Corporate & Financial

SunOpta Enters Nutritional Beverage Category via Partnership with BellRing Brands

BellRing’s Premier Protein Shakes Now Manufactured in SunOpta’s New Texas Facility, Driving Growth for Both Companies

Minneapolis — (July 11, 2023) - SunOpta (Nasdaq: STKL), a U.S.-based global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based foods and beverages is proud to announce a partnership with BellRing Brands (NYSE: BRBR), the owner of Premier Protein®, the leading brand of ready-to-drink (“RTD”) protein shakes, helping to establish SunOpta’s footprint in nutritional beverages. SunOpta now manufactures a variety of RTD shakes to meet the increasing demand for high protein beverages while supporting SunOpta’s sustainability efforts. 

In May 2023, SunOpta began manufacturing Premier Protein’s RTD 11 fluid ounce (330mL) protein shakes, a new capability for SunOpta. The entrance into the nutritional beverage category fits seamlessly within SunOpta’s vast manufacturing strengths and core competencies and will address the increasing demand for these products in the marketplace. 

For decades, SunOpta has been honing its expertise in nutritionally dense products to meet the needs of consumers, including those who prioritize a high-protein diet as part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Joe Ennen, CEO of SunOpta. As such, we see an incredible opportunity for expansion into the ready-to-drink protein category, a $5 billion retail market with a long runway for growth. BellRing Brands is passionate about healthy living, and as the market leader in this category, they are a perfect partner for us.”

Premier Protein’s nutritional beverages are manufactured at SunOpta’s new Midlothian, Texas facility, where SunOpta’s entire suite of teas, broths and plant-based milk and creamers will also be produced. The addition of manufacturing Premier Protein’s products in the 330 mL size marks a new capability for SunOpta.

Premier Protein RTD shakes, including those produced at SunOpta’s Midlothian plant, are packed in cartons that contain plant-based plastic. This generates less greenhouse gas emissions than if made entirely with petroleum-based plastic. Producing RTD shakes in Texas creates a stronger network of suppliers spread across Premier Protein’s distribution network. 

The Midlothian plant was designed with SunOpta’s sustainability objectives in mind and enabled to support customer sustainability goals. With plants in California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and now Texas, SunOpta’s aseptic facilities create a competitively advantaged, diamond-shaped’ national distribution network, helping to reduce more than 15 million freight miles annually and save 59 million pounds of carbon emissions. In addition, the facility is equipped with an on-site water treatment facility, which can save up to approximately 20 million gallons of water per year. The plant is also run by an energy-efficient HVAC system that reduces energy consumption by 45%, LED lights and water heaters that reduce power usage by 95% and offices and labs constructed with at least 40% recyclable materials. The 285,000 square foot production facility has the capacity to expand to 400,000 square feet to increase production volumes, giving both companies room for future business growth.

As a fast-growing company, we know that building strong relationships with like-minded suppliers is key to achieving both our business and sustainability objectives. Our Premier Protein shakes have been an incredible growth engine for BellRing and we’re excited to expand our production to SunOpta to help support this continued growth trajectory while incorporating strong sustainability practices into our manufacturing network,” said Darcy H. Davenport, President and CEO of BellRing. 

About SunOpta, Inc.

SunOpta (Nasdaq: STKL) (TSX: SOY) is a U.S.-based, global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages. Founded nearly 50 years ago, SunOpta manufactures natural, organic and specialty products sold through retail and foodservice channels. SunOpta operates as a manufacturer for leading natural and private label brands, and also proudly produces its own brands, including SOWN®, Dream®, West Life™ and Sunrise Growers®. For more information, visit www​.sunop​ta​.com and LinkedIn.

About BellRing Brands, Inc.

BellRing Brands, Inc. is a rapidly growing leader in the global convenient nutrition category offering ready-to-drink shake and powder protein products. Its primary brands, Premier Protein® and Dymatize®, appeal to a broad range of consumers and are distributed across a diverse network of channels including club, food, drug, mass, eCommerce, specialty and convenience. BellRing’s commitment to consumers is to strive to make highly effective products that deliver best-in-class nutritionals and superior taste. For more information, visit www​.bell​ring​.com.

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