FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Pet parents have spent more quality time than ever with their dogs and cats during the pandemic – including more than 11 million1 households in the U.S. that welcomed a new pet this past year. The increased time spent together has led to shifts in pet parent behaviors, as noted in the Mars Petcare, Pets in a Pandemic: BETTER CITIES FOR PETS 2020 Report. Many pet parents have tried new types and varieties of food for their dogs and cats which has contributed to growth in the wet food category. To meet this growing demand, Mars Petcare will invest $145 million to expand its manufacturing facility located in Fort Smith, Ark.
“At Mars Petcare, everything we do is in service of our purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS,” said Ikdeep Singh, Regional President of Mars Petcare North America. “The investment in our Fort Smith manufacturing facility enables us to continue to serve the ever-growing needs of pets and pet parents and represents our commitment to our Associates and this community.”
Today’s announcement builds on a series of investments that Mars Petcare has made in its Fort Smith facility, totaling more than $420 million to date. This latest investment will create more than 120 new full-time jobs, with further expansion planned for the future, and also represents a continued commitment from Mars Petcare to manufacture its products where they’re sold and invest in the people and communities where the company operates. Mars Petcare Associates help improve the lives of pets and pet parents and will play a key role in the success of this expansion.
“The investment from Mars Petcare in their Fort Smith manufacturing facility will boost the economy at both the local and state level,” said Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas. “Since the facility opened in 2009, it has become a hub of diverse and quality jobs, and we thank Mars Petcare for continuing to grow and invest in the Fort Smith community.”
The facility expansion will begin this month and is scheduled for completion in 2022. With the investment, Mars Petcare will add more than 200,000 square-feet and two additional production lines, increasing production capacity by more than 40 percent, with room for growth in the future to continue meeting the growing demands of pet parents.
“The good news in Fort Smith just keeps coming,” Arkansas Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said. “Mars Petcare is a growing company with strong customer loyalty. They had several options for this latest expansion, but they knew that Fort Smith has what it takes to help the company continue to prosper. I’m excited to continue our relationship and wish them great success here.”
“When a company expands operations time and time again because of its positive experience with a community, it’s extraordinary,” said Tim Allen, President and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Mars Petcare’s decision to expand its operation in Fort Smith again is wonderful news. In operation since 2009, Mars has shown its commitment to the region and strengthened their place as a true growth partner and world-class company.”
Since opening in September 2009, the Fort Smith facility, which is one of 14 Mars Petcare sites in the United States, has been a fundamental manufacturing hub for tray format foods, making brands like SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS® and NUTRO®. As pets play an increasing role in our lives, and pet parents try new feeding styles, Mars Petcare will continue to drive innovations across all of its brands. In early 2021, the industry leader will be announcing new products in the wet food category, including SHEBA Bistro cat food, a line of new chef-inspired entrees, and new offerings from the CESAR Brand.
For more information about Mars Petcare, please visit www.mars.com/made-by-mars/petcare.
About Mars Petcare
Part of Mars, Incorporated, a family-owned business with more than a century of history making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love, the 85,000 Associates across 50+ countries in Mars Petcare are dedicated to one purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. With 85 years of experience, our portfolio of almost 50 brands serves the health and nutrition needs of the world’s pets – including brands PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO™, GREENIES™, SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS™ and EUKANUBA™ as well as the Waltham Petcare Science Institute which has advanced research in the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Mars Petcare is also a leading veterinary health provider through an international network of over 2,000 pet hospitals and diagnostic services including BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, VCA™, Linnaeus, AniCura and Antech. We’re also active in innovation and technology for pets, with WISDOM PANEL™ genetic health screening and DNA testing for dogs, the WHISTLE™ GPS dog tracker, and LEAP VENTURE STUDIO accelerator and COMPANION FUND programs that drive innovation and disruption in the pet care industry. As a family business and guided by our principles, we are privileged with the flexibility to fight for what we believe in – and we choose to fight for: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.
About Arkansas EDC
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), a division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce, seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively. For more information, visit www.ArkansasEDC.com. The Arkansas Department of Commerce is the umbrella department for workforce and economic development drivers. Its divisions and regulatory boards include Division of Aeronautics, Waterways Commission, Wine Producers Council, Division of Workforce Services, Office of Skills Development, State Bank Department, Insurance Department, Securities Department, Economic Development Commission and Development Finance Authority. It was established July 2019 as part of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s wide-sweeping efficiency and transformation efforts to reduce 42 cabinet agencies to 15 while maintaining services for all Arkansans.
Photo caption: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson joins Mars Petcare and city and state officials to celebrate the announcement of a $145M expansion to the Mars Petcare Fort Smith manufacturing facility. Left to Right: Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman, Curtis Ralston, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce, Mike Preston, Mars Petcare Site Director, Michael Poffinbarger, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Fort Smith Mayor, George McGill. Credit: James Shelly of J. Shelly Photography1
The APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study: Pet Ownership During The Pandemic, Volume 3