SunOpta expands supply of organic fruit

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sunopta, Fruit

SunOpta Fruit Group has announced new agreements with players in
the South American fruit industry, which the firm says will expand
its supply of organic and natural frozen fruit.

Announced today, the exclusive agreements are expected to boost the firm's offerings of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apple and pear purees and fruit and vegetable concentrates. SunOpta's president and chief executive officer Steve Bromley said the company will be expanding its relationships with firms in Argentina and Chile in order to provide its customers with a "high quality, reliable and growing source of key organic products". ​Bromley told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the new agreements will allow the firm to rise to the US food industry's growing demand for organic fruits. The moves announced today include a five-year exclusive supply agreement with Baby's Best Infant Food Ingredients, a producer of organic and natural purees and concentrates in Mendoza, Argentina. The firm said the agreement ensures SunOpta of a "constant and growing source of critical commodities"​. Under the terms of the agreement, SunOpta will provide a line of credit to enable Baby's Best to acquire a 45,000 square foot production facility in Mendoza to ensure SunOpta's supply chain. In addition, SunOpta received a first right of refusal and an option to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Baby's Best and related companies based on a predetermined formula, exercisable in March 2009. The company also entered into a three-year exclusive organic supply agreement with a leading processor of organic and natural frozen fruits in Chile. Under the terms of the agreement SunOpta said it will finance a capital expansion to further develop growth in organic supply over the next three years. "These transactions reflect our strategy of extending our international sourcing capabilities for products that are in short supply globally,"​ said Bromley. The agreements are expected to essentially double SunOpta's supply from these customers to approximately 16m lbs in 2008.

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