Mars in India
Signed copy of the MOU being exchanged between Apurva Chandra, principal secretary, dept. of industries, Maharashtra, and MV Natarajan, general manager, Mars Chocolates India. People watching (from l. to r.) include Devendra Phadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra; Subhash Desai, minister of industries, Maharashtra; and Ehab AbouOaf, regional president, APAC, Mars Chocolate.

Mars International India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mars, Inc., has announced it is on track with plans for its first chocolate factory in India.

The chocolate maker plans to invest Rs.1,005 crores (more than $160 million) into a new factory in Pune, which will produce brands such as Snickers and Galaxy to cater to the growing chocolate demand across the country.

And, last week Mars signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maharashtra Government at the Vidhan Sabha in Mumbai — a significant step in deepening the company’s presence and commitment to India.

The project is expected to generate direct employment opportunities for more than 200 people and indirect employment opportunities to more 1,000 people.

“The chocolate industry in India is growing at nearly 20 percent every year and we see this as a huge opportunity to expand our chocolate portfolio in the country in the coming years,” says MV Natarajan, general manager, Mars International India.

Natarajan adds that Mars chose Pune because it’s an investor friendly and progressive city.

“The climate, geography, talent availability, proximity to port, therefore to raw material and the proximity to demand cluster, makes Pune one of the most viable locations for chocolate manufacturing,” he explains.

The factory also will be eco-friendly and a LEED GOLD certified facility.

“This will boost our production capacity and efficiently support the growing demand for Mars chocolates in India,” Natarajan says.

In India, Mars operates in two categories, a pet care manufacturing and marketing business; and a chocolate importation and marketing operation. The chocolate segment has its corporate office in Gurgaon, New Delhi, and Mars India’s chocolate portfolio includes: Snickers, Galaxy, Mars, Bounty, Twix.