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SunOpta Inc. Provides Update on Allentown Facility Aseptic and Filling Operations Expansion

September 02,2015

ALLENTOWN, Pa., Sept. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified and healthy foods, today provided an update on the expansion of aseptic processing and filling capabilities at the Allentown, Penn. facility. The aseptic expansion project was announced in December 2014 and construction commenced in April 2015, proceeding on schedule with first production planned for late October 2015.

The Allentown facility currently produces re-sealable pouch products. The addition of aseptic beverage capabilities will create a dual purpose consumer products facility, further leveraging existing infrastructure while increasing SunOpta's aseptic processing and filling footprint to better serve its customer base. The expansion at the facility has entered the equipment integration and testing phase as scheduled, in advance of the planned start-up in late October 2015, and is tracking to the estimated initial cost of $25 million, with room for further expansion at the facility as demand grows.

"We remain on schedule for this exciting and important expansion of our aseptic processing and filling operations in Allentown, demonstrating that our improved capital expansion processes are working well," said Rik Jacobs, President and Chief Operating Officer of SunOpta. "This expansion, combined with the recently announced acquisitions of Sunrise Growers and Niagara Natural, aligns with our strategy to aggressively grow our value added consumer products portfolio in the healthy beverage, fruit and snack categories. Customer response to our new aseptic beverage processing and filling capabilities and expanded geographical footprint has been positive and we will prudently ramp up production in-line with customer demand over the remainder of 2015 and into 2016."

The Allentown expansion complements the expansion of SunOpta's aseptic processing and filling capabilities in Modesto, Calif., which was completed earlier this year. SunOpta's Modesto expansion included an additional processor and two multi-serve fillers to increase processing potential and expand capacity. SunOpta continues to expand the range of packaging formats provided from the aseptic packaging platform, and later this year will add a new format at its Alexandria, Minn. facility followed by Modesto in the first quarter of 2016.

SunOpta's vertically integrated aseptic beverage capabilities incorporate raw material sourcing through ingredient production and finished packaged products, providing for control of quality, organic certification, and traceability from the farm to finished packaged product. Current production capabilities include soymilk, rice beverage, almond beverage, coconut based beverages, other grain based beverages, nutritional beverages, teas, dairy products and broths among others. SunOpta's aseptic processing operations are currently located in Alexandria and Modesto. The Allentown expansion adds strategically important east coast capabilities, and together, the operations of Alexandria, Modesto and Allentown are expected to provide SunOpta with one of the largest integrated non-dairy aseptic beverage processing platforms in North America which we believe will offer the lowest landed cost to customers across North America.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified ("non-GMO") and specialty foods. SunOpta specializes in the sourcing, processing and packaging of organic and non-GMO food products, integrated from seed through packaged products, with a focus on strategic vertically integrated business models. SunOpta's organic and non-GMO food operations revolve around value-added grain, seed, fruit and vegetable based product offerings, supported by a global sourcing and supply infrastructure. SunOpta also holds an approximate 66% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM), a producer, distributor, and recycler of industrial minerals and silica-free abrasives. Opta Minerals is a non-core holding.

The SunOpta Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3958

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 planned timing and estimated cost of the expansion of our processing and filling capabilities in Allentown, Penn. and our new packaging formats in Alexandria, Minn. and Modesto, Calif., our intention to ramp up production over the remainder of 2015 and into 2016, and the anticipated benefits of the expansion of our facilities, including that we will be able to offer the lowest landed cost to customers across North America. Terms and phrases such as "planned", "will", "tracking", "estimated", "continue", "expected", "believe" 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 our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors we believe are appropriate in the circumstances. 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 possible labor or construction delays in connection with the expansion of the facilities; potential cost overruns; installation, processing or other operational issues which might affect timing or capacity; issues with respect to throughput and product quality; delays with or inability to secure ingredients; and consumer preferences and acceptance of our products, as well as other risks described from time to time under "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at www.sec.gov). 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 that we anticipate will be realized.

CONTACT: For further information, please contact:

         

         Public Relations

         Rob Litt, Director Global Communications

         Tel: 952-893-7863

         Rob.litt@sunopta.com

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