CHICAGO — Ferrero, a worldwide manufacturer of candies, cookies and other sweets, is betting big on Chicago.

Executives with Ferrero of North America unveiled a new research & development center at the former Marshall Field store along State Street in the Loop, which housed the manufacturing of Frango Mints for decades. Unlike Frango, which left the city a quarter century ago, Ferrero executives are making a long-term commitment.

“We are here for the long term,” Laurent Cremona, the Vice President of Research and Development at Ferrero, said.

Top Ferrero executives say they are keenly focused on Chicago.

“The facility is the first of its kind in North America,” Alanna Cotton, President of Ferrero North America said.

Cotton says the new facility is a historic and strategic investment.

At the new research center, scientists are poised to develop new brand lines to accompany some of the most iconic candy and sweet packaged products in the country.

While the 125 to 150 jobs at the facility will involve transferring already-employed personnel from other Ferrero locations, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who attended Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting, says the new development will further strengthen Chicago’s stature.

“Chicago is the nation’s capital for food manufacturing for more than a century, and it remains so today,” Johnson said.

Among production facilities across North America, Ferrero produces some of its goods at its Far South Side Pullman plant.