TORONTO — With demand expanding, SunOpta Inc. said it would expand its Modesto, Calif., aseptic processing and packaging operation.

The decision followed a SunOpta announcement of the addition of a third processor, which will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2015. This latest addition will include two multi-serve (liter/quart) fillers, expanding the capacity and range of packaging formats. The first filler is expected to be completed and commissioned by the end of 2014, and the second by April 2015.

“Our integrated aseptic platform is currently experiencing tremendous growth,” said Steve Bromley, chief executive officer of SunOpta. “This expansion will further enable SunOpta to grow in low-acid aseptic categories including non-dairy, dairy, nutritional beverages, teas, broths and others, serving a wide range of customers and addressing growing consumer demand for ‘convenient and on-the-go’ healthy food options.”

The Modesto aseptic processing and packaging operation initially was commissioned in 2010, and is paired with SunOpta’s processing and packaging operation in Alexandria, Minn. The expansion is estimated to increase annual production capacity to more than 500 million packages.

Current production capabilities include soymilk, rice beverage, almond beverage, hemp milk, sunflower milk, ancient grain beverages, coconut based beverages, nutritional beverages, teas, dairy products and broths among others.