Mars Wrigley boosts manufacturing capability to meet new product demand

Mars Wrigley Australia has announced it has bolstered its local manufacturing capability by investing over $300,000 to bring new technologies to its chocolate factory in Ballarat, Victoria.

The investment enables Mars Wrigley to produce M&M’s Pretzel locally, bringing the salty and sweet treat to Australia for the first time. Additionally, the latest investment expands the capability for the Ballarat factory to create filled M&M’S and explore more Australian-made innovations for M&M’S.

The Ballarat factory currently has the capacity to produce over five billion M&M’S per year  – a distance equivalent to traveling around Australia 3.5 times (56,000 kilometres) – with M&M’S Pretzel the latest addition to its local production line.

The latest equipment upgrade is part of a broader $37 million investment Mars Wrigley Australia has committed to in 2020 – enabling the manufacturer to continue to upgrade the factory to future-proof and advance its local manufacturing capability.

The investment follows the Ballarat factory’s 40th Anniversary, which it celebrated in November last year and builds on the $14 million invested into the Ballarat factory to maintain and upgrade its operations in 2018.

“We are dedicated to continuing to support Australia’s manufacturing sector and invest and innovate in infrastructure, equipment and processes at our local factories to ensure they remain world class. This latest project is part of our long-term ambition to continue to drive and develop our core bitesize brands that we manufacture locally in Ballarat,” said Andrew Leakey, general manager – Mars Wrigley Australia.

The Ballarat factory is a Regional Technical Hub for Mars Wrigley’s global brand development and innovation pipeline. As a result, many of Mars Wrigley’s most celebrated innovations – including Pods and M&M’S Honeycomb were invented in Ballarat by Australian employees.

Ballarat is one of four Mars factories in the world that manufactures and exports Maltesers and back in 2012 Mars Wrigley invested close to $50 million to build a new Maltesers’ production facility. Ballarat is also the only Mars Wrigley factory in the world that has the capability to manufacture Pods.

Mars Wrigley’s Ballarat factory employs more than 350 people.

Food and Wine event organised for regional Victoria

Melbourne Food and Wine’s Festival’s Crawl ‘n’ Bite concept is expanding to Ballarat.

The launch of the Made of Ballarat Pop Up Shop in Melbourne will promote Ballarat’s world class food and wine experiences and handcrafted products.

Minister for tourism and major events John Eren joined Visit Ballarat CEO Noel Dempsey, chairman of Food and Wine Victoria Radek Sali and mayor of Ballarat Samantha McIntosh on October 18 to announce the events, which will help drive visitation to regional Victoria.

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s Crawl ‘n’ Bite series brings diners together who sample the best of Victoria’s food and drink over three separate venues in one evening.

READ: Highlights of Fine Food Australia include focus on robotics and health foods

“These events are a great platform to share what regional Victoria has to offer, creating opportunities to get the world talking about Australia’s premier food and wine destination and talented makers,” said Eren.

The inaugural regional series will be hosted in Ballarat, Healesville and Kyneton in March over a weekend dedicated to regional experiences that showcase Victoria’s restaurants, food bowls and wineries.

The series will not only help to grow local tourism by enticing more visitors to enjoy the renowned food and wine experiences of regional Victoria, but will it also encourage visitors to stay longer.

Dempsey said Visit Ballarat is incredibly excited about the announcements, which are testament to the wealth of product Ballarat has to offer the most discerning visitor.

For those unable to make it to the region, the Victorian government is bringing the best of Ballarat’s food producers and artisans to Melbourne through the $2 million Regional Events and Innovation Fund (REIF).

The REIF will fund the Made of Ballarat Pop Up Shop which will offer everything from goat’s cheese and locally made gin to handcrafted wrought iron and merino wool beanies.

The REIF provides support to develop and deliver more innovative regional local campaigns and a strong calendar of events which will help bring visitors to our regions, support businesses to grow and create more jobs for locals.

About 4.2 million visitors enjoyed a food and wine experience during their stay in Victoria in the year ending March 2018.

In the same period, regional Victoria received 50.1m visitors who spent $9.7 billion.


Vic gov boost for agricultural manufacturing

The Victorian state government is backing two Ballarat agricultural machinery producers to expand their operations, creating 27 jobs and driving Victoria’s competitiveness as a producer of Australian-made farm machinery.

Goldacres is a sprayer company with 40 years’ history in Ballarat, producing Australian-made products that suit local conditions and the needs for Australian farmers.

A $2.78 million project will reconfigure Goldacres’ manufacturing facility with new infrastructure, equipment and technology that will enable the company to produce larger models of self-propelled sprayers.

Customer demand for larger and self-propelled sprayers is increasing and Goldacres is looking to respond to this by producing a 48-metre boom sprayer.

Goldacres will also use the funding for research and development to diversify its operations into the horticultural sector with different models suited to the different industry needs.

Southern Spreaders designs and manufactures agriculture spreader machinery and has a 30-year history in Ballarat, supplying made to order spreaders for the Australia and New Zealand market.

The company’s $860,000 investment will allow Southern Spreaders to create an additional arm of its business, producing a range of spreaders for a national dealership distribution network.

The new product line, under the brand name ‘Hansa’, will be one of the only Australian made spreaders in the market, and is expected to replace 10 per cent of imported products.

The investment will go towards modifications of the shop floor for better efficiency, and the installation of new cranes and painting equipment to support a more intensive production line.

The Labor Government is supporting both projects through the Regional Jobs Fund, backing Ballarat’s manufacturing strengths and creating new jobs.

Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford said, “Goldacres and Southern Spreaders have a long and proud history in Ballarat, and with our support, we look forward to watching these Ballarat manufacturers thrive into the future.”