- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Officials with candy maker Mars Inc. say they expect a new plant in Kansas to be producing millions of chocolates to satisfy America’s collective sweet tooth for a half-century.

The company had a grand-opening ceremony Thursday for its new, 500,000-square-foot plant. The facility will have the capacity to produce 39 million M&M;’s and 14 million bite-sized Snickers a day.

It’s the first new Mars plant in North America in 35 years, and Mars Chocolate North America President Debra Sandler said nine others are operating at full capacity.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the event and said afterward that the state wants to attract companies like Mars that rely on steady growth in their sales.

The company said it invested $270 million in the new plant.

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