Stevia market to expand with Sweet People

by Staff
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TEMPE, ARIZ. — The creator of SweetLeaf brand stevia, Steve May, has left Wisdom Natural Brands to begin a new company called Sweet People.

"Sweet People is the result of 12 years of listening to consumers, food manufacturers and our retail partners about their aspirations for stevia," Mr. May said.

Stevia is a green shrub that originates in the rainforests in Paraguay and is used as a natural, no-calorie sweetener. Used widely in Asia and South America in packaged foods, it is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement. The stevia retail category has grown from being virtually non-existent in 1995 to about $60 million in 2006.

Sweet People will launch its line in 2008 using its own brand name as well as private label formats for retailers.

"Sweet People is not just a copy of my original green packet," Mr. May said. "Our product is quantitatively superior in terms of active constituents, biodiversity, traceability, reliability and application versatility."

Most stevia in the U.S. is imported from China, but Sweet People will use products from Paraguay.

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