Wodonga’s Mars Petcare is looking to the future and preparing to launch a new all-natural line of cat and dog food.
General manger Barry O’Sullivan said the new production comes as a part of a $30 million investment in the facility.
On Friday, Mr O’Sullivan, Northern Victoria members Jaclyn Symes and Daniel Young along with Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie and Indi member Cathy McGowan opened the company’s single-serve tray facility upgrade.
Mr O’Sullivan said $52.5 million and thousands of hours had been invested in the single-serve tray facility.
He said the investment had also secured the 507 jobs at Wodonga Mars.
While no new jobs had been created, Mr O’Sullivan the construction phase had created employment opportunities in the region.
He said single serve trays were recyclable, with recycled water used in production.
“We’re very proud to be a zero waste to landfill site,” he said.
“Every year we reduce our energy and water usage by four per cent.”
Mr O’Sullivan said the new product would increase their export abilities.
Ms Symes said even though no new jobs were created, it was still an important investment for the government to back.
“Any investment that secures 500 jobs is well made,” she said.
“This new extension to Mars Petcare’s facility allows Australia to meet demand.
“Mars Petcare Australia is an integral part of the local economy and a cornerstone of advanced manufacturing in the region and the Victorian Government will continue to work with the company in relation to any new opportunities for the Wodonga facility.”
The production plant creates about 11,000 tonnes of the Dine and MyDog trays each year, and the expansion will double production capacity and boost exports by $20 million each year.
Mr O’Sullivan said now the tray plant had been opened the company would turn its eyes to the future. Over the past two years into this year, $30 million had been spent across the site.
An innovation centre and waste water treatment facility had been established, and there had been investment in sustainable upgrades.
Mr O’Sullivan said the company would soon be launching a new natural product called Nature’s Table, to cater to a growing consumer market and support Australian producers.
“It follows a trend buyers want,” he said.
“We are preparing to launch with key retail partners in dry and wet food, cans and trays as well as a range of natural treats as well.”