StemFoods Review: Stem Vida gets a reboot after divorce?
StemFoods began life as Stem Vida back in 2012. The company is based out of Ontario in the US state of California.
From what I can make out Stem Vida was renamed to StemFoods, following the divorce of owner and CEO Victor Chavez.
Word on the grapevine is Chavez’s ex-wife, Susana Manzanares, now owns the company following the divorce. Victor Chavez doesn’t appear to be involved.
The StemFoods website identifies Manzanares (right) as CEO and “one of the founders” of the company. Who the other founders are is not disclosed.
As far as I can tell Stem Vida was Manzanares’ first MLM venture. Today the Stem Vida website redirects to that of StemFoods.
Read on for a full review of the StemFoods MLM opportunity.
StemFoods market a nutritional supplement product line that they claim ‘activate(s) and nourish(es) stem cells.’
The company claims healthy stem cells ‘are capable of regenerating‘ kidneys, the brain, pancreas, heart, bones and the liver.
- Stem Alive – a dietary supplement that “helps stimulate the release, activity and proliferation of stem cells”, retails at 37 for a bottle of 90 capsules
- Stem Liver – helps the liver filter out common environmental pollutants, additives, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics in our food, as well as chemicals”, retails at $39.95 for a bottle of 30 capsules
- Stem Reduce – “promotes healthy weight”, retails at $39.95 for a bottle of 120 capsules
- Stem Intense – encourages your skin’s natural production of protein”, retails at $39.95 for a 50 ml tub
- Stem Moist – a “moisturizes and protects your skin”, retails for $25.95 for a 30 ml tub
It’s worth noting that none of StemFoods products contain actual stem cells. Also none of the claims the company makes about its products have FDA approval.
The StemFoods Compensation Plan
The StemFoods compensation plan separates retail volume from downline affiliate purchases, with both paid out via a unilevel team.
Recruitment commissions are also on offer, as well as several performance-based bonuses.
StemFoods Affiliate Ranks
There are seven affiliate ranks within the StemFoods compensation plan (not to be confused with classes).
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Qualified Associate – sign up as a StemFoods affiliate and maintain 100 PV a month
- Citrine – have a downline generating at least 1500 GV a month (max 800 from any one unilevel leg)
- Emerald – have a downline generating at least 3000 GV a month (max 1500 GV from any one unilevel leg), 1500 GV of which must be autoship volume
- Ruby – have a downline generating at least 10,000 GV a month (max 5000 GV from any one unilevel leg), 5000 GV o which must be autoship volume and recruit and maintain at least three Emerald or higher ranked affiliates
- Diamond – have a downline generating at least 46,200 GV a month (max 23,100 GV from any one unilevel leg), 23,100 GV of which must be autoship volume and recruit and maintain at least six Emerald or higher ranked affiliates
- Double Diamond – have a downline generating at least 96,250 GV a month (max 48,125 GV from any one unilevel leg), 48,125 GV o which must be autoship volume and recruit and maintain at least twelve Emerald and one Diamond or higher ranked affiliates
- Triple Diamond – have a downline generating at least 385,000 GV a month (max 231,500 GV from any one unilevel leg), 231,500 GV o which must be autoship volume and recruit and maintain at least eighteen Emerald and two Diamond or higher ranked affiliates
Note the 100 PV a month qualification for Qualified Associates applies to all StemFoods affiliate ranks.
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by retail orders and a StemFoods affiliate’s own purchase of product.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is PV generated by a StemFoods affiliate’s downline (directly and indirectly recruited affiliates).
When a StemFoods affiliate signs up, their product order generates business volume (BV).
This volume assigns the affiliate a class:
- Personal ranked affiliates purchase up to 100 BV in product
- Elite ranked affiliates purchase up to 250 BV in product
- Premium ranked affiliates purchase up to 400 BV in product
Affiliates who purchase less than 100 BV when they sign up aren’t allocated a class.
When a new affiliate signs up and places their order, the affiliate who recruited them is paid a recruitment commission based on their class and how much BV is generated.
