Mars North America will build a $250-million manufacturing plant iin Topeka, Kan. The new facility will be the first new chocolate site built in the U.S. in 35 years and create 200 full-time jobs.

“The site will be a reflection of our commitment to manufacture our products in the markets where we sell them,” says Mike Wittman, v.p. of supply at Mars Chocolate North America. “Mars looks forward to becoming an important part of the Topeka community.”

Phase I of the new site is scheduled for completion in 2013. Then, the plant will then be used to make M&M’S and Snickers brand candies.

“We are planning to build this plant with a focus on the longer term and look forward to many productive years of manufacturing and community partnership in Topeka,” says Todd Lachman, Mars Chocolate North America’s president.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said the project shows that Kansas can compete and win in the global business world.

“This is a delicious day for Topeka and the people of Kansas” he says. “We want to warmly welcome Mars Chocolate to the state of Kansas”

Mars says the new facility will be built to meet leading edge environmental standards, and will pursue a LEED Gold certified designation once it's built.

Mars Chocolate North America is the North American chocolate operations of Mar, Inc. For more information, visit http://www.mars.com.