Italian confectioner Ferrero has announced plans to construct a $190m production plant in Mexico - its first in the country.
The announcement came during a press conference with Mexican president Felipe Calderon and Ferrero execs in Guanajuato last week.
The new plant, consisting of four production lines, will be constructed at the Parque Opcòn industrial park, in San Josè Iturbide in the State of Guanajuato in Mexico.
It will produce Nutella and Kinder products for the domestic market and will also export to the US and Canada. 40% of output will be exported to the US, with the additional 60% rolled out in Mexico and other Central American markets.
Ferrero intends to recruit an additional 500 people to man the site on top of the 600 employees already working for Ferrero de Mexico.
The site is expected to be fully operational from May 2013.
Ferrero in Mexico
Ferrero began its Mexican operation in 1992 and now has 24 sales and distribution points in the country.
The new production site will mark the first time Ferrero has had manufacturing capability on Mexican soil.
According to lobby group ProMexico, Mexico is the fifth global exporter of non-cocoa confectionery and the second most supplier of chocolates to the US.
Each confectionery category in Mexico is expected to grow between 5-15% from 2011-15, according to figures from Nielsen. In contrast the world chocolate market is expected to grow on a long-term average of 2-3% per annum.
Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut last month announced that it had entered a supply deal with Grupo Bimbo in Mexico.
Following its announcement, Barry Callebaut communications manager Raphael Wermuth spoke about the growing potential in the Mexican confectionery market.
“In the whole Latin American Region, Mexico makes a big part of the relevant market – both in terms of size and growth.”
“Mexico is still a country where the chocolate consumption is expected to grow disproportionally,” he said.