Meet the man who started the stevia explosion

GILBERT, AZ (May 13, 2014) – SweetLeaf® Stevia Sweetener is proud to announce that the Paraguayan Chamber of Stevia, CAPASTE, recently honored company Founder and CEO James May with an award of gratitude and recognition for successfully launching stevia as a natural, zero calorie, zero carbohydrate sweetener in the United States. Stevia has contributed to the growth in the global sweetener market as the demand for sugar alternatives grow. Latin American economies have benefited from May’s contributions to the nearly billion dollar industry.

Stevia: Sweet, Tasty, and Globally Lucrative Earlier this month in Asunción, Paraguay, CAPASTE president Juan Barboza presented a plaque and a lapel pin made exclusively for May.

“The plaque and the lapel pin are just our way of expressing how much we respect James May,” said Gustavo Rodriguez, Paraguay’s Minister of Industry. “They are symbols of the friendship between Mr. May and his fellows from Paraguay.”

“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition from CAPASTE,” said May, Founder/CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands®, SweetLeaf’s® parent company. “When I brought stevia into the United States in 1982, it was unheard of in the United States and Europe as a natural sweetener and government regulations made the herb difficult to market. I’m pleased that after decades of efforts, stevia is now a household name throughout the Americas and Europe. In Paraguay, stevia is known as Ka’a He’ê – or ‘sweet herb.’ We celebrated that history and translation by naming the brand SweetLeaf®.

“World demand is growing rapidly for high-quality stevia sweet glycosides, both as a commercial sweetener and as a tabletop sweetener,” May said. “I firmly believe that stevia can change the world by improving the health and well-being of everyone who will use it regularly and eliminate artificial sweeteners and reduce sugar from their diets. Stevia offers incredible health benefits to people wise enough to use it daily.”

SweetLeaf® is sold in over 30 countries and is the world’s most-trusted stevia brand. It is the top-selling natural stevia sweetener in the United States*. May’s commitment to making stevia a leading natural replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners has created jobs worldwide and has contributed greatly to Latin America’s emerging economy. May is considered a pioneer in the natural foods industry and a global expert on stevia.

“Because I could foresee the potential of stevia, we have focused our attention on it as a health-generating sweetener since 1995,” May said. “However, since I am also the person who introduced yerba maté, lapacho (pau d’arco), stevia leaves and stevia concentrate, as well as other Paraguayan herbs to the North American market, we are going to return to promoting them this year.”

Wisdom’s commitment to the audiences it serves includes supporting the American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association. The company’s products are and continue to be a great alternative for people with diabetes and special nutritional needs. Wisdom has developed relationships with these organizations nationwide through active association and contribution.

Wisdom continues to take the initiative as the sweetener solution for children and adults faced with the challenge of obesity and diabetes in such organizations as: Marjorie’s Fund (a global initiative helping people with Type 1 diabetes who live in third world countries to survive, control, and manage their diabetes); WiL Power (an organization committed to fighting childhood obesity); and Arizona State University programs specifically aimed at combatting obesity in children and teens.

*Based on SPINS latest 24-week unit growth in the natural channel, ending 11/23/13.

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 response. 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 Sympache®, are available loose leaf or in bags and 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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