Canadian processing and packaging company SunOpta will expand its aseptic processing and packaging operations at its Modesto plant in California, by installing a third processor.

To be installed during the third quarter of 2014, the processor is expected to increase the plant’s processing capacity by around 33%.

Commissioned in 2010, the Modesto plant processes and packs low acid non-dairy products, including soymilk, almond beverage and coconut milk, as well as aseptic dairy and tea-based beverages.

SunOpta chief executive officer Steve Bromley said that this expansion is an important step in enabling the company to meet growing customer demand and will support new product innovation.

"Together with our Alexandria plant, we believe we are now the largest carton based low acid aseptic manufacturer in the United States, which offers key processing scale and geographic advantages to our customers," added Bromley.

"The continued investment in our aseptic platform is directly aligned with our core strategies to aggressively grow our value-added ingredients and packaged foods portfolio, and to leverage our integrated platform to become a pure play natural and organic foods company."

In addition, the company will also add additional aseptic filling lines at this plant in 2014 to accommodate the demand from customers operating in several categories, including non-dairy, nutritional beverages and dairy.

The company currently produces rice beverage, coconut based beverages, almond beverage, sunflower milk, nutritional beverages, ancient grain beverages, soymilk, teas, hemp milk, dairy products and broths.