Mars subsidiary Wm Wrigley Jr. Company opened a new 145,000ft² Skittles production line at its existing confectionery manufacturing facility in Yorkville, Illinois.

Its new manufacturing line will enhance the company’s capacity to meet an increasing demand for Skittles, a popular rainbow-coloured sweets brand.

"This expansion has created 75 new permanent manufacturing associates and hundreds of construction jobs."

Skittles are produced at the Yorkville factory and distributed across the US, South America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Wrigley’s Yorkville factory expansion details

Wrigley announced its plans to add a new Skittles production line to the existing facility in Yorkville in May 2014. Construction began in June 2014 with an investment of $50m.

The Illinois department of commerce and economic opportunity (DCEO) awarded $250,000 for construction and $37,500 to aid in job training. Through the economic development for a growing economy programme, DCEO granted Wrigley $2m in tax benefits.

This expansion has created 75 new permanent manufacturing associates and hundreds of construction jobs, supporting economic development in Yorkville and Illinois.

Contractors involved with the expansion

Wrigley awarded a contract to HR Green, an engineering and technical consulting company based in the US. Under the contract, HR Green provided a range of services including plotting, landscape architecture, and onsite final civil engineering for the Yorkville plant expansion in May 2014.

US-based design-build company Gray Construction was contracted to build the new production line.

Skittles production process

Skittles are bite-sized, fruit-flavoured, chewy sweets, which are offered in flavours such as wild berry, tropical, original, and sweet and sour.

The new line will produce Skittles in three levels. In the first phase, the raw ingredients are mixed in a kitchen and then dried. They are then formed into Skittles-shaped pieces.

These are then coated with hard coloured shell using an enrobing machine. A layer of shine is then added with the letter S on it. A variety of Skittles’ flavours are then put together in each package.

Details of Wrigley’s existing plant in Yorkville

Wrigley’s existing Yorkville manufacturing factory is a one-storey building covering 215,000ft². It opened in 1995.

With a workforce of approximately 300 people, this facility produces Wrigley’s brands such as Life Savers non-chocolate sweets, mints, doublemint gums, and Juicy Fruit gums.

Marketing commentary on Wrigley

Established in Chicago in 1891, Wrigley manufactures and distributes a range of products including sweets, jellies, chocolate, gums, lollipops, and mints. Its global footprint spans 40 countries and its products are sold in more than 180 countries.

The company currently operates 21 manufacturing facilities in 14 countries. Wrigley’s brands in the US market include 5 Gum, Altoids mints, Doublemint, Big Red, Hubba Bubba, Eclipse, Big Red, Extra, Creme Savers, Juicy Fruit, Freedent, Orbit, Starburst, Winterfresh, and Spearmint.

Over the past seven years, Wrigley has invested approximately $200m for the expansion of its operations in Illinois.

Wrigley was acquired by confectionery producer Mars for $23bn. In addition to Yorkville Skittles facility, Mars operates a Skittles production line at its candy-making plant located in Waco, Texas.