Driven by increasing consumer demand for low-carbohydrate foods and the growing popularity of high fibre food products, the facility extension means the 800-strong company can now process almost two-thirds more fibre than last year.
"The second phase increases fibre processing capacity by approximately 65 per cent. Total cost for the first two expansion phases is estimated at $1.2 million," said SunOpta, the NASDAQ registered firm created last year through the fusion of Stake Technology and Opta Food Ingredients.
In parallel to the rising calls for low-carbohydrate products towing Atkins-style diets, is the rising tide of evidence that suggests oats hold potential health benefits, largely through the positive impact consumption can have on cholesterol levels.
SunOpta, positioning itself in the organic and natural food markets, now has the opportunity to maximise on this combination of trends.
"When added to bakery products, the Canadian Harvest Oat Fibers allow for the production of high fibre and low carbohydrate breads, pastries, muffins, bagels, tacos and tortillas. Oat fibre is also used in other categories such as dairy, meat and snack food products," said the group.
According to a statement this week further expansion at both the Cambridge and Louisville, Kentucky facilities could be expected in the next few months as the company continues efforts to 'optimise processing capabilities'.
An estimated 300 million Americans are currently hooked on low-carb diets in a potential market worth €10 billion.