SunOpta has unveiled their new home – a cutting-edge space tailored to spark innovation, fuel collaboration and strengthen their sustainability legacy. The world-class facility is equipped with an expanded pilot plant as well as a research and development center eight times the size of its predecessor. With these additional resources, they plan to amplify production of co-manufactured products, private labels ingredients and branded offerings across all departments.

SunOpta is actively investing in sustainability, with a goal to double their plant-based business by 2025. Their investments will not only meet strategic objectives but also contribute to green initiatives and create an eco-friendly work environment for employees.

Rippe, RSP, & Grenier Construction joined forces to demonstrate SunOpta’s commitment to sustainability by bringing this dream of a green building into reality. This collaboration resulted in an abundance of plantings, living walls, and renewable materials that are both lighter on the environment as well as aesthetically pleasing. All efforts paid off with over 36k square feet devoted to generating solar energy and providing more than 30% electricity towards powering up the area.

The foodservice area of the building offers staff and visitors a peek into its test kitchen, coffee shop, as well as two spacious walk-in coolers. Every detail has been thoughtfully designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and practical: wall cabinets for organization in the kitchen along with overhead storage ensure an uncluttered space, while a discreet door provides access from within the dishroom.

The test kitchen was created to be a space that can adapt to any situation – whether it’s staff prepping meals or clients coming in for a meeting. On one side of the room lies an exhaust hood and two stationary counters with sinks, while four mobile work-counters occupy the other half and are easily rearrangeable at need into an inviting island setup designed just for client visits. The thoughtful addition of a soundproofing wall complete with its own acoustical door ensures privacy during meetings without sacrificing accessibility back to both the kitchen and dishroom.


Location: Eden Prairie MN
Opening Date: February 2021
Equipment Cost: $477,000


Test Kitchen
Test Coffee Shop
Walk-in Coolers

“frk has had the good fortune to with Rippe Associates for more than 20 years on many projects together. Our focus is the K-12 market and we have always appreciated the deep knowledge base, attention to detail, and extensive experience the team at Rippe Associate provides for educational design. We have also greatly valued the professional, yet personal approach, their designers take with our clients. When working with Rippe, we are always confident the project will be a success!”

Thomas C. Wollan, AIA, LEED AP

Partner at frk architects + engineers

“When it comes to dietary planning, Rippe is always first on my list when team building. They have a strong understanding of all the issues, are creative problem solvers, and are consistent with their execution.”

Daniel J. Rectenwald, AIA, ACHA, NCARB

Vice President, Principal at HGA

"The development of Elmhurst Hospital’s replacement campus was complex. The Rippe team supported our vision to transform healthcare foodservice. The result was exceptional reviews from our patients and staff, along with a facility that supported efficient operations."

David E. Reeves

Past President of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF)

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