Ferrero North America, part of the global confectionery company Ferrero Group, will invest up to $214.4 million to expand its chocolate processing and product manufacturing plant in Bloomington, IL. The 169,000-square-foot addition will be dedicated to producing Kinder Bueno, a popular Ferrero premium chocolate bar in Europe that launched in the U.S. in 2019.
Construction of the expansion is projected to start by Fall 2022 and is anticipated to create up to 200 new jobs over a four-year period. The new expansion will be one of the largest production lines built by Ferrero outside of Europe. The new facility is set to open in 2024.
“The investments we’re making in Bloomington are fueling continued growth for Ferrero in North America and are also creating important job opportunities in the community,” said Todd Siwak, President and Chief Business Officer of Ferrero North America. “We are thrilled to continue growing here with the invaluable support of the City of Bloomington, McLean County, and the State of Illinois.”
As part of the expansion, the company received an Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit, which stipulates a goal of investing $103 million and creating 75 jobs over the next two years.
The announcement comes just months after Ferrero broke ground on a chocolate processing facility at the same location, which is set to begin operating in 2023.
“Just months after Ferrero broke ground on its first-ever U.S. chocolate processing facility in Illinois, the establishment of the Kinder Bueno production line is a testament to Illinois’ talented workforce and reputation on the global stage,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We thank Ferrero for its vote of confidence in Illinois and for bringing more opportunity and jobs to the Bloomington-Normal region.”
“We’re excited to see our relationship with Ferrero North America continue to grow, along with the company’s footprint here in Bloomington,” said Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe. “Increasing the Ferrero labor force with our homegrown talent truly shows the company’s commitment to central Illinois.”
The new line – which will manufacture Kinder Bueno bars and minis – represents the first time Kinder products will be made in North America. First launched in the market in 2019, Kinder Bueno is now a $167 million brand in North America, growing more than 51% over the past year.
“We are elevating the treating experience with Kinder Bueno’s unique mix of flavors and textures and American consumers have really embraced that,” said Catherine Bertrac, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kinder at Ferrero North America. “Being able to make Kinder Bueno right here in North America will help us build on our tremendous momentum and continue meeting consumer demand.”
Ferrero has made significant investments in North America, including the expansion of its North American headquarters in New Jersey and establishing new distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia. Last fall in Bloomington, the company broke ground on its first ever chocolate processing facility outside Europe, and earlier this year announced an expansion of operations at its cocoa processing plant in Brantford, Ontario.
The company has nearly $300 million in output in Illinois alone, over 1,350 current full-time staff in Illinois, and more than 350 in Bloomington, making it one of the largest employers in the area. Additionally, Ferrero partners with Heartland Community College on an apprenticeship partnership that strengthens the workforce pipeline by training and certifying maintenance workers at the plant.