SunOpta announced it has completed a $26 million expansion at its Modesto, Calif., facility. As the second largest project in the company’s history, the expansion allows SunOpta to increase the amount of oatmilk produced annually by more than 60%.

Commercially launched in May, SunOpta’s Modesto oat extraction production line uses proprietary enzymatic processes to break down whole oats into a liquid oatbase that will then be used to make oatmilk and other products such as plant-based yogurt and ice cream. The new expansion has created 17 new jobs in the community. SunOpta supplies liquid and dried oatbase as an ingredient to companies, manufactures oatmilk for leading brands and food service operators, and produces private label oat-based products.

“Through this significant investment in Modesto to produce more oatbase, we’re well positioned to meet the increasing market demand for plant-based milk and other oat-based products,” says Brian Kocher, CEO of SunOpta. “We are also pleased to bring 17 new positions to our Modesto team and continue making a positive impact in the communities in which we work and live.”

After considering the incremental investment, key features of the newly expanded facility include:

  • 167,684 sq. ft. of production space
  • 17 new jobs, bringing the total Modesto-area employment to 208
  • Reduction of nearly 800,000 freight miles in SunOpta’s network per year

In keeping with the company's tradition of commemorating major milestones with a planting, SunOpta will install a pollinator habitat at its Modesto facility to celebrate the commercialization of its new expansion.