TORONTO, June 29, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) today announced that the SunOpta Fruit Group has entered into exclusive agreements with Clearwater Country Foods of Genesee, Idaho, to market and distribute the company's Garden Green Garbanzo™. Clearwater Country Foods is the pioneer of sustainable green garbanzo bean production in the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, SunOpta will be responsible for global sales and distribution of the Garden Green Garbanzo™ and Clearwater will provide exclusive sourcing and supply services.
Doug Moser, Chief Executive Officer of Clearwater Country Foods, stated, "We have been building our business for over thirty years with focus on the Garden Green Garbanzo Bean for the past eight years. I look forward to working with SunOpta, whose knowledgeable staff and extensive experience in the natural, organic and sustainable foods industry will enable us to grow our customer base."
While producing the traditional blond garbanzo, Moser developed exclusive techniques to harvest early season green garbanzo beans; shelling and flash freezing to provide higher nutritional values, a unique taste, and year round availability, and providing versatility and convenience for the consumer as compared to many other fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and legumes products presently offered in the marketplace. The company was awarded three patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in technology, novelty, and innovation for Garden Green Garbanzo™.
SunOpta has been working with Clearwater Country Foods for approximately eighteen months and during that time has completed an extensive market analysis assessing the potential of the sustainable and healthy green garbanzo and hummus markets with applications for retail, food service and industrial customers. The Company expects to initially launch the product in July 2010, packaging within its own facilities, and expanding listings over the balance of the year, with expected profitable revenues of approximately $10 million realized over the first full year of commercialization.
"We are very pleased to have completed this agreement as we believe the Garden Green Garbanzo™ is very complementary with our current product offerings and has tremendous market potential based on the versatility, flavor, and health benefits it offers consumers," said Gerry Watts, President of the SunOpta Fruit Group. "This is truly a unique and flavorful product that embraces the values of SunOpta in the healthy foods segment. Green Garbanzos are high in fiber and folate and naturally low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, thus promoting a healthy heart. Being an excellent source of fiber, green garbanzos contribute to satiety, helping consumers to maintain a healthy weight. They are an all natural non-allergenic source of protein and contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium and a number of other minerals and phytonutrients. Green Garbanzos are grown without the use of insecticides and return nitrogen to the soil promoting agricultural sustainability. We believe Green Garbanzos are an excellent dietary option that will be unique in the marketplace and open to a wide range of potential product applications."
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 packaging of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM) (66.4% 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.
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About Clearwater Country Foods
Clearwater Country Foods is an earth-friendly company dedicated to sustainable farming practices. The company operates on the principle that agriculture should be managed in a manner to care for the health and goodness of the soil for both current and future generations as well as for the environment. The family-owned business has been farming the rolling hills of the Palouse, located in North Central Idaho, since the 1800's. www.clearwatercountry.us
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 including, with respect to the expected initial launch of the product and revenues in the first year of commercialization. These forward-looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this release. 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, but not limited to, general economic conditions, product pricing levels, consumer trends, preferences and spending patterns and capabilities of the Company's suppliers and partners. 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 general economic conditions, customers acceptance of new products, potential manufacturing and processing issues or delays, competitive reaction and potential challenges to or infringements of the patents related to Garden Green Garbanzo as well 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 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 anticipated by the Company will be realized.
CONTACT: SunOpta Inc. Steve Bromley, President & CEO Eric Davis, Vice President & CFO Tony Tavares, Vice President & COO Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 905-455-2528, ext 103 www.sunopta.com