Post Creator: Rosie Bartley

Milking the Market: Sustainable food and the plant-based milk revolution with Joe Ennen, SunOpta

By ICR | Podcast

A growing number of food companies are investing in sustainable product development, but only a handful are really getting it right. 

Joining us to talk about doing sustainability successfully is Joe Ennen. Joe is CEO and a director at SunOpta, which trades under the symbol S T K L. The company sources, processes, and produces organic, natural, and non-GMO plant and fruit-based food and beverage products.

SunOpta sells to retail customers, food service distributors, branded food companies, and food manufacturers. They have 14 processing facilities, mainly in North America. 

Joe has over three decades of experience as a food industry leader. Prior to his current role, he was Group Vice President of Innovation at PepsiCo, and served as CEO at Columbus Foods, and CEO of Columbus Manufacturing. Joe has an undergraduate degree in Finance and Marketing from University of Minnesota, and an MBA from University of Michigan.

Joe and Tom talked about SunOpta’s investments in capacity, innovation, and the five factors that have fueled the huge growth of plant-based milk products.


  • Joe explains SunOpta as a business (3:01)
  • The changes at SunOpta since Joe’s arrival (4:21)
  • SunOpta’s five strategic imperatives (5:50)
  • The company’s ESG focus (8:45)
  • Joe discusses what he sees for this market in the next few years (10:20)
  • How SunOpta assures customer retention  (13:06)
  • Managing a diverse customer base (15:22)
  • Joe talks about their impressive 2nd quarter results (16:31)
  • Navigating through difficult times (18:11)
  • How SunOpta moves with their customers (19:40)
  • What investors might not understand about SunOpta (20:52)
  • SunOpta’s capacity-building achievements (22:36)


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