This commission is paid out both directly and residually via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
StemFoods cap payable unilevel levels at three, with recruitment commissions paid out as follows:
- when an unranked affiliate is recruited (less than 100 BV) Personal and Elite affiliates are paid 30%, Premium affiliates are paid 30% on level 1 and 5% on levels 2 and 3
- when a new Personal affiliate is recruited Personal and Elite affiliates are paid 32% on level 1 (their personal recruits), Premium affiliates are paid 35% on level 1 and 5% on levels 2 and 3
- when a new Elite affiliate is recruited Personal and Elite affiliates are paid 33% on level 1, Premium affiliates are paid 45% on level 1 and 5% on levels 2 and 2
- when a new Premium affiliate is recruited Personal and Elite affiliates are paid 35% on level 1 and 5% on level 2, Premium affiliates are paid 50% on level 1 and 5% on levels 2 and 3
If a new StemFoods affiliate purchases 1200 BV worth of product, they are designated a “Premium Deep” class.
Premium Deep affiliates earn an additional 5% on BV generated by affiliate recruitment.
The StemFoods compensation plan states that this additional 5% is paid until a “capped level”, without defining what a “capped level” actually is.
Residual commissions in StemFoods are paid out via the same unilevel compensation structure as recruitment commissions.
For downline volume of 100 BV or less (per downline affiliate), residual commissions are paid out as follows:
- Qualified Associate – 5% on level 1 and 10 on level 2
- Citrine – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 15% on level 3
- Emerald – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 15% on levels 3 and 4
- Ruby – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 20% on levels 3 and 4
- Diamond – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 25% on levels 3 and 4
- Double Diamond – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 30% on levels 3 and 4
- Triple Diamond – 5% on level 1, 10% on level 2 and 32% on levels 3 and 4
Volume over 100 BV generated by downline affiliates is paid out as follows:
- Qualified Associate to Emerald – 30% on level 1 and 15% on level 2
- Ruby – 30% on level 1 and 20% on level 2
- Diamond – 30% on level 1 and 25% on level 2
- Double Diamond – 30% on levels 1 and 2
- Triple Diamond – 30% on level 1 and 32% on level 2
For some reason retail customer volume over 100 BV is segregated and paid out separately:
- Qualified Associate – 30% on level 1 and 15% on level 2
- Citrine and higher – 30% on level 1 and 15% on levels 2 and 3
StemFoods pay a Generation Bonus on up to three generations of Diamond ranked affiliates.
Generations are defined uniquely in each unilevel leg, with the first capped off when a Diamond or higher ranked affiliate is found in the leg.
The second generation then begins and is capped off only if another Diamond or higher ranked affiliate is found in the leg.
If no such affiliate exists, the second generation runs the full length of the leg.
Using this generational structure, StemFoods affiliates can earn a Generation Bonus on up to three generations per unilevel leg:
- Diamond affiliates earn a 2% Generation Bonus on up to one generation per unilevel leg
- Double Diamond affiliates earn a 2% Generation Bonus on up to two generations per unilevel leg
- Triple Diamond affiliates earn a 2% Generation Bonus on the first two generations and 3% on the third per unilevel leg
Rank Achievement Bonus
Rank Achievement Bonuses in StemFoods are paid out monthly for as long as an affiliate qualifies at the Citrine or higher ranks:
- Citrine affiliates receive $100 a month
- Emerald affiliates receive $200 a month
- Ruby affiliates receive $500 a month
- Diamond affiliates receive $2250 a month
- Double Diamond affiliates receive $4000 a month
- Triple Diamond affiliates receive $7500 a month
Triple Diamond affiliates receive a bonus $50,000 the first month they qualify and $5000 per month for each month they continue to qualify as a Triple Diamond.
This bonus is paid out over a maximum 24 months (if an affiliate fails to qualify for successive months within this period they lose the additional five month bonus).
When a StemFoods affiliate’s personally recruited downline qualifies at the Emerald and higher ranks, the following one-time bonuses are paid out:
- downline Emerald affiliate – $200
- downline Ruby affiliate – $500
- downline Diamond affiliate – $750
- downline Double Diamond affiliate – $1000
- downline Triple Diamond affiliate – $2500
StemFoods take 12% of company-wide sales revenue each month and place it into five affiliate rank-based bonus pools.
StemFoods affiliates can qualify for a monthly share in one of the pools, based on their corresponding affiliate rank:
- Emerald ranked affiliates receive a share in a 1% bonus pool
- Ruby ranked affiliates receive a share in a 2% bonus pool
- Diamond ranked affiliates receive a share in a 2% bonus pool
- Double Diamond ranked affiliates receive a share in a 3% bonus pool
- Triple Diamond ranked affiliates receive a share in a 4% bonus pool
StemFoods affiliate membership costs $148 to $612.65:
- Personal Start Package – $148
- Personal Start Combo – $153.90
- Premium Combo 4 – $557.25
- Premium Combo 4 (there are two “Premium Combo 4” packages) – $579.60
- Premium Package – $592
- Premium Combo 3 – $612.65
The primary difference between the packages are bundled products and income potential through the StemFoods compensation plan.
