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March 4, 2012

Wholesome Sweeteners Launches World’s First Fair Trade Certified Organic Agave

Sugar Land, TX (March 04, 2012) – In the shadow of the Sanganguey Volcano, located on Mexico’s West Coast and within the lush hills of the Tepic countryside, farmers work hard to cultivate their agave crop in hopes of selling their harvest for enough money to support their families. Now, because of Wholesome Sweeteners, the farmers of the Integradora Otilio Montaño Cooperative will have that opportunity. After more than two years of working closely with the Fair Trade movement and small farmer cooperatives in Mexico, Wholesome Sweeteners is excited to launch the World’s FIRST Fair Trade Certified Organic Agave Syrup. Ethical sourcing through Fair Trade is a core value to Wholesome Sweeteners. Our long term vision of bringing Fair Trade Agave to the United States is finally coming to fruition.

“We have seen such a positive impact on our Fair Trade cooperative communities in Malawi, Paraguay, and Brazil that we wanted to give the agaveros of Mexico the same opportunity to build thriving communities,” says VP of Marketing and Company Co-Founder, Pauline McKee. “It was important to us that small farming cooperatives growing agave had an alternative to selling their crop below market value.” The timing of this new Fair Trade Agave is perfect not only for the success of the cooperative, but addresses the growing demand for natural sweeteners in the United States. Agave syrup is a low-glycemic sweetener that is slowly absorbed by the body, preventing blood sugar spikes.

When the popularity of tequila hit an all-time high, many Mexican farmers hoped to profit by planting agave and selling their harvest to multi-national beverage companies who produce the tequila. Unfortunately, many other farmers had the same idea. Soon there was a surplus of agave and the beverage companies were paying less than $.02 per pound. At that price there was no way farmers could sustain their farms, let alone support their families. Now, Wholesome Sweeteners is providing farmers a viable economic incentive to protect their communities, their traditions, and their environment.

As a Fair Trade Certified cooperative, the farmers of the Integradora Otilio Montaño Cooperative will not only receive a fair price for their crop but also a set social premium per pound of agave that Wholesome! purchases. The cooperative farmers will also enjoy safe working conditions and earn the living wage they so desperately need and deserve.

The social premiums the cooperative receives are paid above and beyond the price paid for their agave harvest. The social premiums must be democratically spent by the cooperative for projects that benefit the entire community. With these funds, the 130 members of the Integradora Otilio Montaño Cooperative will be able to provide their families with healthcare, send their children to school, purchase land, and expand their sustainable farming practices.

Located in Mexico, in the center of the state of Nayarit, Tepic serves as the capital. From a bustling city center, life begins to slow down as you make your way to the mountainous countryside. The landscape is filled with fields of wheat, coffee, cotton, and of course agave. The hard-working people of this region depend on agriculture for survival. The beautiful locale of Tepic and the surrounding small villages like Santa Maria De Oro, home to the picturesque Laguna de Santa Maria, provide the ideal growing conditions for the agave plant. The arid conditions along with the volcanic, clay-like, soil allow the agave plant to flourish.

This new partnership between Wholesome Sweeteners and the Integradora Otilio Montaño Cooperative will allow consumers to purchase the ONLY Fair Trade Organic Agave Syrup on the market. More importantly, it will allow consumers to vote with their dollars making it clear that they care about the people producing their products. By purchasing Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Agave Syrup, consumers show that they care about organics, non-genetically modified products (non-GMOs) and want a cleaner future for themselves and their families.

As awareness of Fair Trade products and their benefits grows, Wholesome Sweeteners will continue to educate customers and champion the rights of farmers in developing countries. With Fair Trade products, customers can be sure that every purchase they make really does make a difference, and helps make the world a sweeter place, one spoonful at a time.

Wholesome SweetenersFair Trade Organic Agave Syrup will be available in light and raw varieties. Fair Trade Organic Raw Agave is a low-glycemic, rich amber syrup. It is produced at a low temperature and lightly filtered to create a full, natural flavor. The amber syrup has a distinct and delicious flavor that genuinely enhances foods’ natural sweetness. Fair Trade Organic Raw Agave is a perfect everyday sweetener for everyone, including raw food enthusiasts, vegans, and those following a gluten-free diet. Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Light Agave is a bright, sweet, low-glycemic syrup that can be used as a one for one replacement for conventional sugar. Because Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Light Agave is a low-glycemic, it is absorbed slowly by the body, preventing spikes in blood sugar. Fair Trade Organic Light Agave is a perfect everyday sweetener for everyone, including vegetarians, vegans, and those following a gluten-free diet.

Wholesome SweetenersFair Trade Organic Agave Syrup will be available in 11.75 oz., 23.5oz., and 44 oz. retail sizes, in both light and raw varieties. The NEW Fair Certified Organic Agave Syrups will arrive in stores early SUMMER 2012.

Wholesome Sweeteners also offers Organic Blue Agave in popular flavors like Cinnamon, Maple, Vanilla, and Strawberry, perfect for pouring onto your pancakes, waffles, french toast, and into oatmeal and beverages. Organic Blue Agave is now available in 11.75 oz. bottles in supermarkets and health food stores across the United States.

For a first-hand view of how Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Agave is made, check out our video on the Wholesome Sweeteners YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com

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