SunOpta to Buy Frozen Fruit Specialist Sunrise Growers

Brampton, Ontario, Canada-headquartered SunOpta Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sunrise Holdings, Inc. from an investor group led by affiliates of Paine & Partners LLC. Its Placentia, California-based Sunrise Growers operation, a leading supplier of private label domestic and imported conventional and organic frozen fruit, complements SunOpta's frozen fruit and fruit ingredient businesses.

products-foodservice contentThe transaction, valued at about $450 million, positions the combined unit as a global leader in the steadily expanding frozen fruit category. Sunrise Growers generates approximately $300 million in annual revenues, supplying a diverse base of retail and foodservice customers from its facilities in California, Kansas and Mexico. It employs approximately 250 full-time and 1,200 seasonal workers.

The vertically integrated company provides full service frozen fruit programs to some of the most recognized brands in North America and the world. Among them are Kirkland Signature, McDonald’s, Great Value, Wild Oats, Starbucks, Market Pantry, Jamba Juice, O Organics and Safeway.

sunrise-growers-logo"The acquisition is transformative for our company as it significantly expands our scale in the private label frozen fruit category and aligns well with consumer demands for healthy, convenient and minimally processed foods," said Rik Jacobs, president and chief operating officer of SunOpta. “Sunrise Growers is a high growth business that is expected to enhance product mix and thus our margin profile and accelerate our strategic focus on integrated consumer products. It also provides us with an immediate leadership position in frozen fruit that broadens and deepens our existing customer relationships and complements our leadership in the aseptic non-dairy category.”

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SunOpta reportedly has a current market value of about $702 million. Once the deal to buy Sunrise Growers is consummated, consumer packaged products will account for more than half of SunOpta's turnover – up from 38% in 2014.

Ed Haft, president and ceo of Sunrise Growers, will lead combined frozen fruit operations after the transaction closes.

"Our team of passionate and committed employees has built a leading private label frozen fruit supplier with a highly scaled operation and top market position," said Haft. "We are excited to have our business be part of the global team at SunOpta, and believe this will position us to serve more customers and expand our market reach. IQF fruits are harvested at their peak of freshness and nutrition and provide a great tasting, convenient and sustainable solution for consumers who want healthy foods.”