GILBERT, AZ (Jan 7, 2015) – The Specialty Food Association announced Wisdom Natural Brands® Founder/CEO James A. May as a winner in the Vision category of its third annual Leadership Awards. The association’s awards honor members who have gone “above and beyond” in advancing food standards in society—and society itself—by creating social, economic and environmental impact through innovation and vision.
Recognized for his lifetime of dedication and desire for bettering lives, the Vision Award from the Specialty Food Association is a significant addition to May’s professional accomplishments. Known as the “Father of Stevia,” May was the first to bring stevia leaves to the United States in 1982. Taking a leap of faith and leaving his position as a healthcare executive, May pursued his vision to bring stevia to the forefront as a natural, better-for-you sweetener.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be receiving this award from the Specialty Food Association,” said May. “More than anything, I am grateful our SweetLeaf Stevia® products continue to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives all over the world.”
Working from his passion and extensive knowledge about stevia, May was integral in helping lift the previous FDA ban on importing stevia by meeting with Congress and senators in 1995. May’s brand, SweetLeaf Stevia, was the first to receive GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status from the FDA in 2008.
May will be presented the Vision Award Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, following a keynote address by Seth Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Honest Tea. The ceremony is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Moscone Center.
SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener, which is sold in over 30 countries, has currently won 14 worldwide awards for taste and innovation. May has additionally received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Stevia Foundation as well as the first American Herbal Products Association Visionary Award. He was also honored by the Paraguayan Chamber of Stevia, CAPASTE, in Asunción, Paraguay, for his significant contributions to the growing popularity of stevia.
Nominations for the Specialty Food Association awards were made by members of the Specialty Food Association and others in the specialty food industry. A panel of judges composed of industry experts and influencers selected the honorees from dozens of nominees across the three categories.
“The specialty food industry is fueled by passionate entrepreneurs who seek to make a difference through the products they bring to market. These leaders are making an even greater impact by pioneering new business practices, empowering workers, and taking risks,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association.
For more information about SweetLeaf, visit SweetLeaf.com. For interviews with James A. May at the ceremony Sunday via phone or in person at the Fancy Food show, please contact the names listed at the bottom of the release.
About Wisdom Natural Brands®
Gilbert, Arizona-based Wisdom Natural Brands® is the parent company of two highly respected and award-winning consumer brands: SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener and Wisdom of the Ancients® herbal teas. SweetLeaf® is the natural stevia sweetener with zero calories, zero carbohydrates, non-glycemic response, and NO artificial ingredients. The only stevia brand to be named a Top Wellness Company and to consistently win numerous global awards for taste and innovation, SweetLeaf is sold in boxes containing 35 or 70 packets, as well as in SweetLeaf Stevia® Shaker bottles for easy home use and SweetLeaf SteviaTabs™ Dissolvable Tablets for on-the-go use. SugarLeaf™, also by Wisdom, bonds SweetLeaf Stevia® and cane sugar for a low-calorie sugar alternative that is perfect for baking and cooking. SugarLeaf™ has 2/3 fewer calories than sugar. SweetLeaf® Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™ add flavor without calories or carbohydrates to favorite foods and beverages. Sweet Drops™ also have NO artificial ingredients. SweetLeaf® Water Drops™ add delicious natural flavor to still or sparkling water. For more information about SweetLeaf products, recipes, the new SweetLeaf cookbook, Cooking with SweetLeaf Stevia®, and more, visit www.ShopSweetLeaf.com.
Wisdom of the Ancients herbal teas, from energizing Yerba Maté Royale® to calming Rooibos and Sympacho®, are available in tea 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 www.ShopSweetLeaf.com or at grocery and health food stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.