Local manufacturing receives boost with Mars Wrigley’s $28.8m investment

Image credit: Mars Wrigley Australia

Snacks and treats manufacturer Mars Wrigley Australia announced an extra $28.8 million investment at its Ballarat factory to bolster its local innovation and manufacturing capabilities, building on more than $67 million invested since 2021.

The announcement comes as paper-based packaging, one of the factory’s biggest breakthroughs, starts to hit shelves nationwide.

With the most recent investment, Mars Wrigley’s famous MARS BAR, SNICKERS, and MILKY WAY will transition to the new packaging, which can be recycled using conventional kerbside recycling bins, marking a first for the brand and the world.

The new paper-based packaging, which will be on shelves starting on 10 April, is the result of in-depth research and development trials at Mars Wrigley’s Ballarat manufacturing facility.

It is expected to eliminate more than 360 tonnes of plastic from the company’s value chain, which is enough to stretch from Melbourne to London and back.

Mars Wrigley will also be able to replace critical manufacturing equipment, pave the door for more environmentally friendly packaging solutions, and foster greater innovation across its full bar and Bitesize portfolios.

Andrew Leakey, general manager of Mars Wrigley expressed his delight over the company’s innovation in packaging and sustainability in Australia.

“We are the first Mars Wrigley market in the world to launch a recyclable paper-based packaging at this size and scale, and it speaks volumes to the commitment of our team locally who have been working on this project for almost three years,” Leakey remarked.

To reach the company’s 2025 packaging pledges and targets, as well as to further develop Australia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities and the future of Australian-made goods, Leakey emphasised that it is essential that Mars continue to innovate and invest in sustainable solutions.

Richard Smith, Amcor’s director of sustainability in Asia Pacific said, “We are proud to be partnering with our customers to deliver innovative sustainable solutions to the local market, helping Australian brands to meet the National Packaging Targets.”

Smith continued, “We want to be part of the solution, advancing the development of our packaging technology to create a local circular economy for flexible packaging. We are excited to continue innovating with Mars Wrigley to meet Australian consumers’ changing needs.”

Brooke Donnelly, Coles’ general manager of sustainability, welcomes the addition of Mars Wrigley’s alternative packaging to supermarket shelves and believes that business innovation and collaboration are required to advance sustainable solutions for consumers.

“It’s encouraging to see Australian manufacturers take steps towards providing sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging,” Donnelly remarked. 

He went on to say that in order to promote additional innovation and accomplish shared sustainability goals, organizations must collaborate and work together.

As part of the company’s $1 billion Sustainable in a Generation plan, Mars Wrigley said it is dedicated both in Australia and globally to supporting and developing a circular economy where packaging never becomes garbage.

From 10 April 2023, all reputable supermarkets and convenience stores across the country will sell Mars Wrigley’s new paper-based packaging on 47g and 64g MARS BARS, 44g and 64g SNICKERS, and 45g MILKY WAY bars.