As I type this, the “terms and conditions” on the StemFoods website are the 2014 Stem Vida terms and conditions. Product depictions on the StemFoods website are also still branded “Stem Vida”.
Divorces are messy sure, but I’m not sure why Stem Vida couldn’t just continue on under the same name. It’s pretty obvious that it’s pretty much the same company, albeit with a different compensation plan.
With respect to StemFoods’ product line, it’s a bit hard to take them seriously without FDA approval.
We’re not talking about broad wellness claims, StemFoods are representing their products can assist in the regeneration of critical organs.
StemVida launched in 2012, so the company has had plenty of time to organize independent lab tests and/or sort out what needs to be sorted with the FDA. That they haven’t should not be taken lightly.
Then there’s the price of the products. The recommended dosage for Stem Alive is 3 to 12 capsules a day.
StemFoods provide no guidelines on whether someone should be taking 3, 12 or anything in between Stem Alive capsules daily.
Price-wise though 12 capsules a day will run you four bottles of Stem Alive a month, as opposed to 3 a day requiring just one. That’s literally four times the price, with again no specific guidance on just how much Stem Alive should be taken a day.
To me that reeks of something you take “just in case”, rather than a product that has a scientifically measurable impact on one’s health.
Moving onto StemFoods’ compensation plan, affiliates to generate 100 PV a month to qualify for MLM commissions. This PV can be an affiliate’s own purchase or that of retail customers.
To that end the company is pretty adamant that affiliates buy StemFoods products regularly.
If you are interested in becoming a Distributor, your first step is to become a preferred customer.
We want you to try our products and fall in love with them, before making the committment [sic] to become a Distributor.
I have nothing against “being a product of the product” marketing, however in MLM it can’t come at the expense of retail sales.
Problems with StemFoods’ compensation plan begin with the affiliate packages and recruitment commissions.
Here you have “pay to play” and chain-recruitment clearly used to compensate affiliates.
How much a StemFoods affiliate spends when they sign up directly impacts how much they get paid to recruit others who sign up.
The Stem Vida Terms and Conditions provided blabs on about “ultimate consumers”;
Independent Sales Representative understands that he/she is not compensated for sponsoring other Independent Sales Representatives but earns compensation solely on the sale of products and/or services to ultimate consumers.
But when you’re paying a commission through which 100% of the sales volume is tied to affiliate recruitment, any merit the ultimate users argument might have goes out the window.
Retail customers can’t buy affiliate packages, so the whole “class commissions” tied to how much a StemFoods affiliate spends when they sign up is clearly a recruitment-based commission.
In MLM any type of recruitment commission is a good indication of a pyramid scheme.
Furthermore StemFoods affiliates are forced to purchase products when they sign up. There is no product-free option presented on the StemFoods affiliate sign up page.
Forcing your affiliates to purchase product when they sign up, regardless of whether you want them to be a product of the product or not, is another MLM compliance no-no.
Getting back to the monthly 100 PV requirement, ideally this should come from retail sales.
StemFoods themselves don’t appear to think that’s likely, with the compensation plan outright assuming an affiliate will purchase 100 PV or more of product each month.
The StemFoods compensation plan states that “surplus” sales volume is
created when distributor purchases more than 100 points during the month period.
The StemFoods compensation plan has no retail volume requirements, meaning an affiliate can sign up, jump on 100 PV a month autoship and simply get paid for recruiting others who do the same (who recruit others who do the same and so on).
Earlier in this conclusion I mentioned having no problems with “being a product of the product” marketing.
Just so I’ve covered all my bases and allowed for this, what you first want to do as a prospective StemFoods affiliate is establish where your potential upline’s 100 PV a month is coming from.
If it’s from retail sales (ask to see receipts), then great! Other than the initial recruitment commission paid out, that StemFoods affiliate isn’t getting paid on recruitment.
If the affiliate has a standing 100 PV a month autoship order, what you also want to see then is at least 100 PV of matching retail order (again, ask to see receipts).
Affiliate consumption in MLM is perfectly fine, so long as it is being matched (or preferably exceeded) with retail sales volume.
Personally I just don’t see this happening though with such a heavy emphasis on a recruited affiliate’s first order.