Sunopta Updates Current Cellulosic Ethanol Projects

January 18, 2007
Sunopta Updates Current Cellulosic Ethanol Projects

TORONTO--Jan. 18, 2007--SunOpta Inc. (NASDAQ:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today provided an update on the four cellulosic ethanol projects which are or will be operational using SunOpta's patented technology and equipment to produce ethanol from cellulosic biomass including woodchips, corn stover, sugar cane bagasse, and wheat straw.

China Resources Alcohol Corporation (CRAC)

CRAC has announced their intention to construct sufficient cellulosic ethanol facilities to generate 330 million gallons of ethanol by 2012. SunOpta provided its patented systems and technology to CRAC in September 2006 and the plant began production of ethanol from local corn stover in October 2006. This facility is reported to be the first cellulosic ethanol production facility operational in the People's Republic of China. The SunOpta system is currently operating on a continuous basis and steps are currently being taken to scale the SunOpta process up to full commercial levels for use in future plants in China.

China has committed $5 billion to cellulosic ethanol production and recently announced that they would allow no further increase in ethanol production from starch (corn), due to the needs for starch as food. China's announcement illustrates the "Food vs. Fuel" issue, which continues to be a key driver for cellulosic ethanol worldwide, together with concerns regarding the impact of the world's "addiction to oil" on the environment and energy security.

Abengoa Bioenergy R&D Inc. (Abengoa)

Key components of SunOpta's patented equipment and technology have recently been shipped to Spain for the start up of the Abengoa wheat straw to ethanol facility located in Salamanca, Spain. This project is expected to start up in the summer of 2007 and will be the first commercial production facility in the world producing cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw. Abengoa is the largest producer of ethanol in Europe.

Celunol Inc. (Celunol)

SunOpta's patented equipment and technology will be used in a new Celunol facility being built in Jennings, Louisiana, to produce ethanol from sugarcane bagasse and wood. This will be the first commercial production of cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States and is scheduled to start up in the summer of 2007.

GreenField Ethanol Inc. (GreenField)

SunOpta has recently announced the formation of a Joint Venture with GreenField Ethanol Inc., Canada's largest producer of ethanol. The purpose of this Joint Venture is to design, build and jointly own and operate plants producing ethanol from wood chips. The first plant is planned to produce 10 million gallons of ethanol per year, which achieves the widely-accepted threshold for commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production and will demonstrate the immediate commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food, supplements and health and beauty 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 (soon to become SunOpta BioProcess Inc.) 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.

For further information, please contact:

SunOpta Inc.                          Investment Community Inquiries:
Jeremy N. Kendall, Chairman & CEO     Lytham Partners, LLC
Steve Bromley, President & COO        Joe Diaz
John Dietrich, Vice President & CFO   Robert Blum
Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer Joe Dorame
Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103            Tel: 602-889-9700
    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.