Food In Canada


SunOpta cuts workforce; streamlines operations

Canadian-based natural and organics food company makes changes to save operating costs

Toronto – One of Canada’s natural and organic foods companies is cutting jobs and streamlining its operation.

SunOpta Inc. – which manufactures ingredients and food products for retail, private label and foodservice – announced today that it has started restructuring SunOpta Foods to align the company according to the markets and customers it serves – rather than by product groupings.

The company says it has eliminated its Fruit Group and has created a new Consumer Products Group to focus on non-grains based consumer packaged goods.

The Consumer Products Group will include the Frozen Foods and Healthy Snacks operations, which were part of the former Fruit Group, and the Food Solutions operations, which were formerly part of the International Foods Group.

As part of this restructuring the Fruit Ingredient operations of the former Fruit Group have been consolidated with the existing Ingredients Group.

The International Foods Group will now include the company’s international sourcing and supply operations (Tradin Organic) and the operations of Purity Life Health Products. The Grains and Foods Group will remain unchanged.

The realignment means SunOpta Foods will consist of four operating segments; Grains and Foods, Ingredients, Consumer Products and International Foods.

The company says it will begin reporting segmented information based on its new operating segments as of March 31, 2012.

Reducing workforce

SunOpta is also in the process of cutting a number of its operations and functions.

As part of this process, the company will be reducing its salaried workforce by approximately six per cent and reducing annual operating costs by approximately $3 million.

One-time severance costs of approximately half a million dollars before tax are expected to be incurred as a result of these reductions during the first half of fiscal 2012.

The company says it also wants to address certain underperforming business operations in the Food Group and is making changes that are expected to improve future earnings and generate positive cash flow over the course of the year.