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SunOpta Expands Oat Fiber Capacity

December 16,2003
SunOpta Expands Oat Fiber Capacity

TORONTO, Dec 16, 2003 -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta) (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today announced that it has completed a 20% expansion of its oat fiber production capacity at its Cambridge, Minnesota facility.

The Company also announced that it has approved a further expansion of 35% to be implemented by March 1, 2004 at the Cambridge, Minnesota facility. Total cost of the first two phases is estimated at $1.2 million.

The Cambridge facility is operating on a seven day, 24 hour basis and is expanding to meet the substantial increase in the demand for oat fiber due in part to the concerns over obesity and the popularity of the Atkins and other low carbohydrate diets. Oat fiber is low in available carbohydrates plus absorbs up to seven times its weight in water, which is free of carbohydrates and when added to bakery products allows for the production of low carbohydrate breads, pastries, muffins, bagels, tacos and tortillas. Oat fiber is also used in other categories such as dairy, meat and snack food products.

The Company is currently further assessing operational capabilities at both the Cambridge and Louisville facilities in an effort to further expand production and optimize processing capabilities.

SunOpta Inc. is an owner/operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. For the last five consecutive years, SunOpta was included in Profit magazine's 'Profit 100' list of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. The company has three business units: the Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products; integrated from seed through packaged products; the Environmental Industrial Group; a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the Steam Explosion Technology Group who engineer and market clean pulping systems using patented steam explosion technology. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.


Note: This news release may contain forward-looking information. Actual future results may differ materially. The risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could influence actual results are described in the Company's annual report to shareholders and in SEC filings.

SOURCE: SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc.
Jeremy N. Kendall or Steve Bromley or Susan Wiekenkamp
905-455-2528, ext 103
Investor Relations Counsel
The Equity Group Inc.
Linda Latman, 212-836-9609

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