TORONTO — Net earnings at SunOpta, Inc. rose 72% to $5,804,000 in the third quarter ended Sept. 29, equal to 9c per share on the common stock, which compared with income of $3,366,000, or 5c per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales increased 9% to $279,339,000 from $257,011,000.

Within the company’s Grains and Foods Group, segment operating income in the third quarter was $8,780,000, up 100% from $4,394,000 in the same period a year ago. Total revenues for the segment increased 15% to $139,917,000. SunOpta said results benefited from higher volumes of aseptically packaged grain-based beverages and strong organic grains and feedstuff sales.

Steve Bromley, president and chief executive officer, said SunOpta was pleased with third-quarter results.

“We continue to execute on our core strategies focused on streamlining our organization, growing our value-added packaged foods and ingredients portfolio, and leveraging our existing platform,” he said. “We are pleased with our progress to date and remain confident in our opportunities to grow our global integrated natural and organic foods platform.”

For the nine months ended Sept. 29, net income was $19,841,000, or 30c per share, up 54% from $12,848,000, or 20c per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenues increased 6% to $820,975,000 from $777,549,000.