Ferrero North America has broken ground on a new chocolate processing facility in Bloomington, Illinois, Ferrero Group’s first outside of Europe.

State and local leaders joined Ferrero at a ceremony to celebrate the occasion, including Sylvia Garcia, acting director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered remarks via video.

Set to open in spring 2023, the new facility is an expansion of Ferrero's existing Bloomington manufacturing center and will produce chocolate for Crunch, 100Grand, Raisinets, and other Ferrero products for the North American market. The $75 million project will add 70,000 sq. ft. to Ferrero's Beich Road footprint and add as many as 50 new jobs. Annually, Ferrero spends nearly $300 million in Illinois, supporting over 1,300 employees and 560 suppliers.

"The ability to process high quality chocolate here in North America is instrumental to building on our important growth in this market, which is advancing Ferrero towards our goal of being a world leader in global confectionery," said Todd Siwak, president and chief business officer of Ferrero North America. "I am so happy that we are able to reach this important milestone in Illinois, the heart of America's food and confections industry."

Ghafari Associates provided architectural and engineering design services for the bid documents associated with the project. Additionally, Ghafari will provide technical support and on-site construction supervision. The Austin Company is Ferrero's design-build partner responsible for the engineering and construction of the project.

"Ferrero's continued investment in Illinois is a testament to the caliber of our talent, the strength of our infrastructure, and our direct access to markets across the country and around the globe," Garcia said. "Under Governor Pritzker's leadership, Illinois is committed to upholding our status as the leading Midwest destination for food production and supporting new and existing companies in their plans to innovate, fuel jobs, and produce their household brands from right here in Illinois."

Ferrero has focused investment in North America in recent years, including the expansion of its North American headquarters in New Jersey, new distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia, and significant development of facilities in Franklin Park, Illinois as well as Bloomington. The company's footprint in the market now totals eight offices and 10 plants and warehouses in North America, including a cocoa processing plant in Brantford, Ontario.