One man’s passion changed how the world embraced, enjoyed stevia.
Great ideas that have lasting impact upon the world often have humble beginnings coupled with the desire to make the world a better place. Picture a suburban garage in Scottsdale, Arizona, on the eastern edge of Phoenix, a modest place where one man’s passion for stevia started a worldwide phenomenon. Within the walls of that Scottsdale home, a young family embarked on an enterprise that eventually would span across the globe. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit.
This pioneering Arizona family was headed by a man named James A. May, a nationally respected healthcare executive, and his wife, Carol May, a smart, kind, compassionate, selfless and strong woman. A journey to South America in 1982 introduced James to a naturally sweet herb called stevia. At the time, few in North America had heard of this plant, but James saw its potential as a premium, great-tasting, plant-based sweetener that he hoped the world would embrace. James and Carol formed a company that promised to make the world a sweeter place and make a difference in people’s well-being.
Holding True to Our Mission and Vision
James and Carol explored the idea of manufacturing products that offer a better way for people to sweeten their foods and beverages. This vision inspired James to leave his career and sacrifice their savings and assets to begin their new business, Wisdom Natural Brands®, which would lead to the production of SweetLeaf® Stevia Sweetener, Wisdom of the Ancients® herbal blends and an ingredient source for zero-calorie stevia sweeteners manufacturers can use to reduce or replace sugars. Even their five children pitched in, working with their parents by traveling to trade shows to help set up displays and share the new products.
The Mays’ hard work paid off and what began as a home-based operation blossomed into a global enterprise with the same core values of integrity, honesty and social responsibility. In late 2005, Wisdom moved into its new headquarters in a 30,000+ square foot facility in Gilbert, AZ, which allowed the warehouse, administrative, sales and conference room space befitting an ever-expanding global company.
Expanding Reach and Research
SweetLeaf is the only stevia brand winning 31 awards for taste and innovation.
With SweetLeaf’s success as a better-for-you sweetener with zero calories, no sugars and no artificial sweeteners, James and Carol focused on research into the nutritional value of stevia leaf extract—work that continues to this day. The May family became recognized and respected as true visionaries in the stevia industry. For all of his efforts to bring stevia into the world, James became known as the “Father of Stevia.”
James and Carol joined a small group of worldwide inspirational leaders, ranging from retail to research professionals, whose wisdom, perspective and contributions have guided the evolution of the natural products industry when they were inducted into the Hall of Legends at Natural Products Expo in West Anaheim, California. Other accomplishments include having Wisdom named one of America’s Top Wellness Companies and earning the President’s “E” Award in Washington, D.C., for significant contributions to U.S. Exports. Along the way, SweetLeaf became the only stevia brand to win 31 awards for taste and innovation.
Under Carol’s guidance as CEO, Wisdom continues to be a leader in the stevia industry, remaining committed to the health and well-being of people around the world through the development of its products.
The SweetLeaf family of products has grown to include SweetLeaf Natural and Certified Organic packets and shaker jars; SweetLeaf SugarLeaf®, a premium blend of cane sugar and stevia with two-thirds fewer calories than sugar; SweetLeaf 2-oz. Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™ available in 16 flavors; SweetLeaf 50ml Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops in five delicious flavors; SweetLeaf Water Drops™ water enhancers in six fruit-flavored blends; and SweetLeaf Sugar-Free Stevia Syrups, available in three flavors with only 60 calories per serving.
James May’s travels also introduced him to great-tasting herbs that became a line of herbal blends based on yerba mate and stevia. From the rainforests of South America, Wisdom of the Ancients’ offerings include: Organic Yerba Maté, Organic Yerba Maté Royale®, Organic Yerba Maté Hibiscus, Organic Yerba Maté Tulsi, Organic Yerba Maté Masala and Pau D’Arco. The herbal blends contain hundreds of nutrients and other health-promoting benefits.
Wisdom Natural Brands is dedicated to making premium quality, delicious products. Wisdom’s products are available in more than 30 countries in health food stores, natural groceries, supermarkets, and online retailers.