TORONTO, Jan 31, 2005 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX) -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta) (STKL)(CA:SOY) is pleased to announce the opening of its new state-of-the-art food distribution centre in Toronto, Ontario. The 135,000 square foot facility is the largest facility in Canada dedicated to the distribution of organic, natural and kosher foods and includes 20,000 square feet of freezer space as well as 12,000 square feet of cooler space. The facility is expandable to 185,000 square feet in order to accommodate anticipated future growth.
SunOpta will consolidate three of its organic, natural and kosher grocery distributors into this facility, including Supreme Foods, Snapdragon Natural Foods and Kofman-Barenholtz. Operations will be consolidated on a phased basis over the next six months beginning with Supreme Foods. The facility will initially inventory and distribute approximately 8,000 product SKUs and is expected to expand to in excess of 11,000 over the next two years.
Steve Easterbrook, President of the Canadian Food Distribution Group commented "The new facility will incorporate leading edge systems to optimize customer service including voice technology, radio frequency order picking and warehouse management systems tailored to optimizing efficiency in the food distribution environment. Environmentally friendly construction materials utilized in the building include recyclable carpet tiles, cork flooring, furniture constructed from recycled materials, special low energy lighting with motion sensors, low VOC paints as well as wallboards that use recycled paper. Use of the materials is consistent with SunOpta's values, focusing on organic, natural and kosher foods and supporting the environment."
SunOpta's organic produce line in Ontario will continue to be distributed from the separate, existing Pro Organics distribution centre in Toronto.
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. For the last six consecutive years, SunOpta was included in Profit magazine's 'Profit 100' list of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. 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 StakeTech Steam Explosion Group that engineers and markets clean pulping systems using patented steam explosion technology. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.