TORONTO, Nov 9, 2005 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX) -- SunOpta Inc. (STKL) (CA:SOY) announced today that Organic Ingredients Inc., a division of the SunOpta Fruit Group, has signed an exclusive agreement with Sambazon Acai, a San Clemente, California-based company, for the bulk distribution of organic Acai (pronounced: ah-sigh-ee) pulp to food and beverage manufacturers in North America.
Acai is a dark purple berry that is rich in nutrients and grows atop the millions of palm trees in the Brazilian Amazon. The fruit is wild-harvested by local farmers and processed into a fruit pulp which is quick frozen to retain its nutritional properties. Acai berries contain a very high concentration of anthocyanins, the same antioxidants that give red wine its health benefits, as well as generous amounts of protein, fiber, and omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. For those reasons, the Acai fruit has been gaining considerable popularity worldwide.
Jeremy Kendall, Chairman and CEO of SunOpta Inc., stated, "We are pleased to partner with Sambazon Acai to broaden the distribution of this remarkably nutritious food on the North American continent. The addition of Acai to our already extensive line of natural and organically grown foods and food ingredients provides us with another very unique food source that offers a healthy ingredient to our customers. This is one of our core values as a company. SunOpta expects revenue in the first year to be between U.S. $1 and U.S. $1.5 million."
Joseph Stern, President of Organic Ingredients and Vice President of the SunOpta Fruit Group, said, "Adding organic Acai pulp to our already extensive line of organic offerings will enable us to continue to be a leader in the development of organic private label fruit juice products for major retail grocery chains, food manufacturers and distributors in North America. In addition, the exclusive supply of organic Acai pulp will provide a valuable industrial ingredient that can be used in a wide range of food and beverage applications."
Ryan Black, CEO and Founder of Sambazon Acai, said, "We look forward to working with the SunOpta Fruit Group to dramatically increase the awareness and appeal of this remarkably nutritious fruit. With a distinct flavor of vibrant berries and a hint of chocolate, coupled with its extraordinary antioxidant properties, we firmly believe that Acai will become widely accepted and sought after by consumers.
Mr. Black continued, "Sambazon's sustainable business model allows us to supply this exciting new food to the North American market while helping thousands of native families protect biodiversity in the rainforest while providing a livelihood for their families."
Sambazon is the global leader in Acai consumer products, wholesale Acai pulp, powder and other Amazon superfoods. Founded in 2000 as the first company to bring the antioxidant-rich Acai berry from the Amazon to North America, Sambazon's mission is to deliver high quality, organic superfood products to the planet. Sambazon's product line of Organic Smoothies, Frozen Smoothie Packs, Ready-to-Blend Concentrates, Acai PowerCaps(TM) and Acai PowerScoop(TM) are enjoyed by world-class athletes and health-conscious consumers everywhere. Products are available at major retail stores and juice bars across North America including Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Vitamin Shoppe, Jamba Juice, GNC and Juice It Up! Sambazon has pioneered the first of its kind Fair Trade and Certified Organic supply chain of Acai which benefits thousands of local families and protects the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest through sustainable agriculture. For more information on Sambazon Acai and to learn more about sustainable development in the Amazon visit www.sambazon.com.
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. For the last seven 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 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.