"Oat represents the biggest bet the company has ever made," Chief Executive Officer Joe Ennen said in a phone interview. "You're going to see continued growth in oat milk."
SunOpta is making its largest investment in its history by spending $26 million to expand its oat processing facility in Minnesota, Ennen said. The upgrade will turn oat milk into SunOpta's second-largest plant-based milk product after its almond beverage, with annual production capacity jumping fourfold by the end of 2022.
The move is part of the Canadian company's drive for high growth and sharpened focus on plant-based products under Ennen, who joined as CEO in April 2019. Under the strategy, SunOpta is selling its global ingredients business to an Amsterdam-based commodity trading company for 330 million euros ($390 million). Proceeds will be used to pay down debt and invest in the plant-based push.