In March of last year, Mars officially opened its new $270 million state-of-the-art factory in Topeka, Kansas. When christening the new home of Snickers and M&Ms, the company happily announced the addition of 200 local jobs and said the new plant would meet customer demand for 50 years.
Apparently demand grew a little faster than anticipated. This summer, Mars said it is planning a $100 million addition to the Topeka plant, which will add another 70 jobs once completed in 2016.
Such good news isn’t isolated to just Mars or to Kansas. The American Sugar Alliance has been tracking the domestic expansion of confectioners since 2012. And the list of more than 100 entries includes companies from Wall Street to Main Street and spans from coast to coast.
The good news isn’t just a recent phenomenon, either. Census data show job growth by candy makers over the past decade. According to the 2007 Census, there were 55,997 jobs in the confectionery industry. That number grew to 56,291 jobs in the 2012 Census, which was just recently released.
In other words, candy makers added jobs during the worst recession America has seen since the Great Depression – a time that saw overall U.S. unemployment rise rapidly.
It is an accomplishment for which big candy companies should be proud. And it’s one that would have never been possible without a reliable and affordable supply of homegrown sugar.
Too bad the Big Candy lobby refuses to take credit for all this job growth and economic expansion. Instead, it’s busy trying to trick Congress into believing that U.S. sugar farmers and no-cost sugar policy are somehow causing confectioners unbearable economic pain.