Facts & Figures

SunOpta Marks 50-Year Milestone in Plant-Based Food Production

SunOpta, a US-based food and beverage company specializing in sustainable plant-based beverages and ingredients, is marking its 50th anniversary by reflecting on its five-decade journey.

Established in 1973 under the name StakeTech, the company initially focused on biomass conversion for animal feed. Over the years, it underwent strategic shifts, entering diverse sectors like industrial minerals and eventually moving into the natural and organic foods industry. In 2003, StakeTech rebranded as SunOpta to reflect its commitment to producing plant-based products with ingredients grown using the sun. 

“With every milestone reached, we are closer to meeting our company goals of doubling our plant-based business by 2025”

The company first entered the soy milk market over two decades ago and proceeded to execute 37 acquisitions in the food and beverage sector between 2000 and 2015, including Simply Organic, Pacific Food Processors, and multiple processing facilities, which are now used to produce the company’s plant-based beverages. SunOpta entered the oat milk market in 2018, and has since experienced exponential growth, investing $26 million in an oat processing facility, launching SOWN oat creams, and acquiring Dream and WestSoy plant-based beverage brands. 

SunOpta 50th anniversary
© SunOpta

CEO of SunOpta, Joe Ennen, comments, “Reflecting on 50 years of SunOpta, the company has made a lasting impact on the plant-based food and beverage industry, and with every milestone reached, we are closer to meeting our company goals of doubling our plant-based business by 2025 off our 2020 base and pushing towards $1 billion and beyond.”

Investing in the future

The company has invested over $200 million over the last three years to increase production capacity and support growth and development to support its goal. This includes opening a $125 million mega facility in Texas earlier this year.

Presently, the company manufactures nearly 450 product SKUs, including various plant-based milks, fruit snacks, broths, and plant-based ingredients made from soy, oat, and hemp. Environmental sustainability is a focal point for SunOpta, exemplified by achieving “zero waste” at six out of seven manufacturing plants in the US and Canada, which the company defines as 90% of waste diversion from landfills.

“I am proud of the ESG commitments we have made over the years. We maintain a passionate focus on sustainability, innovation, and community, all of which will lead us into the next 50 years of business and beyond,” concludes Ennen. 

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