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SunOpta Announces New Ingredient Offerings to be Featured at Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo

June 25,2012

TORONTO, June 25, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today announced that the SunOpta Ingredients Group has expanded its portfolio of value-added ingredients to include rice fiber, cellulose fiber and a specialty starch designed for use in yogurt and other dairy foods. All of the new ingredients were internally developed and will be featured at the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo being held in Las Vegas, June 26-28, 2012.

SunOpta® Rice Fiber 310, a gluten-free ingredient, delivers a concentrated source of dietary fiber, greater than 90%, with a silky smooth texture and bland flavor. Rice fiber currently in the market is made from rice bran, not hulls, and does not exceed 50% total dietary fiber. The proprietary process to produce this fiber was internally developed and utilizes existing manufacturing assets. 

Scott Gordon, President of the SunOpta Ingredients Group, commented, "As we continually seek to expand the company's fiber solutions, rice fiber provides a gluten-free, all-natural option for enriching foods that need a boost in fiber content. We are excited to be first to market with this high fiber ingredient and believe SunOpta® Rice Fiber 310 will provide interesting options for the fast growing gluten-free category."

Also new to the portfolio is SunOpta® Cellulose Fiber 310. Cellulose fiber is utilized in a number of food applications and is used to retain moisture which helps to optimize yields and control costs. The meat industry has been facing escalating prices and the use of cellulose fiber in meat systems continues to grow. SunOpta® Cellulose Fiber 310 was developed at the Company's operations in Louisville, Kentucky which were recently modified to enable production of a number of alternative fiber products including SunOpta® Cellulose Fiber 310. The Company intends to leverage this platform to develop other fiber solutions as the demand for fiber inclusion in food continues to expand.   

SunOpta's R&D team has also developed a new generation starch, OptaGrade® 350, which provides stabilization in a variety of dairy foods. Many food manufacturers are looking to give their customers cleaner labels by replacing modified food starch and gelatin in food products. Using OptaGrade® 350 specialty starch in products such as yogurt can provide the thick, creamy texture desired by consumers and meet clean label requirements. This product is well-suited for Greek-style yogurt, the fastest growing sector of the yogurt market.

These new ingredients will be featured at the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo being held in Las Vegas, June 26-28, 2012, including a gluten-free, direct-expanded snack puff utilizing SunOpta® Rice Fiber 310, and a yogurt parfait utilizing OptaGrade® 350. 

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods products. 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 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 66.2% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc., listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, 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 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, the continued growth in the use of cellulose fiber in the meat industry and the Company's intention to leverage its platform to develop other fibers. Terms and phrases such as  "believes", "continues"', "intends", 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 that there are no material unanticipated variations in budgeted costs. The Company makes no representation that reasonable business people in possession of the same information would reach the same conclusions. Whether actual timing and results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including market acceptance of rice fiber, cellulose fiber and a specialty starch and other risks described from time to time 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: For further information, please contact:

         SunOpta Inc.

         Steve Bromley, President & CEO

         Tony Tavares, Vice President & COO

         Robert McKeracher, Vice President & CFO

         John Dietrich, VP Corporate Development & Secretary

         Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer

         Tel: 905-455-2528, ext. 103


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