Mars Petcare plans to expand its Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA pet food manufacturing facility. The site, which produces Cesar and Nutro brand dog food and Sheba wet cat food, will convert a can line into a tray line and add two new lines at the facility.
As part of the expansion, Mars Petcare has committed to invest US$72 million, with the potential investment up to US$110 million in the Fort Smith location and create 130 new jobs over the next few years.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson joined leaders from Mars Petcare and local officials at the announcement celebration in Fort Smith. This investment is in addition to the US$130M invested in the site between 2007 and 2015, which created more than 200 full time jobs.
When the pet food facility was constructed in Fort Smith in 2007, it was the state's first sustainable manufacturing facility and the first sustainable pet food facility in the world, accoring to Mars. The pet food facility is LEED-Gold certified from the United States Green Building Council. It achieved gold status for its efforts to recycle water, reduce energy use, and protect against erosion and light pollution.
The Fort Smith investment is the latest in a series of significant economic investments Mars has made in local communities. In the last five years alone, the company has invested more than US$1B in US factories and operations and created more than 1,000 U.S. jobs.
Locally, Mars Petcare is active within the local community and in 2016 participated in volunteer projects with organizations such as Sebastian County Humane Society, Next Step Homeless Services and Antioch Discovery Garden.
While cat trends continue, the pandemic has added to overall slow-growth treatment of the cat food market.
Premiumization and humanization, as well as automation, fueled continued operation growth in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.