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SunOpta and GreenField Ethanol Create Cellulosic Ethanol Joint Venture

TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 21, 2006--SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (NASDAQ:STKL)(TSX:SOY) today announced that it has signed a joint venture agreement with GreenField Ethanol Inc. ("GreenField"), formerly known as Commercial Alcohols Inc., Canada's leading producer of fuel ethanol, to develop and implement commercial scale processes for the production of cellulosic ethanol from wood chips, including the planned establishment of one or more commercial scale plants employing the new process.

The first plant is planned to produce 40 million liters (approximately 10 million gallons) of cellulosic ethanol per year, which would be the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant built and operational in the world using wood chips. Greenfield Ethanol and SunOpta are actively involved in selecting a site for the first plant in Ontario or Quebec. Subsequent plants will be in the range of 200 to 400 million liters (approximately 50 to 100 million gallons) per year capacity.

The venture will be owned 50% by GreenField and 50% by SunOpta's BioProcess Group and will utilize the SunOpta BioProcess Group's patented and proprietary process solutions for the production of cellulosic ethanol.

Steve Bromley, President and COO of SunOpta commented, "As previously announced, the SunOpta BioProcess Group is raising $30 million to fund exciting growth projects utilizing the Group's proprietary technology in the production of cellulosic ethanol. This joint venture is an exciting first step in the use of these funds and we are most pleased to partner with GreenField, combining their world class expertise developing ethanol plants with our world class expertise in biomass pretreatment and cellulosic ethanol technologies."

Bob Gallant, President and CEO of GreenField commented, "This partnership combines decades of GreenField's experience in developing world-class ethanol plants and SunOpta's experience in developing cellulose pre-treatment technologies. This new joint venture creates unparalleled experience in developing cellulose technology."

The SunOpta BioProcess Group is a leader in the design, construction and optimization of biomass conversion equipment and facilities. With more than 30 years of experience in delivering biomass solutions worldwide, the BioProcess Group combines its application expertise with innovative technologies to produce cellulosic ethanol, cellulosic butanol, xylitol, and dietary fiber for human consumption; and is currently supplying equipment and technology to three cellulosic ethanol projects in the U.S., Spain, and China.

GreenField Ethanol, formerly Commercial Alcohols, is Canada's leading ethanol producer. The company produces 215-million litres a year of corn-based ethanol at its plants in Chatham and Tiverton, Ontario. A third facility in Varennes, Quebec is slated to open in February 2007 and two more plants are under construction in Hensall and Johnstown, Ontario, and will be operational in 2008. GreenField Ethanol will be one of the top producers in North America with five operating plants, producing more than 700-million litres of ethanol per year by 2008.

GreenField's fuel is available at more than 1,500 gas stations across Canada.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.

CONTACT: SunOpta Inc.
Jeremy N. Kendall, Chairman & CEO
Steve Bromley, President & COO
John Dietrich, Vice President & CFO
Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103
susan.wiekenkamp@sunopta.com
Website: www.sunopta.com
or
Investment Community Inquiries:
Lytham Partners, LLC
Joe Diaz, Robert Blum, Joe Dorame, 602-889-9700
diaz@lythampartners.com

SOURCE: SunOpta Inc.