Mars Canada last week announced a $70m expansion of its chocolate manufacturing factory in Newmarket, Ontario for Maltesers production.
Creating new jobs and using new technologies
The Newmarket factory currently manufactures Milky Way and 3 Musketeers brands in addition to the 60,00-square-foot extended space that is responsible for manufacturing Maltesers, according to the company. The product will be sold across Canada and the US.
Mars said the expansion will also create up to 30 new “full-time, highly-skilled” jobs, as well as serving as a “key pillar of growth” for its chocolate business in Canada. The facility will employ up to 150 associates in total.
“In order to meet the vast demand of US retailers and consumers, we are utilizing new technologies to create the scale of production and distribution needed to serve this growing market,” Mars added.
The company also showcased its Maltesers brand at the recent State of the Industry Conference in Miami, Florida, during which Forrest Mars Jr., an heir to Mars who passed away last year, received the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Confectioners Association.
Chocolate candy snacks struggle in the US
Chocolate candy snack has become the slowest growing segment within the overall chocolate category, recent IRI data shows.
The data that includes total US multi-outlets with c-stores for the latest 52 weeks ending Oct 2, 2016, indicated that the snacking chocolate market was worth over $1bn in terms of dollar sales, yet it registered a 6.25% decline compared to last year.
Mars’ chocolate snack brands posted total dollar sales of about $429m during the same period, declining by 4.31%, the data showed. The company’s rival, Nestlé, experienced a 26.11% dollar sales decline in the category.
The only major chocolate snack brand that had strong growth was Boyer Candy Company despite a much smaller market share compared to other major companies, according to IRI.
Boyer posted total dollar sales of only $530,381 during the period, yet it showed the highest growth rate of 20.90% within the segment among the bestselling brands.
Twix stands out among Mars brands
Milky Way and 3 Musketeers, both manufactured at Mars’ Canadian facility, showed large dollar sales declines, according to the same IRI data sheet.
Milky Way’s chocolate bars posted total dollar sales of about $59m, a 16.04% decline versus the previous period, while 3 Musketeers’ dollar sales were worth around $40m, representing an 11.82% decline, the data showed.
The only Mars’ chocolate snack brand that grew during the period was Twix, with dollar sales of nearly $63m, up 8.15% compared to last year.
Smaller pack size for North America
This site previously reported Mars shrank the pack size of Maltesers from 121 g to 103 g (3.6oz) without changing the price of the product in the UK due to the rising cost of raw materials.
Maltesers peg bags in the US weigh 3.52 oz (99.7 g), according to a release from Mars, smaller than the current UK version.
Meanwhile, the peg bag size in Canada is labeled 100 g (3.53 oz), around the same weight of the US version yet lighter than the UK one, according to Mars Canada’s spokesperson, Leslie Brams-Baker.