The food and snack giant Mars announced Thursday the opening of a new research and development facility on Goose Island.
The 44,000-square-foot, $42 million facility will be dedicated to chocolate and nut testing and research, according to a company press release.
The multi-billion-dollar company is behind the popular snack brands Snickers, M&M’s, Skittles and more. Chicago is the global headquarters for the company’s snack arm of the business.
The Mars company makes more than $47 billion in annual sales.
“We commend Mars for its unwavering commitment to our city and region,” said World Business Chicago President and CEO Michael Fassnacht in a statement. “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 company's ties to the city goes back to 1929 when it opened a candy production factory on the West Side. The company announced in 2022 that the factory would be closing this year.
As one of the last surviving large-scale candy production facilities in the city, the building at 2019 N. Oak Park Ave. is now being considered for city landmark status, which would protect it from demolition.
In 2008, Mars acquired the iconic Chicago-founded candy and chewing gum company Wrigley for $23 billion. The merged company then announced in 2017 that it would move its U.S. headquarters from Chicago to New Jersey, leading to the loss of 200 jobs, according to reports.
Mars also has production facilities in suburban Yorkville and Burr Ridge.
To learn more about Chicago’s history as the once “candy capital of the world,” visit Candy Capital from WTTW’s “Chicago Stories” series.