SunOpta invests in aseptic and pouch filling lines
BakingBusiness.com, Dec. 6, 2011
by Eric Schroeder

TORONTO — Two operating segments of Toronto-based SunOpta Inc. have expanded their value-added processing capabilities.

Pacific Fruit Processors, the value-added fruit ingredients operation within the SunOpta Fruit Group, has installed an aseptic packaging line with a processing capacity of about 30 million lbs. Target applications for the new equipment include fruit bases for yogurts, smoothies, fruit toppings and food service products, in both organic and conventional form.

“We have been near capacity at times over the past years on aseptic packaging,” said Michael Jacobs, president of Pacific Fruit Processors, based in South Gate, Calif. “The new equipment will increase capacity, improve our throughput and also further enhance product quality and flexibility for our customers. We expect to fill the new capacity over the next 12 to 18 months.”

SunOpta Food Solutions, a division of the SunOpta International Foods Group, has installed two flexible pouch filling lines at a production facility in California. The pouch may be used in a range of product categories, including natural and organic fruit and vegetable snacks, apple sauce, tomato products, baby food, yogurts and toppings. The two lines have an estimated annual capacity of 36 million pouches.

SunOpta Food Solutions, based in Santa Cruz, Calif., also plans to locate a facility on the East coast to accommodate the addition of two more flexible pouch filling lines. The two lines should be operational by Aug. 1, 2012.

“We are excited to enter into this fast growing re-sealable pouch market,” said Joseph Stern, president of SunOpta Food Solutions. “We are able to leverage our global ingredient sourcing capabilities and combine it with this new and innovative packaging format to bring increased value to our customers.

“We believe the re-sealable pouch will continue to gain widespread acceptance across many sectors within the food industry. This expansion of filling capabilities is consistent with our strategy of expanding our natural and organic foods platform with a focus on value-added offerings.”