CANADA – SunOpta Inc, a multi-national food and mineral company, has laid out long-term fiscal guidance to double revenue, with plant-based beverages, nutrition beverages, and fruit snacks businesses at the centre of its ambitions.

SunOpta’s CEO, Joseph Ennen, suggested that the US$2bn target in revenue, which would have doubled the US$935m achieved in the 2022 financial year, might be around five to seven years.

“We see opportunities to continue to grow market share. We believe that we can turn this into a two-plus billion-dollar company in the next handful of years–five, six, seven years,” Ennen said at an investor event.

SunOpta has outgrown being an ingredients-centric or “commodities-orientated” business to a value-added manufacturer.

In 2019, 70% of revenue was geared to commodities and now that is 30%, with an unspecified target to get to 80% for value-added.

Ennen was optimistic about the future of nutrition drinks to drive internal growth over the next decade, which he deemed to be a huge category, but was equally optimistic about dairy-alternative beverages, particularly milk variants.

“We continue to roll up market share from our competitors in that space plant-based drinks. We continue to see category growth and find new ways to drive innovation and take that plant-based milk capability into new categories and spaces,” he explained.

Within the US$2bn longer-term target, plant-based beverages are envisaged as getting to US$1.15bn, and better-for-you snacks and nutrition drinks are US$250m each.

Of the US$935m generated in group revenue last year, plant-based food and beverages accounted for US$558m, while fruit-based food and drinks had US$376m.

SunOpta has also set a revenue outlook for the current year, fiscal 2023 to the end of December, at US$1 to 1.05bn, rising to $1.1bn in 2024 and $1.25bn in 2025.

According to a market analysis report, the global plant-based beverages market size was valued at US$24.42 billion in 2021 and will expand further at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% from 2022 to 2030.

Plant-based beverages, such as milk and smoothies, are witnessing high demand owing to their health benefits, nutritional properties, and the least carbon footprint it contributes to the globe.

Health-conscious people not only consume these beverages but also lactose-intolerant consumers.

The increasing trend of veganism is also promoting the demand for plant-based beverages across the globe.

According to a research study conducted by British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) in January 2021, younger consumers aged between 18 and 40 years are more likely to choose a plant-based diet and are the primary promoter of plant-based beverage trends across the globe.

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