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Nutrition for Optimal Wellness

El Richard, Founder & Board Member

El RichardElwood Richard founded NOW Foods in 1968 and successfully guided the company as president until his retirement in 2005.

Trained as a chemist and expecting his career to be in the world of science, El Richard's life took a different turn when he and his brothers inherited the family business, Fearn Soya Foods. His experience as a businessman in charge of Fearn Soya and a scientist who was extremely interested in health helped El when he went out on his own and began NOW Foods.

El had already established a successful health food store and was trying to figure out ways to supply health retailers with food items that could compete in cost with grocery stores. NOW Foods was formed to purchase healthy foods and supplements in bulk quantities while maintaining low overhead. This was primarily helpful to Elwood's own stores, but soon other health food stores saw the value in purchasing from NOW.

Although value is a primary concern in the NOW philosophy, Elwood never cut corners at the expense of quality. NOW has a sophisticated lab and several PhD.'s on staff because El has never been satisfied with basic levels of quality and research. Elwood has always been an advocate for standards in the health industry and as soon as Good Manufacturing Practices were established by the NNFA, NOW received the highest rating a company can achieve.

Even though El has retired he remains involved with NOW and the health food industry. He continues to stress value and quality at NOW and preaches a healthy lifestyle to all who will listen. Now in his seventies El is still very active. He rides his bike in the warmer months and plays basketball in the winter. He is an inspiration to many to lead a healthy life.



Elwood Richard is a physical chemist with a background in precision calorimetry, radiochemistry and free radicals.

1949 - 1953 Monmouth College, B.S. in Chemistry
1954 - 1956 Indiana University, coursework toward graduate degree in Physical Chemistry / Biochemistry
1962 - 1963 Roosevelt University, coursework in Biochemistry



  • Co-founded NPA Standards Committee with brother Lou Richard
  • Founded NOW® Foods and Fruitful Yield Corporation
  • Co-founded Natural Health Research Institute
  • Board member of Citizens for Health, 2004-2008



  • Evaluation of food additives for standards committee
  • Antioxidant scale based on Eo values
  • The effect of protein supplementation on performance of distance runners
  • Method to replace gluten in allergy baking
  • Effect of very low O2 levels on food stability
  • Diffusion of oxygen through thin films
  • Method to create very low residual O2 levels in food packaging



  • Developed citric acid method used in sprouting to reduce spoilage
  • First-aid salve for rapid healing
  • Herbal tea combinations
  • Recipes - vegetarian, soybean, confections
  • Coffee substitutes
  • Athletic supplements
  • Powdered vitamins in doses per shaker
  • Allergy Baking Mix



1957 - 1960, Nuclear Chicago Corporation, Associate Physicist

1960 - 1972, Fearn Soya Foods, President

1963 - 2004, Fruitful Yield, President

1968 - 2004, NOW Foods, President 



"We should first attempt to fill legitimate nutritional needs. After we do this, reasonable compensation will follow."


"Research will continue to show that natural health is the safest and most effective way. Synthetic nutrition will be more prevalent and remain driven by economic incentives, but will ultimately bring more problems."