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Home Royal Canin USA > In The News > Royal Canin News > Mars Petcare and The Nutro Company Break Ground…

Mars Petcare and The Nutro Company Break Ground…

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Mars Petcareand The Nutro Company Break Ground on North American Regional Innovation Centerin Tennessee

$87 Million investment isone of five global regional innovation centers for companies 


May 22, 2012 – NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today Mars Petcare and The Nutro Company broke ground on an $87 millionworld-class Regional Innovation Center in Thompson's Station, Tenn. Thefour-building campus will serve as the companies' home base for creating futurepet care innovations for its North American market.  Located just south of Nashville, Tenn., theentire 90-acre campus will be designed to achieve Gold LEED (Leadership inEnergy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Building Council. 

“Pets and theirowners in the North American market seek high-quality, cutting edge nutrition,and our new Regional Innovation Center will ensure Mars Petcare and NUTRO®products deliver on that promise in new and exciting formats,” said David Macnair,global vice president of research and development, Mars Petcare. “Mars has along history in Tennessee, so it was a natural choice to locate our center hereand we are thankful for the continued partnership of Gov. Bill Haslam and the Stateof Tennessee, Williamson County and our new partners in the town of Thompson’sStation. “

Construction isset to begin immediately on the four buildings after the groundbreaking andcompletion is expected in  Spring 2014.The new center will support 144 jobs.  Eachbuilding on the Regional Innovation Center campus is unique and serves adifferent purpose in the life-cycle of creating new and innovative pet foodproducts. Buildings will include an Innovation Center building, Product DevelopmentCenter, Shared Services building, and the crown jewel of the campus, the PetHealth and Nutrition Center, largely based on the unique and groundbreaking TheWaltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom.

“Mars and Nutro have been a partof Tennessee’s economic landscape starting with Mars’ facility in Cleveland 30years ago,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. “This new campus in Thompson’s Station willbe a welcome addition and a site for innovation, and I’m grateful for theircontinued investment in our state as we work to make Tennessee the No. 1location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

The companiestapped regional talent for the design and construction of the world-classinnovation center. Nashville firm, Hastings Architecture Associates, Inc.,serves as the lead architect and will work closely with the Nashville office ofBrasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor.

“Mars Petcareand The Nutro Company have a proven history of discovering new and excitingways to create a better world for pets,” said U.S. Representative MarshaBlackburn. “They continue to lead the way in pet care innovation and thedevelopment of high-quality, nutritious pet food. It is an honor to be a partof this groundbreaking ceremony for the new Regional Innovation Center thatwill bring 144 new jobs to Williamson County and build on the strongrelationship that these companies have established with our communities inTennessee.”

The RegionalInnovation Center is essential for Mars Petcare globally to accelerate, developand grow their pet food portfolio. The companies make some of the world’s mostbeloved pet foods including, PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, CESAR®, TEMPTATIONS®, NUTRO®,and GREENIES®, in addition to private label pet foods. It was also critical tofind a location that met the companies’ needs as a privately-owned,principles-based corporation with associates passionate about pets and theproducts they design and produce.

As one of the world’s leading foodmanufactures with annual net sales of $30 billion and a century-long history inthe U.S., Mars has operated facilities in Tennessee over the last thirty years.The company established a chocolate manufacturing plant in 1979 in Cleveland,Tenn., and also operates a Wrigley plant and The Nutro Company plant in Tennessee.The headquarters operations for Mars Petcare and The Nutro Company relocated toWilliamson County in Tennessee in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

“This is a greatday for Williamson County, and a great day for the entire Nashville region,”Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said. “Mars Petcare is one of thepremiere employers in Williamson County and their Five Principles are evidenteveryday in the many ways they engage and interact with our community.  The new Regional Innovation Center in Thompson'sStation, one of only five in the world, will provide additional employmentopportunities for our citizens and will help us to continue to economicallydiversify by bringing world-class research and development to WilliamsonCounty.”

During the groundbreakingceremony, the companies’ presidents, Ulf Hahnemann at Mars Petcare and DavidAnsell at The Nutro Company, presented a $50,000 donation to the Thompson’sStation Greenway Trails project. Thompson’s Station Mayor Corey Napier acceptedalongside Rebecca Wynd from Outdoor Encounter.

“Our communitywelcomes Mars as a cornerstone partner in our future growth,” said Thompson’sStation Mayor Corey Napier. “Mars’ corporate commitment to high standards,innovation, and quality of life for its associates and consumers complementsThompson’s Station’s vision of being a lifestyle choice based on those veryvalues. We look forward to combining our “brands” to be a model community forcitizens and companies alike.”   


About Mars,Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made thefirst Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’roots as a confectionery company.  In the1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together theylaunched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdomwith a dream of  building a businessbased on the philosophy of a “mutuality of benefits” for all stakeholders –this vision serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based inMcLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion, six businesssegments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience,and approximately 70,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principlesinto action to make a difference for people and the planet through itsperformance.

Mars brands include: Petcare –PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT™, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and NUTRO®;Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®;Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® andSTARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints.  Food –              UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO™, EBLY™,MASTERFOODS™, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO™; Drinks – ALTERRA® , THE BRIGHT TEACO.®, KLIX™ and FLAVIA®; Mars Symbioscience – COCOAVIA™,  WISDOM PANEL® and SERAMIS™. 

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About Mars Petcare US

Mars Petcare USis the U.S. operations of the world’s largest petcare company at theprivately-held Mars, Incorporated. Mars Petcare US produces some of the world’smost beloved pet care brands, including PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs, CESAR® CanineCuisine, WHISKAS® Food for Cats, THE GOODLIFE RECIPE® Brand andTEMPTATIONS®Treats for Cats. Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., more than 2,400 Mars PetcareUS associates make, sell and distribute its high-quality pet food from 15manufacturing facilities located in communities across the U.S. For moreinformation, please visit

About The Nutro Company
The Nutro Company is a leading manufacturer of natural pet food productsfortified with vitamins and minerals sold exclusively at pet specialty stores.The company has been making "The World's Best Pet Food" for more than80 years and is dedicated to quality, excellence and innovation in dog and catnutrition offering healthful formulas for every pet's life stage, activitylevel and size. The Nutro Company's family of brands includes NUTRO® MAX®,NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® and NUTRO® ULTRA™ pet foods in addition to the GREENIES®brands which include the #1 vet recommended pet specialty dental chews, PILLPOCKETS® treats and JointCare treats. For more information, please visit and


®/™ Trademarks © Mars, Incorporated and itsaffiliates 2012.