If you come to Harvest Market with supplement questions, chances are, you’ve met Rick Martel. Our supplement buyer and all-round holistic brainiac recently toured NOW Foods’ facility in Chicago, IL. He is back to report even more confidence in the company than he expected. Rick and Bob will be on hand Monday, June 25, 7-9 pm for a free discussion on Responsible Supplementation. Read on to learn how we can back that up:
“Recent travels afforded me the opportunity to visit and tour the facilities of NOW Foods, a company that, in all honesty, I have been somewhat biased against for years. My prejudice stemmed largely from NOW’s image: blandly labeled orange bottles, noticeable but not terribly distinguishable amongst themselves. This ‘generic’ image, however, betrays the toils of a company that built its foundation on quality and ethics that are in contrast to any judgment resulting from its lackluster packaging scheme.
“NOW Foods differ from an increasing number of companies in the natural foods and supplements industry as their core values are predicated around social and environmental responsibility. They foster programs such as the ‘Vitamin Angels Alliance’, a partnership that provides safe and effective vitamin A supplements to impoverished nations, impacting child mortality and blindness profoundly. Additionally, they are active supporters of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of our nation’s most effective advocates for environmental justice and sustainable energy solutions.
“A frequent qualm I hear expressed about the NOW brand from our customers is whether or not their products can be of respectable quality when their prices are on average only 2/3 that of competitors. The assumption seems to be that these lower prices reflect cut corners pertaining to the quality of the materials the company uses. In reality, NOW manages their costs by reducing expenses that they deem low-priority.
“Unlike the average comparably ‘successful’ supplement company, NOW Foods spends far less money on advertising, and much of the advertising they run is strictly online, which is considerably more economical than buying physical ad space. The company also employs as few sales representatives as possible, having opted instead to create “NOW University”, a valuable educational tool that provides numerous free nutritional education courses to consumers and retailers from their company website. These strategies save NOW Foods considerable dollars, which they pass on to the consumer in the form of lower prices.
“The quality of the materials used in NOW supplements meet surprisingly high standards. Many supplement companies cannot afford to test their own materials and must resort to third-party testing facilities, which have a reputation for being inconsistent and sometimes unreliable. NOW owns their own laboratory, fully staffed and supplied with everything they need to verify the quality of the raw materials they utilize. The level of scrutiny they typically exhibit has become renown in the industry, as they often refuse materials that do not meet their high standards. An added benefit of in-house testing is that they are able to design and carry out their own studies to measure the safety and efficacy of their products.
“As for the tour itself, I certainly didn’t expect to be disappointed- I mean, why would a business invite me to investigate their facility if it was a slobbish disaster? At any rate, the place was in tip-top shape from hull to sternum. I noticed nary a rat, bat, cat, stray hat, stain, employees missing fingers, fingers missing employees, dirt, or frowns. Nothin’. Hell, they wouldn’t even let me enter the facility until I put on a beard guard… And have you seen my beard? It’s pathetic! So yeah, place was clean, workers looked happy and well-fed. There weren’t really any rugs to hide secrets under. Just lots of plaques for awards the company has earned for its endless ethical efforts. Good news for us, since we carry like ¾ of their product line. Phew.
“Ooh, and rumor has it they’re going to be making their bottle prettier sometime later this year. Still orange, I’d bet, but… Prettier.”