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MARS Chocolate Australia employs more than 500 people in
Ballarat and a further 120 salespeople around Australia.
Mars Incorporated was founded by candy salesman Frank C.
Mars in Minneapolis in 1911 and remains a private, family-owned
Mars established its first manufacturing plant in Ballarat in
Its chocolate unit manufactures iconic brands including Mars,
M&Ms, Snickers, Malteasers, Bounty, Dove, Milkyway, Bounty
Mars is the second largest confectionery company in Australia
with sales in excess of $350 million annually.
Its Australian operations export to more than 30 companies
including New Zealand, South Africa, China, Japan, Sri Lanka,
and the Middle East, which accounts for a third of Australia's
total confectionery exports.
Worldwide Mars Incorporated employs more than 65,000
associates at more than 230 sites, including 135 factories in
68 countries worldwide.
The company is one of the world's largest food companies and
operates six business segments: Chocolate, Petcare, Wrigley,
Food, Drinks and Symbioscience.
MARS Chocolate Australia
PHIL Duffy's experience working at Mars has been pretty sweet.
Mr Duffy started at the Ballarat plant when he was just 19 years old,
but had already worked in several different jobs.
He had been a clerk in Melbourne, a cleaner at Lakeside and spent
time working at the Ballarat Meatworks.
"The word on the grapevine was that Mars was opening a plant," he said.
"The guys at the Meatworks said you're mad going up there, because
you don't know how long it's going to last."
Now 30 years later, both Lakeside and the Meatworks have closed - but
Mars is still going strong producing millions of chocolate bars a week
for sale throughout Australia and New Zealand.
For Mr Duffy, a process operator, the role has evolved as the technology
has changed and Mars began producing a larger range of confectionary
When the plant first started it only produced Mars, Snickers and Milky
Ways, today there are many more including Twix, Malteasers, Bounty,
Skittles and Pods.
And when he started there were about 80 staff members and he "knew
everyone" while today there are more than 500 people working at the
Also, in the early days the production process was more labour intensive,
whereas there is now an increased reliance on technology and
Mr Duffy has travelled to the United States and England in his job to
learn how to make different products.
He said it was always a challenge to make new types of confectionary
with different technology, but the result was the chocolate bars tasted
the same wherever you were in the world.
And the Wendouree site continues to be an enjoyable place to work.
From the spotless and light-filled front offices to the canteen equipped
with Internet stations and a fish pond, the place has a cheerful vibe.
And for Mr Duffy, it has led to the creation of life-long friendships.
Mr Duffy said he attended school with some of his workmates and
because of the nature of shift work in the early days they would often
spend time catching up on weekdays dirt-bike riding.
Their families have also grown up together.
On reflection Mr Duffy's gamble to change jobs and move to Mars has
more than paid off.
"It turned into a really good job, it's allowed me to see the world and
live a pretty good lifestyle," he said.
Story: Cathy Morris
Pictures: Lachlan Bence
MARS Chocolate Australia
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