But what a nice voyage it's been...
A fun fact for all you Warren Buffett fans: Since purchasing in 1988, Warren Buffett has made a total return of somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,490% on this stock. Not bad. But annualized, that's only about 14%. That's certainly nothing to sneeze at, but I think current investors can do better.
I'm not saying this stock will gain 2,500% (I wish), but it does have serious growth potential. In fact, I think it has the potential to turn the entire $216 billion soft drink industry on its head. (And, this time, I'm not talking about SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA), which I profiled in my original "Forget Coca-Cola" article.)
I'm talking about Stevia Corp. (OTC: STEV).
I've written about this tiny stock in my Game-Changing Stocks newsletter a few times in the past, but just to get everyone up to speed, here's the skinny...
Stevia (the plant) is a member of the sunflower family that's grown in subtropical and tropical climates. Its leaves are 30-45 times sweeter than sugar, and special compounds within the plant called steviol glycosides are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. A Japanese company, Morita Kagata Kogyo, manufactured the first commercial stevia sweetener in 1971, and today, stevia (which sweetens Japanese Coke) accounts for 40% of the overall sweetener market there.
Many people (including myself) think stevia will soon have a wider role in significantly displacing sugar in the United States as well. After all, reducing sugar-calorie content with an all-natural substitute while maintaining flavor is a dream come true for food companies.
Stevia Corp.'s goal is to become the go-to partner for stevia farmers all over the world, and to produce some of the stevia itself, which it cultivates in Vietnam.
That brings us to today.
The company has just done a very smart thing. I will be honest, it kind of caught me by surprise. But after I saw how well the company was executing the idea, it really made me sit up and take notice.
In every company, the CEO or company president has the potential to serve as the company's goodwill ambassador, be it to policymakers, regulators, customers, the public or investors. And George Blankenbaker, Stevia Corp.'s president, is doing just that. He's publicly outlining his company's efforts to commercialize stevia, which begin in earnest in May. He's talking about what the plant is, how the product is used, and how it will completely transform the food industry in true Game-Changer style.
Stevia Corp. is continuing its impressive efforts to commercialize its key product, which is disrupting the international market for sweeteners. I've recommended the company to my Game-Changing Stocks readers previously, and my opinion, nothing about its bright future has diminished. Shares are still attractively priced -- and very few companies have, in my view, the growth potential that Stevia Corp. does.
Risks to Consider: First off, know that this is a micro-cap stock that trades over-the-counter. If you're not comfortable with taking a flier on these shares -- and the volatility that comes with it -- then you should look elsewhere. That said, I think there's a solid chance that investors who are willing to take a little "play money" and devote it to this stock will not be disappointed.
Action to Take --> I'm going to wait until the company has released all three parts to Blankenbaker's release, and then I will bring my Game-Changing Stocks readers the highlights. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you think seriously about establishing a modest position as part of your aggressive growth portfolio. Stay tuned... I think this one is going to be big.