The plant, opened yesterday, cost RUR 3bn ($53m) and ups capacity at the chocolate factory 30%, creating 76 new jobs.
“Our strategy in Russia is to focus on investments in local manufacturing and developing and retaining local talents,” said Mars Global Chocolate president Jean-Christophe Flatin. “The launch of the new plant will strengthen our market position.”
Mars has nine factories in Russia, three of which produce chocolate. Last year, the company invested 3.3 billion rubles (US$90 million) to modernize and extend its Russian factories and told ConfectioneryNews last week it would continue active development in the Russian market despite an ongoing economic crisis and Western sanctions.
Mars in Russia
Mars is Russia’s leading confectionery company but is number two in chocolate behind part state-owned firm United Confectioners, according to Euromonitor International.
The research organization predicts a 6% compound annual growth rate in the Russian chocolate market up to 2020.
Russian investments from other confectioners
Some confectioners such as Jelly Belly have erred caution in investing in the Russian market as consumer purchasing power wanes following economic sanctions.
Other firms still see huge potential and have pressed ahead to invest in the market.
In April last year Mondelez International downplayed sanctions against Russia following its annexing of Crimea and announced a $110m factory in Siberia to produce chocolate brands Milka, Picnic and Alpen Gold as well as biscuit brands Jubilee, Barni and TUC biscuits.
In 2012, Ferrero began Kinder Surprise production in Russia at its factory in the Vladimir region. The company said in its last annual report that its Russia subsidiary was its fourth largest, generating RUB 22.6 bn ($396m) in turnover.