SunOpta in Agreement with Clearwater Country Foods

June 29/Toronto/GlobeNewswire -- SunOpta Inc. announced that the SunOpta Fruit Group has entered into exclusive agreements with Clearwater Country Foods of Genesee, Idaho, to market and distribute the company's Garden Green Garbanzo. Clearwater Country Foods is a pioneer of sustainable green garbanzo bean production in the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, SunOpta will be responsible for global sales and distribution of the Garden Green Garbanzo, and Clearwater will provide exclusive sourcing and supply services.

Doug Moser, chief executive officer of Clearwater Country Foods, stated, "We have been building our business for over 30 years with focus on the Garden Green Garbanzo Bean for the past eight years. I look forward to working with SunOpta, whose knowledgeable staff and extensive experience in the natural, organic and sustainable foods industry will enable us to grow our customer base."

While producing the traditional blond garbanzo, Moser developed exclusive techniques to harvest early season green garbanzo beans; shelling and flash freezing to provide higher nutritional values, a unique taste, and year round availability, and providing versatility and convenience for the consumer as compared to many other fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and legumes products presently offered in the marketplace.  The company was awarded three patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in technology, novelty, and innovation for Garden Green Garbanzo.

SunOpta has been working with Clearwater Country Foods for approximately 18 months and, during that time, has completed an extensive market analysis assessing the potential of the sustainable and healthy green garbanzo and hummus markets with applications for retail, foodservice and industrial customers. The company expects to initially launch the product in July 2010, packaging within its own facilities and expanding listings over the balance of the year, with expected profitable revenues of approximately $10 million realized over the first full year of commercialization.

"We are very pleased to have completed this agreement as we believe the Garden Green Garbanzo is very complementary with our current product offerings and has tremendous market potential based on the versatility, flavor and health benefits it offers consumers," said Gerry Watts, president of the SunOpta Fruit Group. "This is truly a unique and flavorful product that embraces the values of SunOpta in the healthy foods segment. Green Garbanzos are high in fiber and folate and naturally low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, thus promoting a healthy heart.  Being an excellent source of fiber, green garbanzos contribute to satiety, helping consumers to maintain a healthy weight. They are an all natural non-allergenic source of protein and contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium and a number of other minerals and phytonutrients.  Green Garbanzos are grown without the use of insecticides and return nitrogen to the soil promoting agricultural sustainability.  We believe Green Garbanzos are an excellent dietary option that will be unique in the marketplace and open to a wide range of potential product applications."

From the June 30, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
For more of the latest news from the food and beverage industry, visit Prepared Foods' Daily News