MINNEAPOLIS — SunOpta has opened a new $125 million plant-based beverage manufacturing plant in Midlothian, Texas. The facility will make the company’s plant-based milks and creamers, along with tea and other beverages.
SunOpta said the 285,000-square-foot facility will be able to accommodate a variety of package sizes and configurations, including 16-oz and 32-oz packages ideal for foodservice, shelf-stable retail and e-commerce for plant-based milks. The plant also will make 330-ml packages primarily used in high-protein nutritional beverages, SunOpta said.
“This plant is an important part of SunOpta’s long-term goals and a powerful next step in our company vision,” said Joseph D. Ennen, chief executive officer of SunOpta. “The fully-equipped and state-of-the-art facility will enhance our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities. In addition, through innovation and our dedication to sustainability, we can respond to the increasing nationwide demand for plant-based food and beverages.”
SunOpta said it has invested nearly $200 million in its plant-based production capacity over the past three years in an effort to double its plant-based business by 2025. The Midlothian plant will add capacity and new capabilities to accelerate growth and reduce production costs to serve and meet the growing needs of SunOpta’s customers, the company said.
The plant was designed with SunOpta’s sustainability objectives in mind and as such is focused on reducing carbon emissions, conserving water, efficiently utilizing power and using recycled materials. SunOpta plans to significantly reduce emissions through lower transportation usage. More specifically, the plant’s regional location will reduce more than 15 million freight miles annually and save 59 million lbs of carbon emissions, SunOpta said. The facility also is equipped with water reuse equipment that can save up to 20 million gallons of water a year, 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 company noted.
SunOpta said the plant has the capacity to expand to 400,000 square feet to accommodate future growth.