Mars Petcare is investing $117 million in its Fort Smith, Ark., manufacturing facility, just months after the $145 million investment announced earlier this year.
“Pet parents are at the center of everything we do, and at Mars Petcare, we’re committed to answering their evolving needs as a trusted partner for pet parents,” said Ikdeep Singh, regional president of Mars Pet Nutrition North America. “The role of pets in our lives has grown even stronger during the pandemic, and our latest investment in Fort Smith enables us to deepen our commitment to our Associates and the City of Fort Smith while also living our purpose: A Better World For Pets.”
This latest investment will further expand the facility’s manufacturing operations with the addition of two production lines, support construction of a new warehouse, allow for updates to existing equipment and create more than 140 new full-time associate positions—on top of the more than 120 jobs announced in January, company officials said.
Collectively, Mars Petcare has invested a total of nearly $540 million in its Fort Smith facility.
Facility expansion is underway and all phases of the project are scheduled for completion in 2023. With the latest investment, Mars Petcare will build a new 47,000 square-foot warehouse and add two additional production lines to the facility. This, plus new production lines previously announced—a total of four—will increase production capacity by more than 75 percent, which is equivalent to more than 1 billion meals per year, officials said.
Since opening in September 2009, the Fort Smith facility, which is one of 14 Mars Petcare sites in the United States, was the first LEED manufacturing site in the state of Arkansas and first LEED-certified pet care plant. The facility is LEED-Gold certified from the United States Green Building Council and achieved gold status for its efforts to recycle water, reduce energy use, and protect against erosion and light pollution. Currently employing approximately 370 associates, Fort Smith has been a fundamental manufacturing hub for tray format foods, making brands like Cesar, Sheba, Nutro, Iams and Crave, officials said.