The gum production expansion comes as Mars moves its gum production capacity from its Toronto plant, which will close in March 2016.
Increased gum capacity in Georgia
Mars’ subsidiary Wrigley will add 155 employees at the Flowery Branch factory in Georgia to produce Canada’s leading gum brand Excel and the company’s top U.S. gum brand Orbit.
Wrigley currently employs 670 people at the Flowery Branch site, which produces gum brands such as Juicy Fruit, Extra and 5 Gum.
U.S. gum sales have declined in recent years, but some sub-categories have returned to growth.
According to IRI, regular sugarfree gum sales in the U.S. grew ahead of the overall market candy market in 2014. While the overall U.S. candy market climbed 2.7% on the previous year to $24.1bn, sugarfree gum sales rose 3.3% to $2.6bn, it found.
Goodnessknows at Albany plant
Mars Chocolate North America also plans to expand its plant in Albany, Georgia, to add production for the upcoming national launch of goodnessknows snack squares.
Goodnessknows was launched in U.S. test markets in 2010, but Mars plans to roll the product out nationwide from August this year.
Mars will add 20 jobs at the Albany factory to produce the brand over the next three years.
The Albany plant currently employs 175 people who produce brands such as Combos, Snickers and peanut butter M&M’s.