Mars purchases two US facilities, expands its snack portfolio

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Nature's Bakery
Source: Nature's Bakery

Related tags Mars Nature's Bakery Manufacturing Snack bars

Global snack maker Mars expands its snack production with the purchase of a new $237m baking facility for Nature’s Bakery in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a Chicago-based Global Research and Development Hub that will focus on chocolate and nuts testing and manufacturing.

Nature’s Bakery facility will grow granola snacks, create new jobs for community

The 339,000 square foot Nature’s Bakery plant will be fully operational in July 2025 and create more than 190 new jobs in the area.

With manufacturing facilities in Hazelwood, Mo., and Carson City, Nev., Nature’s Bakery built its business around producing plant-based, dairy-free, nut-free and non-GMO granola snacks. The brand’s soft-baked snack bars feature a line of fig bars, gluten-free fig bars, brownie bars and baked-in snacks that contain whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and targeted for on-the-go snacking.

The strategically-placed West coast plant is expected to produce 968 million additional packs per year for retailers across the country including Target, Walmart and Whole Foods, and e-commerce, including the brand’s website and Amazon.

Nature’s Bakery CEO, Steve Gardiner, emphasized the role the expansion will play in strengthening the community’s economy and expanding job opportunities.

“I am thrilled for our strategic partnership with the establishment of a cutting-edge baking facility in Salt Lake City. This investment marks a significant milestone in our brand’s ability to drive greater capacity to meet growing consumer and retailer demand. As a self-manufacturer, this facility joins our existing bakeries to reflect our commitment to innovation and quality, and underscores our confidence in the thriving business environment of Utah. We look forward to contributing to the local economy, cultivating community and creating job opportunities as we further our brand purpose of nourishing families and enabling them to thrive,” he expressed in a statement​.

Mars’ president of the health and wellness division, Juan Martin, added that the acquisition is an opportunity for the company to “scale our brands responsibly, upholding Mars’ pledge to be America’s prime destination for insurgent brands.”

Chicago R&D hub focuses on chocolate and nut snacks, powered by renewable energy

As one of seven global innovation sites around the world, Mars’ 44,000-square foot facility was purchased for $42m. Other sites include Guangzhou, China; Huariou, China; Elizabethtown, Pa.; and Slough, UK. The new hub will provide its 300 R&D employees with the capabilities to develop and refine new chocolate and nut snacks before they are scaled globally.

Source: Mars, Inc.

The new site will feature a test kitchen and a “flexible bar line” that replicates factory conditions, allowing Mars’ scientists to perfect recipes and processes in small batches before scaling them up. Additionally, the hub will include a dedicated nut facility that will focus on tree nut and peanut testing, evaluation and application for Mars’ portfolio, including Snickers, M&Ms and KIND.

Andrew Clarke, global president, Mars Snacking said the innovation site “will serve as the epicenter” for its R&D within the snacking category.

Additionally, the facility will be powered with 100% renewable, fossil fuel-free energy which will be covered by renewable energy credits sourced from Mars’ wind farm in Ford Ridge, Ill.


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