SunOpta expansion continues with new fruit processor

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sunopta, Fruit, North america

SunOpta has further expanded its fruit supply chain, announcing
today that it has completed the acquisition of another South
American fruit processor, together with its North American
distributor.

Mexico-based Congeladora del Rio processes fruits including strawberries, peaches, mangos, bananas and melons into individually-quick frozen, block frozen and purees for the foodservice, industrial and retail markets. Under the terms of the agreement, SunOpta has purchased all net operating assets of Del Rio, including working capital, equipment, land and buildings in Irapuato, Mexico. The firm has also acquired the outstanding shares of Global Trading, the US-based marketer for Del-Rio. The move is part of SunOpta's global supply chain expansion strategy, which has seen a number of recent acquisitions as the firm aims to expand its core production capabilities. "The acquisitions of Del Rio and Global Trading further enhance our ability to meet customer demand while maintaining control over the supply chain,"​ said Sergio Varela, president of the SunOpta Fruit Group. "These transactions reflect the execution of our global expansion strategy, which benefit our customers in ensuring consistent supply and quality, and a cost efficient supply chain."​ The firm said it will continue to purchase millions of pounds of various fruits from global processors to supply its private label retail, food service and industrial customers. Earlier this month, SunOpta announced the acquisition of another strawberry firm in Mexico. Baja California Congelados (BCC) is expected to add more than 20 million pounds of strawberries to SunOpta's supply chain by next year. The additional capacity, which is in response to increased customer demand, will result in a $14m annual revenue increase, said the company. And last year, SunOpta announced plans to quadruple its sales of another fruit experiencing increased demand - the açai berry. The firm said the Brazilian berry is the most popular fruit ingredient with its customers in North America. The company said it expected to increase its açai business to around $4m over 2007, as demand soars for the ingredient on the back of its unique health benefits.

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