Pipeline Foods LLC, a U.S.-based supply chain solutions company focused on organic, non-GMO and regenerative food and feed, recently announced that it is acquiring the non-GMO and organic corn and soy business from SunOpta, Inc.
The acquisition complements Pipeline Foods’ existing footprint in the Canadian Prairies, North Dakota, SW Iowa, Missouri and Argentina by adding facilities in Minnesota and NE Iowa, bringing the total operational footprint to 12 facilities. This includes eight grain elevators, one dry corn mill, one expeller pressed crush plant, and two grain processing/packaging facilities.
Eric Jackson, chief executive of Pipeline Foods, said Pipeline was honored to be able to acquire SunOpta, which he said “has a very tenured history” in the organic and non-GMO markets.
“This is a critical next step in our company’s growth. It will add new capabilities and products to the existing Pipeline Foods portfolio—a benefit to both our farmers and food company customers,” Jackson said.
Jackson said the SunOpta acquisition complements Pipeline’s existing business. “Looking at the footprints of the two companies, we don’t have a redundancy with their business.”
While Pipeline has focused more on feed and wheat, SunOpta’s specialty has been identity preserved, non-GMO, and organic corn and soybeans processed for food uses.
“Our specialty and organic soy and corn business has a long history of supplying high quality specialty, non-GMO and organic ingredients to the food industry,” said John Ruelle, senior vice president of raw material sourcing and supply at SunOpta.
“This is truly a wonderful opportunity for everybody to share knowledge, experience, customers, and growers,” Jackson said. “We are merging the innovation and investment power of Pipeline Foods with the tenure and respect of SunOpta, integrating the best parts of each organization to build a world-class business that can deliver value to our farmer-partners as well as our customers. We believe the respective organizations’ products, geographies, customers and farmer networks are very complementary to each other. We foresee great things to come.”
The SunOpta business brings over 40 years of experience and history in the industry to the Pipeline Foods team. With the intent to hire all of SunOpta’s employees dedicated to the specialty grains business, Pipeline Foods will more than double in work force and plans to extend all services, including grain merchandising and the company’s Farm Profit and Ag Impact programs, to its entire grower and customer base.
“I want to thank all of our employees who are transitioning to Pipeline Foods for their hard work and dedication. We believe Pipeline Foods is well positioned in this space, which should serve the industry well and be positive for our transitioning employees,” Ruelle said.
Pipeline plans to continue working with SunOpta’s farmers. “They have long-standing relationships with growers, and we intend to continue with them,” Jackson said. “Their growers have produced identity preserved crops, and we want to extend the opportunity to grow IP crops to the growers we are working with.”
The acquisition includes SunOpta’s five facilities in Hope, Minn.; Blooming Prairie, Minn.; Ellendale, Minn.; Moorhead, Minn.; and Cresco, Iowa. Pipeline Foods will now be able to offer food-grade organic and non-GMO corn and soy whole and milled ingredients, as well as complementary feed ingredients, in addition to its current products, which include food-grade organic small and ancient whole grains, ingredients, and feed ingredients.