Prepared Foods September 6, 2005 eNewsletter

Altoids are crossing the Atlantic to begin a new phase of their production history, and U.S. workers have reason to cheer.

Wm Wrigley Jr. Co., which owns the Altoids brand, said it is expanding its candy plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., as part of its plan to shift production from its Bridgend, Wales, facility.

The expansion plans include the addition of 150 new full-time positions and more than 60,000 square feet of space to the plant, the company said in a statement.

Wrigley's, which acquired the Altoids brand when it purchased Kraft's candy business in 2004, said investment in the expansion and equipment comes to about $14 million.

"This decision shows the level of confidence we have in our team here and reflects our intention to make Chattanooga a key part of Wrigley's confectionery operations," Ron Pillsbury, senior director of supply chain, said in the statement.

Altoids, which were created by a London company, have been made in Great Britain since the reign of King George III, according to the candy's website.

Wrigley first announced its plan to shift production of the mints in June of this year, saying that when it looked at U.S. locations where product demand is strongest, Chattanooga emerged as a clear leader.