The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company chews up the competition as the world's #1 maker of chewing gum. The company's products include such popular chewing gums as Big Red, Doublemint, Spearmint, Eclipse, Extra, and Juicy Fruit, as well as novelty gums Hubba Bubba and other kid-friendly gums. Wrigley's non-gum items include breath mints Altoids and Velamints and candies Creme Savers and Life Savers. As part of its business, Wrigley also makes chewing-gum bases for other companies as a supplier to the ingredients sector. Owned by confectionery giant Mars Incorporated, Wrigley boasts operations in more than 50 countries and sells its products in about 180 countries worldwide.
The chewing gum maker is headquartered on Goose Island, located on the Chicago River, and is home to some 600 employees.
The company in 2012 left its landmark headquarters building on Chicago's Michigan Avenue and relocated to Goose Island, where the gum maker operates its $57-million, Gold LEED-certified Global Innovation Center. Wrigley had operated out of the Wrigley Building since the 1920s. The newer Goose Island location gives Wrigley space and facilities that are more conducive to innovation, collaboration, and creativity. Nearby facilities give Wrigley more than 360,000 sq. ft. of office and lab space on Goose Island for its Engineering Technology and Information Technology Centers.
Wrigley operates worldwide in 50-plus countries and sells products in 180 countries. It distributes its products to the Americas, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific Region.
Sales and Marketing
Wrigley conducts its marketing and distribution activities through Mars as a way to increase synergies and cost savings. After buying Wrigley, Mars gave Wrigley its non-chocolate candy brands, such as Starburst and Skittles. Its brands portfolio also consists of Extra, Orbit, Doublemint, and five chewing gums, as well as confectionery brands Altoids and Life Savers.
The company has 17,000 associates globally.
Under parent Mars, the company has worked to produce add-on products to its existing brands by introducing new packaging and flavor enhancements. Wrigley has launched several new flavors for its Extra Dessert Delights gum, rolled out a Skittles Blenders chew candy in five new flavors, and developed Life Savers Mints Bottles. Similar to the custom M&M's product offered by Mars, Wrigley has rolled out a MyExtra gum, an Extra-branded sugar-free gum that can be personalized with photos or designs for weddings, baby showers, birthdays, and other events.
It's also strategically restructuring its operations. In early 2015, for example, parent-company Mars announced that it would shut down its Wrigley gum factory in Toronto as part of its supply-chain reorganization plans in North America. However, Wrigley also recently announced that it is investing some $50 million to expand its Yorkville plant in Illinois by 145,000 sq. ft., to begin production by the end of 2015. In mid-2014, Wrigley announced that it would add the production of popular candy brand Skittles to its Yorkville facility.
The founding Wrigley family sold the company to Mars in 2008. The takeover, valued at some $23 billion, united two iconic US companies, each of which already had a substantial global presence. Wrigley became a private, stand-alone subsidiary of Mars, relieving it of the costs and constraints of being a public company. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway helped finance the takeover by Mars and owned a more than 10% interest in Wrigley.