The King of Natural Sweeteners: Crave Stevia’s Founding Story
January 18, 2023
The sugar-free market has been booming since the nineties, when a wave of fitness-inspired diets rose like a rising tide. Weight loss trends that were exceedingly popular, especially with the female demographic, were diets like Atkins (promoting low carbohydrate), low-sugar, and low-fat diets. Low-fat and low-calorie diets inevitably meant that artificial sweeteners became king in the food market. Everything from yogurt, snack bars, and soft drinks to bread, artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame made their way into just about anything.
The issue with artificial sweeteners rests in their chemical nature. Numerous studies have shown that overindulging in artificial sweeteners can lead to dire health conditions, of which some of the worst are linked to cancer.
In the early 2000s, a healthier alternative to cane sugar and artificial sweetener started to make its way into health grocers. The name of this substance came from a South African originating plant called Stevia.
Stevia sweetener is 100% plant-based and made with stevia leaves. When stevia leaves reach their peak sweetness, they are harvested, dried, and soaked in water to release a sweet substance. This extract is filtered, purified, dried and crystallized. Stevia is around 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, which means a smaller amount is needed to enhance foods. However, many stevia brands contain fillers, sugar alcohols, sweeteners, or natural flavours. Consumers who desire to avoid these additional ingredients must pay attention to the ingredient list and look for products that state 100% stevia on the label.
Crave Stevia is a Canadian company founded in 2002 by Rob and Leanna Hatch with the mission to bring healthy, zero-calorie, and delicious sugar alternatives to the market. They offer 100% pure stevia extract without any additional ingredients. What started as a small startup in Nanaimo, B.C. is now an international company offering a full product line with 28 flavours of organic stevia drops, stevia powders, and stevia-infused baking mixes. In this exclusive interview, we asked the founders what inspired them to create Crave Stevia and their aspirations in 2023.
What inspired the founding of your brand?
The constant struggle to find a tasty alternative sweetener that was good for you pushed us to create Crave Stevia. When we started the brand, stevia was not a common substitute for sugar on the market. Our stevia contains no artificial ingredients and is something we felt comfortable putting into our bodies.
What are your brand’s core values?
Crave Stevia strives to make high-quality products that you can rely on. We want to produce the best on the market while still being affordable. We always want to produce cutting-edge products and have a wide variety to choose from.
Describe one way you try to keep innovating with your brand.
We are always trying to elevate our brand by creating new products and consistently expanding our flavours. We always want our customers to have options and try something new each time.
Talk about a roadblock or a challenge you faced as a business owner; have you overcome this? If so, please tell us how you did or how you’re working on it.
Like many people this year, we faced a major roadblock with supply chain issues, struggling to find affordable raw materials that don’t compromise our quality. We are constantly working on overcoming this issue by forming great relationships with raw material suppliers and working with them to ensure we can keep our product as affordable as possible while still offering the highest quality.
What inspires you to keep going every day?
It is easy to keep going every day as we know we are making a great product that many people love and feel confident in us to provide the best product on the market.
How did you know you had a good product-market fit?
We saw a gap in the market and knew we could fill that gap with healthy sweeteners. Our customer base continues to grow year after year.
What are your aspirations for your brand 10 years from now?
We aspire to be a household-name product across North America in ten years. Additionally, we would love to be in all grocery and health stores. We hope for our product to be as accessible as possible for everyone.