Ferrero North America Opens R&D Center in Downtown Chicago

Sept. 19, 2023
The move returns (limited) chocolate-making to an historic building.

Chicago tourists in the previous millennium may have stopped to see the making of Frango chocolates on the 13th floor of the Marshall Field & Co. building on State Street ("that Great Street").

Alas, Frango production moved out of state in 1999 after nearly 70 years, and Marshall Field was bought by Macy’s. But today, chocolate production – or at least its R&D work – returned to the upper floors of the building now anchored by a Macy’s department store, as candy giant Ferrero opened its first North American research and development lab and innovation center there.

The new 45,000-sq.-ft. facility will bring together Ferrero’s R&D teams throughout the U.S., as well as employees from Ferrero’s previous R&D home, Chicago’s Old Post Office. Here they will develop Fannie May, Nutella Café, Keebler, Famous Amos, Mother’s and other chocolate and cookie brands in the Ferrero portfolio.

“Our goal for this space is to reflect Ferrero’s unique heritage and provide an opportunity to create greater synergies among our teams,” Todd Siwak, president and chief business officer of Ferrero North America said in a 2022 announcement. “This new space will foster the collaboration, creativity and culture that Ferrero is known for around the world.”

About 150 cross-functional team members are now working in this downtown Chicago location.

Luxembourg-based Ferrero has established quite a beachhead in Illinois. Its first U.S. acquisition was Chicago-based Ferrara Candy, the maker of Lemonheads, back in 2017. Then came Chicago chocolatier Fannie May. In 2018 and 2019 it bought Nestle’s U.S. candy business, which had several Illinois facilities, and a portion of Kellogg’s North American snacks business. In downstate Bloomington, a $214 million expansion will enable the production of Kinder products in North America for the first time, with that project expected to be complete next year.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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