SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today provided an update on fiber operations within the SunOpta Ingredients Group ("the Group") and announced that the Group has expanded its portfolio of fiber products to include MultiFiber(TM) blends, SunOpta(TM) Soy Fiber blends, and SunOpta(TM) Pea Fiber.
Internally developed, MultiFiber(TM) products are highly functional blends of fibers that meet the needs of customers who are looking for a cost efficient, easy-to-use source of fiber for fortification while meeting specific textural goals. All MultiFiber(TM) products deliver a concentrated source of dietary fiber with a smooth texture and bland flavor. These new and innovative ingredients are expected to provide value for food and beverage manufacturers who are looking for ratios of soluble and insoluble fibers similar to what occurs naturally in foods.
SunOpta(TM) Soy Fiber Blends, also internally developed, provide a unique combination of functional fiber and protein that increases yield, moistness and maintains desired firmness in meat products. The new and proprietary blends utilize internally sourced soy fiber derived from SunOpta's vertically integrated soymilk process.
The SunOpta Ingredients Group also announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Best Cooking Pulses of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada who will produce pea fiber under the SunOpta brand. Pea fiber is made from the hulls of field-dried peas and is a by-product of pea splitting. The process of making pea fiber is highly sustainable from start to finish. Pea crops are not irrigated and the manufacturing process uses little water in the cleaning, splitting and milling into fiber. This insoluble fiber fits well with SunOpta's line of natural oat, soy, and barley fibers.
Doug Shreves, President of the SunOpta Ingredients Group, commented, "We are continually seeking to expand our healthy ingredient solutions and believe our new fiber blends and our relationship with Best Cooking Pulses are major steps in continuing to provide nutritious and functional fiber ingredients for our customers. With the growing demand for fiber fortified foods, we believe these additions are key to meeting market demand while at the same time positioning the SunOpta Ingredients Group for continued growth."
SunOpta Ingredients Group is part of the SunOpta Food Group and by management's estimates is the world's largest producer of oat fiber for the food industry. The Group is headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and has five manufacturing facilities. A key component of the Company's growth strategy is to expand its fiber business globally by leveraging its core competencies in the development, manufacture and application of highly functional food fibers.
About SunOpta Inc
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food, supplements and health and beauty markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM) (66.5% owned by SunOpta), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Inc. which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements included in this press release may be considered "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, management's expectations regarding future benefits of the new portfolio of fibers and business relationships, assessment of the continued market demand for fiber fortified products, increasing interest in health and wellness and functional fiber products by consumers and implementation of the Company's growth strategy. Terms and phrases such as "expected", "will produce", "continually seeking", "believe", "positioning", "estimates" and other similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this release and are based on estimates and assumptions made by the Company in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstances including, but not limited to, general economic conditions, product pricing levels, consumer trends, preferences and spending patterns and capabilities of the Company's suppliers and partners. Whether actual timing and results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including customers acceptance of the new products, competitive reaction and our ability to control input costs and achieve expected margins as well as those detailed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report of Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at www.sec.gov). Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.