SunOpta - closing a plant in North Dakota.

SunOpta - closing a plant in North Dakota.

Canada-based food and ingredients group SunOpta has announced it is making a "significant" investment in its roasted snack operations at a facility in the US while closing another factory down.

The investment is in its factory in Crookston, Minnesota, while its facility in Wahpeton, North Dakota, is to close.

SunOpta said operations there are likely to cease during the second fiscal quarter of 2018 and its "capabilities" consolidated at the Minnesota plant.

The company said the move would provide "significant operational efficiencies as part of its on-going portfolio optimisation strategy and value creation plan".

Dave Colo, CEO of SunOpta, said: "The investment in our roasted snacking capabilities reflects our continued efforts to optimise our portfolio and focus on product lines where the company is effectively positioned to generate long-term profitable returns.

"The investment in the Crookston facility will expand our capabilities and allow us to capitalise on the strong underlying consumer trends in healthy snacking and further advance our quality and food safety initiatives."

SunOpta said it expects to incur expenses relating to the Wahpeton facility closure of approximately US$2m to $2.5m related to asset impairment charges and severance costs. These charges are expected to be recognised during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.

Colo thanked the employees associated with the Wahpeton facility for their hard work and dedication but didn't comment on their future. 

In September SunOpta announced plans to stop making nutrition bars as part of its attempts to re-focus the business to become more profitable in the long term.