TORONTO, Sep 07, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (STKL) (CA:SOY: news, chart, profile) today provided an update on its North American Acai business. The Company expects to quadruple its sales of Acai in North America to approximately $4.0 million over the next 12 months. "The Acai frozen pulp is sold to food manufacturers as an ingredient in fruit juices, smoothie blends, and soy and dairy applications such as sorbets. It has become the most sought after fruit from our base of customers because of its unique health benefits" says Joseph Stern, Executive Vice President of SunOpta's Fruit Group, who imports the Acai from Brazil.
In addition, the Company announced that SunOpta's Canadian Food Distribution Group has signed an exclusive agreement to market the Belizza line of Acai and pomegranate sorbets, which are expected to add a further $1.0 million in revenue.
Acai is harvested by hand and processed within 24 hours from the Amazon in Brazil and has the highest antioxidants of any fruit in the world and is an almost perfect blend of essential amino acids along with a high level of omega fatty acids and vitamins. Antioxidants are compounds that may help inhibit premature aging, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer disease by neutralizing free radicals. The Acai berries are harvested in a sustainable manner creating jobs in the Amazon and preserving the Rain Forest. A portion of the fruit price goes back to the indigenous peoples in the Amazon to help support schools and provide books and other educational tools to children.
Steve Easterbrook commented, "SunOpta's Food Distribution Group is pleased to have partnered with Belizza to bring a leading edge, healthy, unique, high quality and great tasting desert treat to the Canadian marketplace."
About SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food 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 Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group 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.
Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. 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.