Global food company SunOpta plans to expand its flexible resealable pouch processing and packaging capabilities, with the addition of additional filling lines at its Allentown, Pennsylvania, US, facility, to address the continued demand for pouch products.
According to the Canadian company, the addition is expected to more than double the processing capacity at this facility, which still has room for further expansion.
Further geographic expansion opportunities are being explored by the firm to meet growing customer demand.
Expected to come online in the third quarter of 2013, the new lines are set to increase SunOpta's total filling capacity to about 150 million pouches.
SunOpta chief executive officer Steve Bromley said driven partly by the consumer's need for convenient, portable, healthy and nutritious foods in sustainable packaging formats, the variety of products offered in pouches continues to increase.
"Continued expansion of our value-added flexible re-sealable pouch processing and packaging capabilities remains a key strategic objective designed to leverage our integrated field to table capabilities," Bromley said.
The flexible resealable pouch market, which is expanding in North America, is well established in Europe and Asia.
The pouch format is suitable for a range of product categories, including natural and organic fruit and vegetable snacks, apple sauces, tomato products, baby food, yogurts, beverages, toppings and many other packaged food products.
SunOpta ventured into the flexible, resealable pouch business in late 2011 with the installation of processing equipment at a production facility in California, followed with the commissioning of a flexible pouch processing and filling facility in Allentown in August 2012.