NOW: About Us
In 1948, with the natural food and supplement industry in its infancy, entrepreneur Paul Richard paid $900 for the purchase of Fearn Soya Foods—a Chicago based manufacturer of grain and legume-based products. This began a six-decade legacy of providing health-seeking consumers with high-quality, affordable nutrition products.
Paul nurtured his fledgling business until 1960 when his son, Elwood Richard, inherited part ownership in Fearn Soya. Elwood adopted his father's ideals on health and wellness, including his vision of making quality supplements and natural foods available to the public at affordable prices. Elwood opened the first of the many Fruitful Yield retail stores, which are now in the Chicago area and devoted to natural products. As time passed, both Fearn-Soya and the company's retail chain grew and prospered under Elwood's leadership.
As the industry continued to evolve, Elwood was surprised to find Fearn products in a local supermarket sold at prices lower than his own store. He realized that he must change his business strategy to compete with the larger retail chains. Elwood vowed that high prices would never again drive customers from health food stores. It was time for a health food store committed to courteous service, in-depth knowledge of natural products, and better nutritional value at affordable prices.
Elwood began manufacturing his own supplements to increase savings that he could then pass along to the consumer. These products were labeled under the NOW® brand, which today stands for Nutrition for Optimal Wellness. NOW's values define the original vision of Paul Richard, and hold true to this day. This commitment is reflected in NOW's mission; to provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives.
From these humble beginnings, NOW has grown from a budding regional brand, to one of the most successful and respected manufacturers within the Natural Products Industry. Today, NOW manufacturers and distributes over 1,600 products, including nutritional supplements, natural foods, sports nutrition, personal care, herbal extracts, essential oils, natural sweeteners, literature, and retail supplies.
NOW is, and always has been, loyal to the health channel. In this vast, highly competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever that quality nutritional products be sold by those with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of natural vitamins, herbs, and functional foods. Retailers, health practitioners, and their staff are knowledgeable about dietary supplements and have the resources to offer personalized service to help consumers realize health through supplementation. Their genuine concern for health and well-being closely mirrors our own, and this mutual vision has been vital in the relationships that we have established over the years.
At NOW® Foods, we remain committed to our original goal—to produce the highest quality nutritional, herbal, and body care products at prices that people of all incomes can afford. We do this by sourcing raw materials directly from the manufacturer, thereby relying less on brokers and distributors, and avoiding costly television and radio advertising. We employ a small outside sales force compared to our competitors. Instead, we rely on practical, cost-effective marketing methods, such as mail promotions and telephone sales. Our high-volume business has allowed us to build strong, ongoing ties with some of the best raw material producers in the industry. These savings are passed on to our customers in every product we manufacture.
On occasion, our industry colleagues have questioned our ability to offer high quality products at low prices. In retrospect, the question should not be, "Why does NOW charge so little?" but rather, "Why are others charging so much" NOW has always understood the value of making smart purchasing decisions, and we practice this on a daily basis. For example, NOW manufactures a number of products that utilize Registered® and Trademarked™ ingredients from the industry's most trusted companies. The majority of our competitors, however, choose to charge more for the same, identical product. Volume and direct purchasing, well-established vendor relations, smart marketing and sales management, and cost-effective operating practices all contribute to our ability to offer exceptional quality at prices that are well below many of our competitors.
NOW® Foods continues to explore new ways to offer low prices, while implementing measures that improve the quality of our products. Our 209,000 square foot facility contains three in-house laboratories, a state-of-the-art inventory system, and an ecologically conscious climate control system. It is regarded as one of the industry's most technologically-advanced, and our Pick-to-Light order fulfillment system has been studied by Fortune 500 companies looking to improve upon their own operations. We continue to expand our production capabilities and manufacture the majority of our products in-house. This has resulted in productivity improvements, and increased Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
While NOW product quality is the result of a collective company-wide effort, it is within the walls of our laboratories where NOW product quality is truly manifested. In short, we are incredibly passionate about product quality and testing. We have 38 employees in Quality Control, Quality Assurance, Microbiology, and Methods Development. Our analytical lab has 8 High Performance Liquid Chromatography units (HPLC(, a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), Ultraviolet/Visible Spectrometer (UV-VIS), Gas Chromatography (GC), Near Infrared (NIR), High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC), and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS).
Our ongoing investment in analytical technology and talented minds has provided the foundation for a number of acclaimed accomplishments within the natural products industry, as well as the scientific community. In 2006, our scientists were credited for developing the official AOAC method for the testing of Glucosamine. We are currently developing methods for Chondroitin, SAMe, MSM, L-Arginine, MSM, and Creatine. NOW recently purchased its first ICP-MS analytical instrument—the most advanced heavy metal detection unit available today. As technology improves, NOW will continue to invest in these advancements in order to bring you products of unparalleled quality.
Consumers have come to trust the NOW® brand as one of consistent quality, safety, and effectiveness. They have shown their approval and support by helping us become one of the leading natural dietary supplement manufacturers in America. Our line has won a multitude of awards, our founder and employees have been recognized for their efforts in support of the Natural Products industry, and our commitment to improving our environment has inspired scores of others to make a difference. Looking forward, we will never lose sight of Elwood Richard's original vision, and will continue to make high quality products available for a fair price. NOW is honored and grateful to be a part of your good health.