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SunOpta Completes Acquisition of Hess Food Group LLC

November 07,2006
SunOpta Completes Acquisition of Hess Food Group LLC

TORONTO--Nov. 7, 2006--SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (NASDAQ:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of Hess Food Group LLC ("Hess"), of Chicago, Illinois. The purchase price includes cash and contingent future payments.

Hess is a privately-owned and profitable supplier of fruits and vegetables with revenues of approximately $4 million, focused primarily on the quick-service and casual restaurant industry. Hess's business model focuses on providing its customers with supply chain expertise, from initial product development, to sourcing experience, expertise and flexibility, and inventory management. Hess manages over fifty million pounds of raw and processed fruits and vegetables for its customers, sourced from qualified processors, including SunOpta's processing facilities. Products are sourced according to customer's high quality specifications and precise formulations.

The combination of Hess and the SunOpta Fruit Group will further strengthen SunOpta's position as a leader in the quick-service and casual restaurant industry which complements SunOpta's strengths in the private label retail and industrial markets. In addition, SunOpta's global supply sourcing capabilities are expected to generate significant benefits to Hess's customers via year-round global supply risk management, consistency of supply and cost efficiencies. The combination of Hess's product development experience and SunOpta's research and development expertise is also anticipated to generate significant future opportunities as customers benefit from greater resources in product development and innovation.

Hess will continue to operate independently and maintain its long standing commitment to its customers' best interests, although it will now be supported by all of the resources of SunOpta.

Marcy Hess, President of Hess Food Group LLC commented that, "we're extremely excited to have entered into this strategic partnership with SunOpta. Our combined capabilities will enable us to expand the service we provide to our customers and strengthen our supply chain offerings in this market as our customers move towards healthier menu offerings."

Sergio Varela, President of the SunOpta Fruit Group stated, "we have worked with the Hess Food Group for nearly ten years on various projects and are currently working on a number of major product development projects to bring exciting and market innovative products to our customers. The combination of our efforts will strengthen the value proposition to both SunOpta's and Hess's customers."

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. 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: SunOpta Inc.
Jeremy N. Kendall, Chairman & CEO
Steve Bromley, President & COO
John Dietrich, Vice President & CFO
Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103
Investment Community Inquiries:
Lytham Partners, LLC
Joe Diaz, Robert Blum, Joe Dorame
Tel: 602-889-9700

SOURCE: SunOpta Inc.

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