Mars France

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Key Facts

  • Launched in 1951

  • Five business segments: Petcare (including Fishcare), Chocolate, Food, Wrigley and Drinks

  • More than 4,500 Associates

  • Eight factories and three offices

  • Popular brands include M&M'S®, TWIX®, PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, UNCLE BEN'S®, EBLY®, FREEDENT®, ROYAL CANIN®, AIRWAVES®, KLIX® and FLAVIA®

Mars in France

The first MARS® bar was sold in France in 1951. In 1962, we began importing CHAPPIE® dog food and KITEKAT® cat food for sale in France. We purchased the pioneering Strasbourg-based pet food company, SABI, renaming it UNISABI and taking over its brands CANIGOU® and RONRON® in 1967. In the same year, Wrigley opened a gum factory in Biesheim, Alsace.

We continued to expand throughout the 1970s and 80s, opening our pet food factory in Saint-Denis-de-L'Hôtel, Loiret, in 1973; and our chocolate factory in Haguenau, Alsace, in 1974. The Ernolsheim-sur-Bruche pet food factory, which makes CESAR® and SHEBA®, opened in 1981, the same year Mars Drinks launched in France (originally as Four Square Drinks). In 1989, we opened our Steinbourg plant to make DOVEUROPE® ice creams.

In 2000, we invested in a product innovation co-developed by French farmers and the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). Now known as EBLY® Tender Wheat, it is produced by a farming cooperative in Châteaudun and is marketed by Mars. In 2002, we acquired the French pet food company Royal Canin®and the fish care company, Rena.

Mars France now has more than 4,500 Associates working at 11 sites, including eight factories.

Principles in Action

Mars France is committed to using certification to demonstrate that its products are responsibly sourced. In March 2011, our Petcare segment launched its first SHEBA® pet food varieties containing responsibly sourced fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. In September 2011, BALISTO® became the first Mars chocolate bar in France to commit to buying UTZ Certified sustainable cocoa. We also look beyond our ingredients and ask suppliers of printed materials to use Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper. This certification guarantees that the paper is sourced from a sustainably managed forest.

Wrigley’s factory at Biesheim treats wastewater anaerobically, which provides renewable energy in the form of biogas. Our Chocolate, Food and Petcare segments have joined forces with companies that deliver to our customers: by teaming up and sharing trucks, we now put 800 fewer trucks on the road, saving around 300 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year. We also choose company cars with lower GHG emissions. In 2011, Wrigley France reduced its GHG emissions from transport by seven percent. In addition, Mars Petcare has started using a direct rail link to transport products manufactured in Germany for distribution across France. The new system provides greater efficiency, and has halved our use of road transport on the route, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent.

We understand the importance of good health and nutrition. In February 2012, Mars Chocolate France became the first company in the chocolate market to sign a voluntary charter of nutritional progress with the French Health Ministry, as part of the National Nutritional Health Program (PNNS). The commitments are to:

  • Decrease the saturated fat content of all nougat bars sold in France (MARS®, SNICKERS®, MILKY WAY®) by 15 percent from 2010 levels

  • Reduce the saturated fat content of all biscuit bars (BALISTO® and TWIX®) sold in France by 20 percent by the end 2014 from 2010 levels.

  • Reduce the total fat and saturated fat content of all ice cream bars by lowering the dairy fat content from nine to five percent from 2010 levels.

Mars Food is committed to improving the nutritional quality of our UNCLE BEN'S® Ready-to-Heat rice and sauces. In May 2011, Mars Food France also signed the voluntary charter of nutritional progress, committing to reduce the sodium content of UNCLE BEN'S® Express Rice by 24 percent and UNCLE BEN'S®sauces by 18 percent by the end of 2011. We are also committed to promoting balanced diets and physical activity for our Associates by raising awareness of the Ministry's National Nutrition and Health Program.

Wrigley France has been committed to improving oral health for many years. In 2011, Wrigley launched an e-learning program for Associates on the oral care benefits of chewing gum, and invited volunteers to visit elementary schools with dentists.

We pride ourselves on being a great workplace that makes a positive contribution to its local communities. Our Petcare and Food segments came third among French companies with more than 500 employees in the 2011 Best Workplaces contest organized by the Great Place to Work Institute. During 2011, our two Chocolate sites were completely refurbished to improve the ergonomics of the working environment, increase natural light, and reduce noise. The Steinbourg site distinguished itself by recruiting and training 45 seasonal Associates, half of whom had no experience of production, 30 percent of whom were women and 22 percent seniors. A comprehensive tutorial system and a diverse workforce have proved to be a successful combination.

Our Chocolate and Food segments took part in a project to collect funds for the annual Téléthon event in France. This event raises funds to support research programs and services for people (especially children) with neuromuscular diseases and to inform the public about rare genetic disorders.

Our Associates are committed to making the world a better place for pets. In support of HANDI‘CHIENS®, a national organization that trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities, we provided 22 tonnes of PEDIGREE® dog food on top of financial donations. We encourage Associates to help care for the dogs during their training. Since 2006, about 145 Associates have welcomed dogs in their home for a weekend. Our joint WHISKAS® and PEDIGREE® branded “They’re coming with us” campaign helps prevent pets from being abandoned during summer holidays, and provides useful tips to help owners enjoy holidays with their pet.

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