SunOpta Launches Project to Increase Plant-Based Foods Capacity

The company will expand its Allentown, PA production facility to increase production of plant-based foods and beverages.

John S. Forrester, former Managing Editor

February 3, 2021

2 Min Read
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A view of the SunOpta plant in Allentown, PA.Image courtesy of Google Maps

Plant- and fruit-based food and beverages manufacturer SunOpta Inc. announced plans Monday to add capacity at its Allentown, PA production facility. The company also said it will exit from its frozen fruit processing plant in Santa Maria, CA effective February 1.

The company said the investment and the closure of the site are part of a multi-year initiative to optimize its supply chain to support growth.

“This project, in our Allentown, PA plant, follows the completion of three large projects in the fourth quarter of 2020 to accelerate the growth of our plant-based business,” the firm’s CEO, Joe Ennen, said in a release, adding, “The additional capacity will ensure that we are well positioned to support our customers’ growth in 2022 and beyond.”

SunOpta is closing the Santa Maria site to lower the cost basis of its frozen fruit business, but the company plans to maintain its relationships with growers that supply the facility and ensure that enough capacity is available to meet demand in the coming years.

“The highly successful automation and productivity efforts made over the last two seasons have created the ability for us to operate the same size business, with fewer assets. Lowering our cost structure will improve gross output, which we expect will make us more competitive as we seek to add new business,” Ennen said. “Finally, given the plant closure, we are using this as a catalyst to evaluate marginally profitable or unprofitable customer sand SKU’s, which may lead to some customer and SKU rationalization.”

Powder & Bulk Solids recently reported that consumer packaged goods holding firm Post Holdings entered into a new partnership to expand distribution of Hungry Planet Inc.’s plant-based meat products. Food and beverage giant PepsiCo and plant-based products maker Beyond Meat Inc. announced the formation of a new joint venture (JV), The PLANeT Partnership LLC, in late January to develop, manufacture and sell snacks and drinks produced with plant-based protein.

The global market for plant-based meat is expected to hit a value of $35.4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 15.8% over the next six years, according to a recent forecast by Polaris Market Research.

About the Author(s)

John S. Forrester

former Managing Editor, Powder & Bulk Solids

John S. Forrester is the former managing editor of Powder & Bulk Solids.

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