Svetia® stevia leaf extract is the result of years of work, research and innovation done by METCO®, a sweet company founded by Héctor Álvarez de la Cadena. Héctor is the entrepreneur who at 50 become unemployed after a successful career in government. As many, he found it difficult to find a job and took control of his destiny by starting METCO®.
Like many entrepreneurs, a combination of financial need and passion for all sugar and all sweet low or zero calories were the main reason for Mr. Álvarez de la Cadena to pursue a start-up. Hector sold his car, mortgaged his house and leaned on his son and his former secretary, to create METCO® in 1990. At the beginning, Héctor began packing and selling sugar in 1-kilo bags. This simple packaging idea was innovative as sugar was sold by the gram out of 50-kilo bags or tubs at supermarkets.
Héctor soon was impacted by the “ups and downs” of commodity prices. He sought out a scientist at one of Mexico’s prestigious university to find a way to make a different kind of sugar. He was intrigued by the gradual in-roads that low calorie sweeteners were making in the market and motivated to come up with a healthier sweetening option. Héctor traveled to Paraguay and discovered the stevia plant leading him to research and develop applications. Thus, the co-crystalized blend of cane sugar and svetia extract was born even before the FDA had approved the use of purified stevia in the USA. He switched Stevia for other artificial sweeteners and obtained a patent for his low calorie, same sweetness sugar co-crystalized blend, AzúcarBC®, which translates into Sugar LoCal. In 2008, the FDA approved the use of purified Stevia. Héctor and his team were ready. METCO® was the first to have a stevia branded zero calorie sweetener in the local marketplace, Svetia®.
Héctor believes that “entrepreneurship is the act of finding a different and improved way of doing things”. He and his team continue to invest time and resources in new product development derived from sugarcane, Stevia extract and other natural sources of sweetness that have low calories. The objective is to develop and market natural high-intensity sweeteners and sweetening applications that enhance the sweetness, drastically reduce calorie intake and have the great taste of sugarcane.
Héctor is fond of saying: “when an entrepreneur is confident, he or she loses fear of failure; the entrepreneur is a keen observer and knows that his idea will serve an unmet need. The realization of the entrepreneur’s idea may give way to some invention that improves the quality of life of many. This is the turning point when a human being leaves a footprint in society. This is what drives an entrepreneur’s passion”. Today, Héctor is passionate and purposeful in motivating the more than 200 METCO® associates and making consumer lives sweeter and healthier.