Distinguished tribute to be presented during Winter Fancy Food Show

GILBERT, AZ (Jan. 8, 2015) – The Specialty Food Association announced Wisdom Natural Brands® Founder/CEO James A. May as a winner in the Vision category of its third annual Leadership Awards. The association’s awards honor members who have gone “above and beyond” in advancing food standards in society—and society itself—by creating social, economic and environmental impact through innovation and vision.

Recognized for his lifetime of dedication and desire for bettering lives, the Vision Award from the Specialty Food Association is a significant addition to May’s professional accomplishments. Known as the “Father of Stevia,” May was the first to bring stevia leaves to the United States in 1982. Taking a leap of faith and leaving his position as a healthcare executive, May pursued his vision to bring stevia to the forefront as a natural, better-for-you sweetener.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be receiving this award from the Specialty Food Association,” said May. “More than anything, I am grateful our SweetLeaf® Stevia products continue to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives all over the world.”

Working from his passion and extensive knowledge about stevia, May was integral in helping lift the previous FDA ban on importing stevia by meeting with Congress and senators in 1995. May’s brand, SweetLeaf® Stevia, was the first to receive GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status from the FDA in 2008.

May will be presented the Vision Award Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, following a keynote address by Seth Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Honest Tea. The ceremony is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Moscone Center.

SweetLeaf® Stevia Sweetener, which is sold in more than 30 countries, has currently won 14 worldwide awards for taste and innovation. May has additionally received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Stevia Foundation as well as the first American Herbal Products Association Visionary Award. Of particular note, James May was recently honored by the President of Paraguay along with the Paraguayan Chamber of Stevia, CAPASTE, in Asunción, Paraguay, for his outstanding contributions to the stevia industry, Paraguayan farmers and the country of Paraguay.

Nominations for the Specialty Food Association awards were made by members of the Specialty Food Association and others in the specialty food industry. A panel of judges composed of industry experts and influencers selected the honorees from dozens of nominees across the three categories.

“The specialty food industry is fueled by passionate entrepreneurs who seek to make a difference through the products they bring to market. These leaders are making an even greater impact by pioneering new business practices, empowering workers, and taking risks,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association.
For more information about SweetLeaf®, visit SweetLeaf®.com.

About Wisdom Natural Brands®
Gilbert, Arizona-based Wisdom Natural Brands® is the parent company of two highly respected consumer brands: SweetLeaf® Stevia Sweetener and Wisdom of the Ancients® herbal teas. SweetLeaf® is the natural stevia sweetener with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and zero glycemic index. The only stevia brand to be named a Top Wellness Company and to win 13 global taste and innovation awards, SweetLeaf® is sold in boxes containing 35 or 70 packets, as well as in SweetLeaf® Stevia Plus® Shaker Bottles for easy home use and SweetLeaf® SteviaTabs® Dissolvable Tablets for on-the-go use. SugarLeaf®, also by Wisdom, bonds stevia with raw cane sugar for a low-calorie sugar alternative perfect for baking and cooking. SweetLeaf® Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops® add flavor without calories or carbohydrates to favorite foods and beverages, and Sweet Drops® Water Enhancers add natural flavor to still or sparkling water. For more information about SweetLeaf® products, recipes and more, visit www.SweetLeaf®.com.

Wisdom of the Ancients herbal teas, from energizing Yerba Maté Royale® to calming Rooibos and Sympacho come in a variety of refreshing flavors. Select varieties are also available with a touch of calorie-free stevia sweetener.

SweetLeaf® and Wisdom of the Ancients products can be purchased online at ShopSweetLeaf®.com or at grocery and health food stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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