Mars Petcare is expanding its work schedule at its New Zealand plant from three shifts into four to handle increased demands in Australia, according to an article by the Wanganui Chronicle .

Mars plant manager Colin Fergus said some growth came as the result of a new product - a protein innovation his company developed with AgResearch and Massey University.

"This project and growth in demand for our product were linked," he said in the article.

Mars has seen demand increase by 3,000 tons this year alone, requiring the plant to hire 40 more employees to run a new 24/7 shift schedule, according to Fergus.

"A four-shift operation would give us the capacity to produce 19,000 tons of petfood, but if we continue to see the growth that we're now experiencing, then we'd expect to consume that volume by the end of 2010," Fergus said in the article.