Posted on March 12th, 2014
by Robert Brooke
Hello again, this is Robert Brooke, CEO of Stevia First. I find it’s always rewarding to take a few minutes to share with you my take on recent news and industry events. As such, I hope to provide a little insight for anyone who’s not familiar with our work as a California-based ag-biotech company that’s working hard to become a premier global supplier of stevia and next-generation stevia production technologies.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is part of Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, and is already working to reduce the amount of calories, fat, sodium, and sugar allowed in school snack foods. Last week, new elements were introduced adding further restrictions on marketing of sugar-loaded beverages to students. So now there are restrictions in schools on not only selling sugary beverages, but a ban on marketing them also.
In a busy and sensationalized world, sometimes news like this seems minor and hardly newsworthy. For example, the proposal to reduce marketing of sugary beverages in schools was called by the food and beverage industry a “logical next step”. A little boring, right? – Where’s the conflict? Change for some comes too fast, and for others too slow, but make no mistake – these changes are inevitable and fast approaching. The recent news highlights the incredible steps that have already been taken on this issue, evidenced by sales of full-calorie sodas in schools dropping by 97% in the last 10 years.
We’ve worked together to take care of our children and schools, and now it’s time to take care of our own health. As I shuffle aboard numerous airline flights, I’m reminded to “Place the oxygen mask on yourself first, and start breathing before you start assisting others.” The issue is very real today, even with all of the “noise” raising alarms about sugar overconsumption, many folks still haven’t received the message. The epidemic disproportionately affects the less educated and urban poor, where over 50% still consume one or more sugary beverages daily. This situation, much like the ugly state of affairs that existed in schools 10 years ago, is set to change. In fact, it already has to a certain extent, as the World Health Organization announced just last week that daily sugar intake should be less than 5% of your diet, cutting the recommended amount by half, and reducing it to less than what’s found in a single 12 ounce sugary beverage. Due to measures like this and other public health campaigns, the educated class largely knows to avoid sugar-loaded drinks (only 27% or so of college graduates consume one each day).
The momentum is continuing, as news of viable alternatives (ahem, such as stevia!) keep appearing, with PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, all announcing separately just in the past few weeks favorable indicators and planned launches of more stevia products both in the U.S. and globally. Progress may seem slow to some, but we’re definitely experiencing a transformation. Somewhat like the 97% reduction in sugary drinks at schools, Credit Suisse predicts that 5-10 years from now the general public may have very different beverage habits and will move away from sugar and towards natural sweeteners.
Here at Stevia First, we work day in and day out on delivering breakthrough production technologies to enable this transformation, and to spur a new wave of growth within the stevia industry. Like the movement towards calorie and sugar reduction, our R&D work and efforts don’t always result in instant success, or instant recognition, but persistence over time is paying off and it helps that there is no shortage of opportunities within this dynamic and growing industry.
Once again, it’s a pleasure to hit the pause button for a few moments to reflect, and thanks for the opportunity to share. Please stay tuned for more.
Forward Looking Statements
This blog contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27(a) of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this blog which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, projections of worldwide sales of stevia products, growth of stevia production and global markets. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this blog post, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this blog are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.