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SunOpta Sells Sunflower Seed Business for $16M to Focus on Plant-Based Milks

SunOpta has sold its sunflower seeds business to California-based private equity firm Pacific Avenue Capital Partners for $16 million, as part of a retrenching that involves a shift toward plant-based milks and fruit products.

Pacific Avenue plans to change the name of the business, which consists of hulling and roasting sunflower seeds at its three facilities in Breckenridge and Crookston, Minnesota, and Grace City, North Dakota, to Sunrich Products.

This move, together with the sale of its global ingredients business two years ago, are part of a broader, multi-year reorganization being undertaken by SunOpta, which had previously identified more as a commodities trader in the natural and organic space.

By 2025, SunOpta aims to double its plant-based business, and is investing heavily in the plant-based milk space toward that end. Within the past few days, the company has broken ground on its $31 million warehouse in Alexandria, Minnesota, as it expands production of oat milk and other plant-based milks at its two nearby manufacturing facilities, and a massive plant-based production plant is slated to be opened later this year in support of an eventual goal to produce beverages utilizing oats, almonds, rice, soy, coconut, hemp, and other bases.


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