Mars Announces Major Investment in New Nature’s Bakery Facility

Producer News

Mars, the global confectionery and pet food giant, has announced plans to establish a new manufacturing plant for its Nature’s Bakery snack-bar brand in the United States. This move comes as a significant development since Mars’ acquisition of Nature’s Bakery in 2020.

Strategic Expansion in Salt Lake City

The proposed facility, which is to be located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is currently under development and expected to become fully operational by July next year. Spanning over 339,000 square feet, the plant represents a $237 million investment by Mars. Once operational, the facility is set to employ around 190 full-time staff.

Enhancing Production and Reducing Carbon Footprint

This new plant is not just a growth milestone but also a strategic move towards sustainability. According to a Nature’s Bakery spokesperson, the facility is projected to produce an additional 968 million packs annually. Its strategic location near the West Coast is anticipated to significantly reduce the company’s carbon footprint and improve service capabilities across central and western regions of the US.

Nature’s Bakery: A Focus on Healthy Snacking

Reno, Nevada-headquartered Nature’s Bakery, known for its plant-based, dairy-free, nut-free, and non-GMO snacks, has been part of the Mars portfolio since 2020. The brand’s products are widely available at major US retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco. Steve Gardiner, CEO of Nature’s Bakery, described the expansion as a key milestone in meeting increasing consumer and retailer demand.

Mars’ Continued Growth and Ethical Challenges

Besides the upcoming Salt Lake City site, Nature’s Bakery operates baking facilities in Carson City, Nevada, and Hazelwood, Missouri. Mars’ expansion into the healthy snack market follows its recent acquisitions, including US ready-meal company Kevin’s Natural Foods and UK-based luxury chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat.

However, Mars has faced criticism from ethical consumer groups. A recent report by the Ethical Consumer organization rated Mars as “inadequate,” citing concerns over cocoa sourcing practices, including pricing issues and child labor allegations. This criticism aligns with similar concerns raised against other major chocolate manufacturers.