Since our founding in 2008, we’ve come a long way from launching the first certified-organic stevia to becoming a leader in cross-category, better-for-you, sugar-reduced foods. As the year winds down, we’re taking a moment to reflect on some pivotal moments in our brand’s history, starting with our origin story. Our founder Ben Fleischer is dedicated to creating the best-in-class products out there – but 12 years ago, the stevia plant was a little known alternative to processed sugar. Here’s how Pyure Organic got its start.
From a young age, Ben was exposed to some of the ways in which sugar can impact our health. One of Ben’s childhood friends had diabetes, losing his battle with the disease later in life, and Ben witnessed the limitations to what food he could consume. It made a lasting impression on him, and as he carried on through life, Ben’s got his feet wet developing low-carbohydrate, low-sugar products for the Atkins diet. Ben was drawn to entrepreneurism fresh out of college, starting his career by founding a commodities company.
Ben is someone who’s personally been very invested in living a healthy lifestyle. He’s an avid snowboarder, yogi, and all-around athlete. To fuel his training, Ben first turned to Red Bull for an extra boost in energy. Red Bull has a ton of sugar, though, as do many other sports drinks. That led to Ben’s “a-ha” moment: Could he create an all-natural, sugar-free alternative to highly caffeinated, sugary sports drinks?
Ben started formulating this natural, sugar-free energy boost alternative. At the time, the only alternative he could find was chemicals and artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. He stumbled across the stevia plant, a highly sustainable plant that is part of the sunflower family. This plant steered him down the path of changing the entire sugar category. However, at the time, stevia was not FDA-approved and had a horrible, bitter aftertaste.
From there, Ben realized that if he could figure out a way to make this plant taste like sugar, he could change not only the way manufacturers produce food, but also create good-tasting, sugar-free and sugar-reduced products for health-conscious consumers like himself, along with diabetics who have limitations with what they can consume.
From Discovery to Harvest: Learning about the Stevia Plant
Ben’s journey took him on a quest; he traveled around the world in search of the best-tasting species of stevia plant. His mission was to find a way to make stevia taste like sugar, and he focused on finding the best species of the plant as well as the best extraction methods to hone in on the sweet compounds of the plant and eliminate the bitter parts.
Then, Ben started from his parent’s basement developing what would eventually turn into Pyure Organic – with less than $250,000 of his own money. It was a grind. Ben remembers working 16-hour days, seven days a week, to get the company off the ground with zero money from investors. He was racing the clock: multi-billion dollar artificial sugar goliaths were also working on their own stevia products. Ben spent the better part of three years meeting with supermarkets to try to convince them that the stevia plant was the way of the future. The response was lackluster. “They’d ask me, ‘Who is Steve and why do I care?’” recalls Ben.
Refusing to compromise his standards, Ben persisted on his own. He was focused, driven, and intent on creating the best tasting quality – and the results speak for themselves.
The Pyure Organic Standard
Ben stayed true to his mission to create the best-tasting, high-quality, sugar-free options on the market, and that has made all the difference.
Consumer education around the stevia plant has grown exponentially over the last 12 years. Today, the stevia plant makes up a third of all low/no-calorie sweetener sales, and stevia makes up 80% of all naturally sweetened sweetener sales. Pyure Organic has become the number one organic stevia brand in the country and category leader by staying true to what we are – and consumers can taste the difference. Pyure Organic has isolated only the sweetest part of the stevia plant, leveraging this technology to create a line of sugar-free sweeteners, baking mixes, spreads, dessert syrups, and breakfast syrups.
Our team has grown as well – and we are working to create a Pyure lifestyle, with organic and non-GMO sugar-free and reduced-sugar foods in multiple categories. We’re passionate about providing the best better-for-you alternatives for diabetics and health-conscious consumers.
You can find Pyure Organic products on Amazon or in a store near you by using our store locator tool. Check out Sweet Talk for more resources and recipes, and to read future installments about our brand’s story.