Mars is to expand its R&D operations in Chicago, the US city where the US major is set to end production later this year.

The family-owned snacks giant plans to build a new “hub” next to its existing innovation centre on Goose Island.

Around thirty more jobs will be created at the overall site. Construction is slated to begin this summer and be complete by summer next year. The Goose Island facilities already employ around 950.

In January, Mars announced plans to cease production at a confectionery factory in Chicago over the next two years and move output to other sites in the city.

Chris Rowe, the global vice president of R&D at the group’s Mars Wrigley snacks arm, said: “Mars has made Chicago home to innovation for nearly 100 years, producing some of the world’s most beloved and iconic snacks and treats. Creating new jobs and a world-class, multi-million-dollar research and development hub demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Chicagoland area and accelerates our future for innovation.”

The manufacturing facility in the Galewood neighbourhood of the city will be donated to the local community. Mars told Just Food in January the 280 employees at the plant will be “encouraged to explore” opportunities at the company’s other facilities, including in Chicago.

Elsewhere in the Chicago area, the Mars Wrigley business has an ice-cream facility in Burr Ridge and a confectionery factory in Yorkville.

The company also has a pet-food plant in Illinois.

Pet food has been an area where Mars has also recently invested in the US. Last year, the company announced two projects to expand the production capacity of a factory in Arkansas.

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