On the Street -- SunOpta in South African Alliance

December 1/Toronto/GlobeNewswire -- SunOpta Inc. announced that the SunOpta Grains & Foods Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary, SunOpta Africa, has entered into a strategic alliance with Specialized Protein Products (SPP) of South Africa to manufacture and sell liquid and powdered soy ingredients and soymilk beverages in Africa and other international markets. This exclusive manufacturing and supply agreement provides the SunOpta Grains & Foods Group with an increased supply of soymilk products and improved logistics that are expected to enable it to compete effectively in world markets for natural and organic soy-based ingredients and packaged products.

The SPP facility, located in Potchefstroom, South Africa, is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with capacity of over 200,000 liters of concentrated soymilk per day and capable of producing 20 metric tons per day of soymilk powder. Commissioned in 2001, the modern facility was sold to a new private group of investors in early 2008, who have been working with SunOpta since earlier this year to develop this strategic relationship.

As part of this alliance, SunOpta is working with SPP plant operations to improve quality control processes and reduce production costs and water usage through a series of technology improvements. In addition, SunOpta is working with local farmers in the Southern African region to implement programs to improve the quality of soybeans that the facility will ultimately use for manufacturing. In order to support operations, SunOpta Africa has opened an office in Durban, South Africa for sales and technical support.

The SunOpta Grains & Foods Group have commenced sale of liquid and powdered products from the South African venture and expect sales to grow over time to in excess of $15 million.

Allan Routh, president of the SunOpta Grains & Foods Group and Peter Golbitz, director of International Business Development in the SunOpta Grains & Foods Group commented, "We believe this relationship will add value to the food and agricultural processing industry in South Africa and serve to improve quality and nutritional attributes of food products in the region. In hand with this, the first-class infrastructure, lower production costs and enhanced reach that South Africa gives us for exports should help make these products competitive internationally and allow us to continue to grow our global foods business."

Steve Bromley, president and CEO of SunOpta Inc. commented, "This venture continues to expand our global footprint focused on value added natural and organic food ingredients. In hand with our organic coffee and sesame operations in Africa, we are continuing to expand supply of quality ingredients while at the same time fostering sustainable economic development for this region."

From the December 7, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition