TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on natural and organic foods, today announced plans to further expand its value-added flexible re-sealable pouch processing and packaging capabilities at its Allentown, PA facility.
In response to continued demand for flexible re-sealable pouch products, the Company will be adding additional filling lines at its Allentown operation, which is anticipated to more than double the processing capacity at that facility. The new lines are expected to come on-line in the third quarter of 2013, increasing the Company's total filling capacity to approximately 150 million pouches. Flexible re-sealable pouch products leverage the Company's integrated capabilities from sourcing raw materials through ingredient production and finished packaged products, ensuring control of quality and organic certification, and providing traceability from the farm to the retail shelf. Going forward, the Allentown facility has room for further expansion and the Company is also exploring further geographic expansion opportunities to meet growing customer demand.
"Continued expansion of our value-added flexible re-sealable pouch processing and packaging capabilities remains a key strategic objective designed to leverage our integrated field to table capabilities," commented Steve Bromley, SunOpta's Chief Executive Officer. "The variety of products offered in pouches continues to grow, driven in part by the consumer's desire for convenient, portable, healthy and nutritious foods in sustainable packaging formats, and we believe SunOpta is well positioned to capitalize on these trends as we continue to focus on our strategy of becoming a pure play natural and organic foods company."The flexible re-sealable pouch market is rapidly expanding in North America and well established in Europe and Asia. The pouch format is applicable to a wide range of product categories including natural and organic fruit and vegetable snacks, apple sauces, tomato products, baby food, yogurts, beverages, toppings, among many other packaged food products.