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SunOpta Completes Divestiture of Mexican Frozen Fruit Assets With Sale of Irapuato Land and Buildings

July 05,2011

TORONTO, July 5, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods, today announced the completion of the final step in the divestiture of its Mexican frozen fruit assets with the sale of land and buildings in Irapuato, Mexico to parties related to Fruvemex Mexicali, S.A. de C.V. ("Fruvemex"). These assets were previously leased to Fruvemex as part of an earlier transaction whereby Fruvemex purchased frozen fruit operations and processing assets located in Rosarito and Irapuato, Mexico.  

The selling price for the land and buildings was $2.5 million USD.  An initial installment of $250,000 was received on the closing of the transaction and the balance will be paid via a series of monthly installments over the next year including a balloon payment on the first anniversary of the closing of this transaction.

Fruvemex is a privately owned Mexican entity headquartered in Mexicali, Mexico.  The business has deep roots in frozen, refrigerated and dehydrated fruit and vegetable products including strawberries, mango, melons, hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and salsas and has been a supplier to SunOpta for several years. In hand with the sale of the operations and processing assets in Rosarito and Irapuato, SunOpta entered into a raw material supply agreement for the provision of IQF fruit and other products.

Steve Bromley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta, commented, "This divestiture is the final step in the sale of our Mexican frozen fruit assets, aimed at simplifying our frozen fruit business model.  Earlier in the year we sold the Mexican frozen fruit operations and processing assets to Fruvemex and also sold our Salinas, California based frozen fruit processing assets to Cal Pacific Specialty Foods (Cal Pacific).  We have long term supply relationships with both Fruvemex and Cal Pacific to continue to supply us with IQF fruit and other products.  We are now focused on value-added private label frozen fruit products for the retail and food service channel through one processing facility in Buena Park, California, and expect our simplified business model to improve long-term profitability in our frozen fruit operations. Funds from these divestitures will be reinvested in other internal growth projects within the Company.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods. The Company specializes in sourcing, processing and packaging of natural and organic food products, integrated from seed through packaged products; with a focus on strategically significant vertically integrated business models. The Company's core natural and organic food operations focus on value-added grains, fiber and fruit based product offerings, supported by a global infrastructure. The Company has two non-core holdings, a 66.4% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials, and a minority ownership position in Mascoma Corporation, an innovative biofuels company.

The SunOpta Inc. logo is available at

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements 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. These forward-looking statements include the payment of the balance of the purchase price, our strategy to improve profitability and to simplify our business model and our expectation that Fruvemex will be an excellent partner, and are based on information available to us on the date of this release. Terms and phrases such as "will be", "strategy", "continue", "believe", "simplify" and other similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements 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 management's best judgment based on current facts and assumptions that management considers reasonable, including Fruvemex's financial capacity to pay the balance of the purchase price, our ability to sustain or increase sales and lower costs within our Frozen Fruit operations and our past experience dealing with Fruvemex and Cal Pacific. The Company makes no representation that reasonable business people in possession of the same information would reach the same conclusions. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements including  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.

          Steve Bromley, President & CEO

          Tony Tavares, Vice President & COO

          Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer

          Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103


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