“At NOW® Foods, we take Natural seriously. This is our life, this is our expertise, and this is our business. This is our commitment to you.”
- Michael Lelah, Ph.D. - NOW® Foods Technical Director
You’re looking for natural products – truly natural products.
And maybe you’re feeling a little frustrated. It’s not easy to find products you can confirm are natural. Maybe you’re even confused about what is natural . . .
- Labels aren’t always helpful since just about anyone can splash “100% natural” on it.
- Manufacturers can claim their products are natural even if they aren’t. “Natural” products can contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or high fructose corn syrup. Because there’s no legal definition of natural.
That’s why it’s so important to look deeper into the manufacturer’s commitment to natural.
At NOW®, we firmly believe that natural products are safer and more effective than products made with ingredients not found in nature. Natural has been the cornerstone of our company since our beginning in 1968.
NOW®’s founder - chemist Elwood Richard - understood the dangers posed by synthetic ingredients decades ago. He knew that true health and wellness begins with natural products. He was determined to find a way to make high quality, affordable natural products available to everyone.
Admittedly, there are a few challenges to making natural products:
- Natural ingredients are, by nature, variable. This makes it hard to be consistent in color and texture. Find out more about how ingredient variations can affect the products you buy.
- Natural ingredients are sometimes hard to source. Because of weather, seasonality and environmental concerns, it’s not always easy to get the right ingredient when you need it. You can find out more about our ingredient sourcing here.
- Natural ingredients require careful management when it comes to storage and manufacturing. They can spoil or go stale. We have to be careful to keep our warehouses within temperature ranges and humidity levels that help us maintain the quality of our natural ingredients.
Despite the challenges, we believe natural is best.
How NOW Strives to Ensure Our Products Are Natural
To make sure our products meet our definition of natural, we stick with the following steps in developing and manufacturing our products:
We are guided by our definition of natural which includes the list of ingredients we choose to use and the list of ingredients we choose not to use. We are committed to providing more non-GMO and organic products which meet our definitions of natural.
We use five different approaches to look for ingredients that meet our definition of natural:
- We set specific requirements for our raw material suppliers. For example, we do not allow irradiated materials. These are set forth in our purchase terms and conditions for all our suppliers.
- We test. In our state-of-the-art laboratory which has a variety of analytical instruments, we are able to detect, for example, synthetic hormones and steroids, other adulterants, synthetic forms of botanicals, and non-natural forms of vitamins.
- We audit. We audit our key suppliers to ensure they are not using unacceptable ingredients.
- We investigate.
We dig deep into our ingredient supplier’s manufacturing and processing. Many important details are not disclosed on certificate of analysis (COA) or specification (technical) sheets we get with each raw ingredient. Wherever possible, we require our suppliers to use safe and natural solvents to extract ingredients. And their processing method must not introduce anything we would not use in our own production lines.
We look for our suppliers to use the same set of natural processing methods we would want to use in our own manufacturing facilities. These include cleaning, dehydrating, drying, filtering, cold pressing, grinding, chopping, natural water/alcohol extraction, roasting, heating, steam-sterilization, enzyme treatments, fermentation, hydrolysis, extraction with natural solvents, expeller pressing (oils), steam distillation, supercritical CO2 extraction (SCE), baking, mixing, separating, cutting, evaporating, freezing, saponification (of natural fats for use in soaps), etc.
We identify and select ingredient suppliers who share our standards when it comes to allergens, toxicity, animal testing, socially responsible packaging and fair business practices (fair wages, third world projects, responsible use and ingredient disposal, cooperative work environment), respect for endangered species especially as it pertains to the CITES treaty list, biodegradability and environmental friendliness, etc.
- We use nature-identical ingredients. Some natural ingredients are hard to source. Or the demand for them threatens the extinction of the botanical source. For this reason we’ve opted to use nature-identical ingredients. These ingredients exactly match the natural ingredient’s chemistry.
Now you can see how seriously we take “natural.” We use these five approaches towards making our products more natural. We always follow these processes but sometimes we don’t get as far as we’d like as fast as we’d like. We are continuously trying to improve the natural quality of our products. For us, ensuring natural is an on-going effort.
And this makes it easier for you . . . When you shop for natural products, you know the ones with the NOW® label are made by following our clear guidelines about what natural means to us.