GILBERT, Ariz. -- We know too much sugar is not good for your health, so many people try to use sugar alternatives. One plant-based sweetener is made right here in the Valley. It's called Stevia and with new products in the works, the future for this company is looking pretty sweet.
Stevia, as you may have heard it said here in the United States, is a plant-based sweetener. It's a natural, zero carb, zero calorie sugar alternative. And while the plant it comes from grows in the rainforest, the sweet stuff is extracted right here in the Valley.
"We actually started in Scottsdale in our garage and family room," said Carol May, CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands.
36 years later, and Wisdom Natural Brands is still family-run, now based in Gilbert. It ships products to grocery stores and online retailers across the U.S. and 30 other countries.
As May says, the story starts with her late husband back in 1982.
"My husband met a man from Paraguay from the Peace Corps... and he had some leaves... and asked my husband to taste them."
Skeptical at first, he finally gave it a taste and that was the beginning of something really sweet.
"It was like he had a vision of what could happen," said May.
Mr. May became known as the "Father of Stevia." His brand, Sweetleaf, is the first product of its kind to be considered safe. And since its creation, Stevia is now used to sweeten all types of foods and beverages.
The May family is proud of the business they've build from the ground up, keeping the main goal in focus: sweet without the sugar.
"We've had thousands and tens of thousands of people tell us we have changed their life for good."
The company is always trying to craft new products. Right now, organic products, syrups, baking ingredients and drinks are all in the works.
Wisdom Natural Brands will expand to India and China next year.
Wisdom Natural Brands
1203 W. San Pedro St.
Gilbert, AZ 85233