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SunOpta Completes Upgrade and Expansion of Aseptic Packaging Operations and Commences Production of Aseptic Broth Products

February 23,2010

TORONTO, Feb. 23, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today announced that the SunOpta Grains and Foods Group has completed an upgrade and retrofit at its Alexandria, Minnesota aseptic processing and packaging facility and has commenced its first production of natural broth and soup products for a major international packaged goods company.

The Alexandria, Minnesota aseptic packaging facility has the capacity to produce the equivalent of approximately 170 million liters annually of natural and organic alternative beverages such as soy, rice, almond and others as well as broth and soup products. The recently completed upgrade and retrofit expands packaging size capabilities for these products to include 500 ml and 1.5 liter packages in addition to existing 1 liter and 2 liter package formats. The additional configuration also enables packaging the full array of aseptic pint, quart, 11/2 quart and 1/2 gallon sizes.

In hand with the completion of the upgrade and retrofit, the Company has commenced production of aseptically processed and packaged natural broth products for a global consumer products company under the terms of a three year packaging agreement. The products will be produced in both 16 oz and 48 oz formats for retail and food service distribution. This business positions the Company for continued expansion in natural and organic broths and soups and is consistent with the Company's long-term objective of building an integrated natural and organic aseptic broth and soup business to profitable annualized revenues in excess of $25 million.

Allan Routh, President of the SunOpta Grains and Foods Group commented, "Expansion of our value added processing and packaging capabilities into natural and organic broths and soups has been a strategic objective designed to leverage our integrated sourcing, processing and packaging capabilities. We are extremely pleased to have completed this upgrade and retrofit and commenced production of natural broth products for our new customer and look forward to continuing to leverage our capabilities into complementary natural and organic products categories."

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic foods and natural health products 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; Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM) (66.5% owned by SunOpta), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial minerals; and SunOpta BioProcess Inc. which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the bio-fuel, pulp and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.

The SunOpta Inc. logo is available at

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, management's expectations regarding production volumes and continued expansion and leveraging of our capabilities. Terms and phrases such as "anticipated", "positions", "continued expansion" and "continuing to leverage" 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, but not limited to, plant capacity, customer requirements and preferences and capabilities of the Company's suppliers. Whether actual timing and results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including the success of the Company's relationship and expected volumes with its new customer and potential manufacturing and processing issues or delays as well as those detailed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at 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
         Steve Bromley, President & CEO
         Eric Davis, Vice President & CFO
         Tony Tavares, Vice President & COO
         Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
           905-455-2528, ext 103

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