Canadian natural and organic food group SunOpta is looking to ramp up production in the US to supply more products in pouch packaging.

SunOpta is looking to supply customers with products including baby food, healthy snacks and yoghurts in re-sealable pouches.

The company has installed pouch fillng machines in a plant in California owned by a baby food producer with which it has a co-packing agreement.

SunOpta has also lined up the use of a plant in Pennsylvania as it expands its production in the US.

COO Tony Tavares told just-food SunOpta would lease a 100,000 sq ft site in Allentown in Pennsylvania.

The facility will be operational by next August and SunOpta plans to install two lines that fill products sold in the pouch format. The company said more pouch-filling lines could be added to the plant, which will also have the capacity to make healthy snack products.

Tavares said SunOpta was also looking for another plant in California to house "several" pouch-filling machines.

"In all we believe we can build a flexible pouch business with revenues of approx. US$100m within the next four years," Tavares said today (6 December). "So far the customers we have signed are all in the baby food business but we expect to make products for other companies as well as consumer demand for this pouch format increases."

SunOpta, meanwhile, has also installed a processing line at its Pacific Fruit Processors unit in South Gate in California. The line will make fruit bases for yoghurts, smoothies and fruit toppings.

Tavares said the combined cost of the projects would be around $40m.