SunOpta Announces Further Expansion of Value-Added Aseptic Processing and Packaging Capabilities

SunOpta Announces Further Expansion of Value-Added Aseptic Processing and
Packaging Capabilities

TORONTO, March 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the
"Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on
natural and organic foods, today provided an update on the the expansion of
processing and packaging capabilities at the Grains and Foods Group's aseptic
processing and packaging operations in Modesto, California and Alexandria,
Minnesota.

Recently the Company completed an expansion at the Modesto, CA operation with
the installation and commissioning of a second processor, increasing
processing capacity at the facility by approximately 50% in order to meet
increased customer demand, while also improving operating flexibility and
efficiencies.

The Company will also be adding further aseptic packaging capacities at both
the Modesto and Alexandria, MN aseptic processing and packaging operations
with the installation of an additional multi-serve filler (liter/quart) at
each operation, as well as a single serve (200/250ml) filler at the Modesto
operation. Each of the new fillers are expected to be in production during the
third quarter of 2013.

Steve Bromley, Chief Executive Officer, SunOpta Inc. commented, "Continued
expansion of our value-added aseptic processing and packaging capabilities
remains a key strategic objective designed to further leverage our integrated
field to table capabilities. This is consistent with our strategy to
aggressively grow our value-added ingredients and packaged foods portfolio,
and leveraging our integrated platform to become a pure play natural and
organic foods company."

The addition of further processing and packaging capabilities is in response
to continued growth in the non-dairy and alternative beverage categories that
the Company currently serves.The new fillers will provide unique capabilities
and are expected to provide opportunities to bring new and innovative products
in a new aseptic package format to the market, further enhancing the
profitability of these operations.

SunOpta's vertically integrated non-dairy beverage capabilities are unique and
utilize operations incorporating raw material sourcing through ingredient
production and finished packaged products, ensuring control of quality and
organic certification, as well as providing traceability from the farm to the
retail shelf. Current production capabilities include natural and organic
soymilk, rice beverage,almond beverage, hemp milk, sunflower milk, teas, and
broths among others.Once these filler installations are completed, the
Company expects to have total annual production capacity in excess of 400
million quarts of shelf-stable beverages.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on natural, organic and
specialty foods products.The Company specializes in sourcing, processing and
packaging of natural and organic food products, integrated from seed through
packaged products; with a focus on strategically vertically integrated
business models.The Company's core natural and organic food operations focus
on value-added grains, fiber and fruit based product offerings, supported by a
global infrastructure.The Company has two non-core holdings, a 66.1%
ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc., listed on the Toronto Stock
Exchange, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly
industrial materials; and a minority ownership position in Mascoma
Corporation, an innovative biofuels company.

The SunOpta Inc. logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3958

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may be considered
"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities
legislation, which are based on information available to us on the date of
this release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited
to, the estimated capacity following, and the additional revenue potential
resulting from the expansion and addition of value-added processing
capabilities, as well as our strategy of expanding our natural and organic
foods platform. Terms and phrases such as "will", "increasing", "improving",
"continued", "designed to leverage", "expected" and other similar terms and
phrases are intended to identify these forward looking statements.Forward
looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of
this release and are based on estimates and assumptions made by the Company in
light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current
conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors the
Company believes are appropriate in the circumstances including that all third
party and regulatory approvals for the expansion of the packaging capabilities
at both the Alexandria and Modesto operations will be obtained and that there
are no material unanticipated variations in budgeted costs.The Company makes
no representation that reasonable business people in possession of the same
information would reach the same conclusions. Whether actual timing and
results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is
subject to many risks and uncertainties including possible labour or
construction delays in connection with the expansion of the facilities,
potential installation, processing or other operational issues which might
affect capacity, issues with respect to throughput and product quality, delays
with or inability secure ingredients and consumer preferences and acceptance
of our products, as well as other risks described from time to time under
"Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly
Reports on Form 10-Q (available at www.sec.gov).Consequently all
forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary
statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or
developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.

CONTACT: Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
         Tel: 905-455-2528, ext. 103
         susan.wiekenkamp@sunopta.com
         Website:  www.sunopta.com

SunOpta Inc. Logo
 
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