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08/23/2021

SunOpta bolsters beverage production

Plant-based foods and healthy beverages supplier’s latest investment could double the business in five years.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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SunOpta, a healthy food and beverage supplier based in Minneapolis, has expanded its beverage production with a new facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.

Sized at 285,000 square feet, with room to grow to 400,000 square feet, the plant enables the company to potentially double its business in five years, increasing production of oat milk.

The facility will be located in Midlothian, Texas, expecting to be operational in late 2022, bringing up to 185 jobs to the community.

This new facility will give our customers added capacity to accelerate growth and will help lower their costs and our costs. This enhanced footprint will further develop our manufacturing and supply chain advantages to support growth across our business, including oat milk."
Joe Ennen , CEO, SunOpta

SunOpta, produces private label, specializing in the sourcing, processing and production of organic, natural and non-GMO plant- and fruit-based food and beverage products.

The city of Midlothian and Ellis County have approved a package of incentives, including a grant that will be awarded by Midlothian Economic Development upon completion of the facility and commencement of operations, and an eight-year tax abatement for a combined value of approximately $7.5 million. The new facility’s location in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area will also further SunOpta’s sustainability objectives, significantly reducing emissions through lower transportation usage.

The facility will be operated pursuant to a 15-year lease, entered into on August 13, 2021, with customary extension options. The cost of the build-out of the facility is expected to be principally lease financed, with the manufacturing equipment expected to be primarily financed under SunOpta’s existing delayed draw term loan, which was put in place in December 2020.

“We are focused on doubling our plant-based business in the next five years and this new facility will add capacity and new capabilities to enable meeting our long-term growth goal,” said Joe Ennen, CEO of SunOpta.

“This new facility will give our customers added capacity to accelerate growth and will help lower their costs and our costs. This enhanced footprint will further develop our manufacturing and supply chain advantages to support growth across our business, including oat milk. The city of Midlothian is the perfect choice for us with a business-friendly local government, a skilled labor force, and a vibrant local community. In combination with our plants in California, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, the Texas location creates a competitively advantaged, ‘diamond-shaped’ national network. As a sustainability-oriented food company, we are excited to share that this new facility is estimated to annually eliminate over 15 million freight miles from our supply chain,” Ennen added.