representative Jawaharial Williams, and Margaret Frisbie of Friends of the Chicago River to break ground on a new, best-in-class global research and development hub in Chicago. (John Konstantaras/AP Images for Mars, Inc.)


This multimillion-dollar investment will make Chicago home to the company's largest innovation hub in the world, creating a best-in-class workplace that will position Mars Wrigley to drive category-leading innovations for the company's iconic global snacks and treats brands such as M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, and more. The new facility will incorporate a test kitchen for developing new products, state-of-the-art pilot lines, and an area for breakthrough technology development.


At the event, Chris Rowe, Global Vice President of Research and Development, Mars Wrigley, spoke to a crowd of more than 100 attendees about how the new hub reinforces Mars' continued commitment to Chicago. "Mars has a long history here in Chicago, and we're proud to continue our legacy of innovation in the Chicagoland area by breaking ground on our best-in-class global research and development hub for Mars Wrigley," Rowe said. "As a leader in snacking and treating, we look forward to Chicago being the center of exciting, consumer-driven innovations that span the globe."

"On behalf of Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago's business community, we congratulate Mars on today's groundbreaking of its innovation center," said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO of World Business Chicago, and Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. "Chicago's food innovation ecosystem is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. with record investments and innovation. We are grateful to Mars for its longstanding commitment to the Chicago community, and excited to see Mars help drive Chicago's resonance for food innovation throughout the world."

"Mars has been a respected part of the Goose Island community for the past 17 years," said Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. "I am thrilled to see Mars deepen its commitment to Goose Island with the groundbreaking of this new facility."

The investment will bring about thirty (30) additional jobs to the Mars Wrigley Global Innovation Center, with jobs on the Mars Goose Island campus nearing 1,000. The project is slated to be complete by summer 2023.

Mars In Chicago

Chicago has always, and will continue to play, an important role for Mars and its iconic history as one of the world's best candy makers. The company's operations in the Chicagoland area include an ice cream facility in Burr Ridge, where Mars makes DOVEBAR®, M&M'S® Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, and SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bar and Yorkville's treats production of LIFE SAVERS® and Gen-Z's favorite candy brand SKITTLES®. The company also produces a variety of filled bar chocolate, including SNICKERS® at its Chicago manufacturing site. At its Goose Island campus, Mars employs about 950 Associates from Mars Wrigley, Mars Food, and Mars Global Services.

In addition to its portfolio of treats, snacks, and food brands, Mars is also the maker of some of the best-loved pet brands including PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, CESAR®, and SHEBA® and provides high-quality, compassionate pet care through its network of veterinary clinics, and diagnostics labs across Antech®, Banfield®, BluePearl®, and VCA® in the U.S. In Chicago, and throughout Illinois, Mars employs more than 2,000 pet care Associates in its veterinary clinics and its pet nutrition manufacturing site in Illinois.

Earlier this year, Mars announced the future community donation of its Chicago manufacturing site. As part of the donation process, Mars is partnering with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (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, LISC Chicago Executive Director. "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."


For more than a century, Mars, Incorporated has been driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. This idea is at the center of who we have always been as a global, family-owned business. Today, Mars is transforming, innovating, and evolving in ways that affirm our commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us.       

Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of confectionery, food, and pet care products and services, we employ 133,000 dedicated Associates who are all moving in the same direction: forward. With $40 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world's best-loved brands including DOVE®, EXTRA®, M&M's®, MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, ORBIT®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, SKITTLES®, BEN'S ORIGINAL™, WHISKAS®, COCOAVIA®, and 5™; and take care of half of the world's pets through our pet health services AniCura, Banfield Pet Hospitals™, BluePearl®, Linnaeus, Pet Partners™, and VCA™. 

We know we can only be truly successful if our partners and the communities in which we operate prosper as well. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom – inspire our Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people, and pets can thrive.  

For more information about Mars, please visit Join us on Facebook, TwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.  

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Dan Rivard
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