TORONTO — The SunOpta Grains and Foods Group expects to commence commissioning of a new soy processing and aseptic packaging operation in Modesto, Calif., in March, Toronto-based SunOpta Inc. said Feb. 25. The facility is on schedule for commercial production late in the second quarter of 2009.

SunOpta expects the new Modesto facility, along with an existing aseptic packaging facility in Alexandria, Minn., to bring the company’s total annual production capacity to about 250 million to 300 million quarts of soymilk and other beverages. The new facility should allow SunOpta to expand its product offerings into other alternative beverage and aseptically packaged product categories.

SunOpta also said it has commenced production of a proprietary organic aseptic soymilk for an international food service restaurant company that has stores in the United States and Canada. Once fully implemented, the new business will represent incremental revenues of about $15 million to $20 million annually to SunOpta.