Stevia First Corp. Provides Letter to Shareholders
Jan 20, 2015
SACRAMENTO, CA--Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF) ("Stevia First" or the "Company"), an agricultural biotechnology company based in California's Central Valley growing region and focused on the industrial scale production of stevia, the all-natural zero-calorie sweetener that is rapidly transforming the food and beverage industry is pleased to provide the following letter to shareholders.
Dear Fellow Shareholders:
I want to thank you for your continuing interest in Stevia First Corporation ("SF Corp"). Over the last 3 years, we've laid a strong foundation that effectively positions us to succeed both in the near-term and the long-term. I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on our mission objective and an overview of my strategic vision and plan moving forward.
Thus far we have built an impressive organization with a world-class team who share a collaborative passion for revolutionizing the food and nutrition industry for the better, and especially tools that help fight diabetes and obesity. Our in-house staff of executives and R&D team has their finger on the pulse of breakthrough technologies, and we do this through bringing together PhDs from multiple scientific disciplines combined with engineers and physicians as well. Our core team has enabled us within a rapid period to commercialize products even while also conducting lucrative R&D that will generate value for many years to come.
Our Proprietary Products and Formulations
Our headquarters are in Yuba City, California, where we have more than 3,000 square feet of laboratory and pilot production facilities. As an early stage agricultural technology ("ag-tech") company, many are impressed that we have already developed and patented novel methods of stevia production, and leveraged this intellectual property into a commercial deal with one of the largest global stevia suppliers. Our R&D programs have attracted the interest of several multinational food, beverage and ingredient companies. Through our proprietary bioprocessing methods for Reb A, the purified form of stevia most commonly used today, we can obtain 2 or 3 times as much stevia from the same amount of leaf, potentially achieving dramatic cost savings over our competition. We are now better positioned than ever to become a premier global stevia supplier and the only large-scale producer in North America. We have obtained designs for modern stevia extraction and refining technologies to soon enable construction of the first dedicated North American stevia production facilities.
A core motivating factor at SF Corp has always been finding practical ways to rapidly improve and sustain human health. Stevia is a powerful tool in this regard because since its recent introduction to the masses, it has enabled sugar reduction en-masse, and many have said, has probably helped reduce and possibly prevent diabetes and obesity. We have worked hard to help it go mainstream as fast as possible, and now that this transformation is occurring it's truly thrilling to watch.
Revolutionizing Food and Nutritional Industries, a Multi-Billion Dollar Growth Industry
The sugar substitute market is valued at more than $11 billion annually today and stevia's share of this market is expected to grow rapidly due to multinational food and beverage giants now including it as a new ingredient in hundreds of products each year. Stevia is also enjoyed by many as means to fight obesity and diabetes, sold as health supplement within the global nutraceuticals and functional foods market that Visiongain has predicted will reach more $241.25 billion in 2015. Many attribute this growth to both an aging population and a steadily increasing desire for people to improve and maintain wellness through the consumption of natural, organic and healthier products.
We are pleased to announce that SF Corp is expanding our product offering beyond stevia, and developing food and nutritional products that are designed to have functional effects, for example, cutting-edge "geroprotectors" that mimic the health benefits of proper diet and exercise. These are potent nutritional ingredients that could prevent or even reverse diabetes and obesity, while reducing dependency on drugs such as insulin. Our development of them is in part driven by recognition that prevention with products like stevia is ideal, but for many it's too late, or their genetic profile makes metabolic disorder inevitable, and so outright cures and reversal of disease is essential.
In these times when marketing and advertising give so many conflicting messages, everyone has more than a right to be skeptical -- it's a responsibility. And so with regard to our organization, I try to champion our cause while also remaining our harshest critic. But it's with unbridled enthusiasm that I share news of our ongoing expansion into working on functional foods and beverages. We believe that many of these future products will markedly improve human health, and our ability to greatly reduce their production costs will make them affordable enough to be available to almost everyone. Some of these products influence genetic pathways such as AMPK, which is linked to a common diabetes drug metformin, a line of research that could yield product that provide "exercise-in-a-bottle". Other products include ones that influence the Sirtuin enzymes, which have recently shown the ability to mitigate the negative effects of obesity or eating an unhealthy diet. It's clear that food products containing geroprotectors could have profound effects on metabolism, maybe even represent cures for our twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity, and offer us a compelling market opportunity within the massive nutraceuticals industry.
AI Scientist Platform - A Low Hanging Fruit
SF Corp is uniquely positioned to capitalize on many of these opportunities. As you may know, we have been developing an "AI Scientist" platform that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to aggregate and analyze biological and clinical health data. Longer-term, this platform has broad implications and potential uses, given it quite simply provides us with a smarter way to analyze any type of data, and it is being built in a scalable way by a development team that rivals anyone within their field. We are applying the platform primarily for genomics analysis, seeking to discover novel protector or "geroprotector" genes that may provide profound health benefits, and functional ingredients that mediate the same effects. We have an R&D team and facilities for bioprocessing of stevia so that we can internally produce food products that are suitable for consumption using proprietary methods. The same expertise and production facilities can be applied to geroprotectors and related functional food ingredients, which will likely garner even higher margins and value per kilogram than with stevia. Importantly, while we plan to market these products as nutraceuticals and functional food ingredients, we could also co-develop or out-license their applications as pharmaceutical products.
Looking Forward 2015
The next 6 - 12 months should be an exciting and transformative period for SF Corp. We are now well positioned for commercialization of our stevia products, and even just one significant deal could quickly raise our corporate profile and generate substantial revenues. We are also adding lucrative functional ingredients to our product portfolio, which like stevia, could become great enablers of change within the food and nutrition industries and quite possibly could halt and reverse the terribly destructive diabetes and obesity epidemics.
All that said, we'll take it one step at a time, as that's what has enabled us to make rapid progress so far, and after all, we're still just getting started. We thank you for your support and invite you to take a closer look at what we will accomplish in the coming months.
With warm regards,
Robert Brooke, CEO
About Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF)
Stevia First Corp. is an agricultural biotechnology company that is enabling dramatically healthier food and nutrition products. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com and connect with the Company on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
About the Stevia Industry
The market for all-natural, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners is expanding rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates stevia intake could eventually replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. The total global sweetener market was estimated at $58.3 billion in 2010. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release 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 press release 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 news release, 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 press release 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.
Stevia First Corp.
Dian Griesel Int'l
Tel: +1-(212) 825-3210
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