Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 49
Wisdom Natural Brands/SweetLeaf Stevia
>> CEO Carol May continues to grow Wisdom Natural Brands and
the SweetLeaf Stevia products after her late husband, James
May, launched the company in 1982. In 2016, the Mays were
inducted into the Natural Products Hall of Legends.
ipes at almost no charge to us and just
because they want to be able to have
sugar-reduced products in the restaurants." Restaurant chefs in downtown
Manhattan have created recipes for
SweetLeaf including La Cirque, Duet
Restaurant and more.
With SweetLeaf Stevia now firmly
entrenched in the United States, Wisdom Natural Brands is growing its
presence worldwide. "We are very
proud to be the first organic stevia
products to be introduced to the United Kingdom and in several European
markets," May says.
years of consumer and industry
education and worked to help
people understand the value of
stevia and how it is best processed," Carol May says.
Following passage of the act,
the company sold its products
in powder and liquid form, but
only as a dietary supplement.
This changed in 2008, when
SweetLeaf became the first
stevia sweetener to receive
and devoted himself to developing
a business around marketing the stevia leaf as a safe alternative to sugars. The Mays and their five children
packaged and labeled herbs in their
garage, and James May sold stevia,
yerba maté and other herbs to local
health food stores in the back of the
family's car. The leafs from the yerba
maté tree are the core ingredients of
the Wisdom of the Ancients herbal
tea brand, also owned and produced by Wisdom Natural Brands.
Because the plant was only al-
"We're concerned about sustainability
and are careful about using partners
that share that responsibility." - Carol May
The company's crusade began in 1982
when James May, Carol May's late husband, was introduced to the stevia leaf
by a Peace Corps member who had
just returned from Paraguay. The stevia
plant was discovered in the rainforests
of Paraguay roughly 1,500 years ago.
After tasting the leaf, James May left
his career in the healthcare industry
lowed for topical uses in the United
States until the mid-1990s, James May
worked with a local congressional delegation to pass the Dietary Supplement
Health and Education Act, enacted in
1994. The Act recognizes stevia as a
dietary supplement. "We have put in 35
Generally Recognized as Safe status
from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. With the certification in hand,
Wisdom Natural Brands began marketing stevia as a food product and started selling it to other food manufacturers as an ingredient.
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com