NOW® Foods is a family-owned company that was built with a foundation of dedication to make healthy living affordable. Established in 1968, NOW® Foods has been a leader in the health food and nutritional supplement industry for decades. The company offers more than 1,400 natural products and the most comprehensive selection in the industry, including: dietary supplements, sports nutrition products, natural health, and skin care formulas, essential oils, organic and non-GMO foods, and more.
Founded by Elwood Richard, a degreed physical chemist, NOW® Foods was born from a belief in the benefits of healthy foods, and grown with a determination to provide healthy foods at an affordable price. Elwood Richard originally started his journey by creating a health food store, but soon lost customers to a local supermarket due to the high cost of his products. It was then that Elwood realized that encouraging people to embrace a healthy lifestyle wouldn’t take hold if no one could afford to, and that in order for his health food stores to thrive they needed to offer affordable natural products. He decided to start his own natural products manufacturing company to supply his stores, which afforded him control over product cost and quality. Hence, NOW® Foods was born.
Quality Control and Product Offerings
NOW® Foods’ products, including NOW® Essential Oils, are offered at local health food stores throughout the United States and are sold in more than 70 countries. The company’s essential oils are developed, tested, and manufactured in NOW® Food’s facilities, in Illinois. This allows the company to maintain the quality of NOW® brand essential oils, as well as maintaining affordable products to their customer base.
The diversity, purity, affordability, and accessibility of NOW brand essential oils has made this line of oils a favorite go-to for casual users. The company offers 55 pure essential oils which include 15 organic essential oils. Customers go to the NOW essential oil brand because the oils are:
- Highly concentrated, pure essential oils.
- Free of synthetic ingredients.
- Subjected to the same level of testing and analysis as their certified organic essential oils.
The botanical species used to produce their certified organic essential oils are all grown in soil that is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and herbicide residues. Each of their organic essential oils is guaranteed to be:
- The finest quality available
- Identity verified
- Certified organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI)
In addition to the company’s pure essential oil line, NOW Foods also sells more expensive, precious essential oils, such as Helichrysum, Jasmine, Myrrh, Rose, Neroli, Sandalwood and Vanilla in a base of Jojoba oil.
Additionally, the company sells a variety of essential oil blends, and carrier oils, with some organic options in this realm as well. Their aromatherapy experts have combined their pure essential oils and created unique blends for everything from romance and relaxation, to study aids. These pure essential oil blends are ideal for simple diffusion, DIY beauty, self-care, and adding to unscented cleaning products.
NOW® Foods stands by their quality standards by providing safety data sheets on their essential oils online, which is another way that NOW® ensures the safety of their products. A safety data sheet is a compilation of safety information on any material used in commerce that may pose a safety risk to those handling it. These sheets are included with shipments of the material, and provide a quick reference for anyone handling the material including whether the material is flammable or carries any hazard with skin contact. NOW® Solutions maintains the comprehensive database of safety information, including safety data sheets, on all essential oils the company offers.
Room for Growth and Customer Support
Despite having these safety data sheets available online, the company does not provide any GC/MS data on any of their essential oils. The GC/MS information reveals the various levels of constituents present in essential oil and is how many aromatherapists determine the quality of the essential oil they are purchasing and how the overall aroma may compare to other oils.
The company owns and operates one of the most advanced private laboratories in the natural products industry. Their in-house laboratories are equipped with the latest analytical instruments, which help their skilled technicians accurately assess each essential oil’s identity, purity, and safety. Identification of essential oils is key, as inferior raw materials and adulterated oils are unfortunately all too common in today’s marketplace.
As a leader in the essential oils industry, NOW has built a reputation for offering pure essential oils of the highest quality at prices that other competitors can’t meet. Their long-term relationships with suppliers, in-house laboratories, and high volume ensure that every NOW® Essential Oil purchased is fresh, fragrant and pure. The company does have the means to do GC/MS testing with their machinery but does not provide this information to their customer.
Read more: NOW ESSENTIAL OILS quality & safety
Cautionary and usage information is also lacking on the individual essential oil bottles themselves. While the bottles do have specific species information, they are missing specific dilution directions and also refer the consumer to reference an essential oil book or a health care professional for proper directions on dilutions. In some instances, the guidance on the bottle is contradictory, as in the example of Cinnamon. In one area of the label it suggests the consumer dilute the oil:
“For aromatherapy use. For all other uses, carefully dilute with a carrier oil such as jojoba, grapeseed, olive, or almond oil prior to use. Please consult an essential oil book or other professional reference sources for suggested dilution ratios.”
Yet, just below this, in a caution box, it states that the oil is not to be used on the skin. The availability of this particular oil, without very apparent usage instruction, is concerning due to the heat of Cinnamon essential oil and its ability to burn the skin.
While the website provides recipes for using essential oils, it is lacking on safety and caution information for specific oils. Rather than provide this information directly to consumers, it suggests the customer find a good aromatherapy resource to reference.
Overall, NOW Foods essential oils brand is accessible and affordable to the consumer, providing quality, commonly used pure essential oils, within the immediate reach of the closest natural foods store. Most of their oils are sold in 30mL sizes, with some more common varieties available in 120mL sizes. Unlike other essential oil companies, NOW Foods essential oil line also has a variety of carrier oils within their line of products, so despite not having directions on the bottles themselves, they do provide an immediate means for dilution, right on the shelf. While NOW Foods essential oils don’t have the most extensive line of essential oils, the product accessibility and affordability allow for customers to use essential oils in and around the home more readily, as well as meeting product needs for the DIY type.
Today NOW® continues to be owned by the Richard family and has grown to become one of the natural product industry’s most recognizable brands. The NOW® brand remains true to Elwood’s original vision – to offer affordable, high-quality natural products that meet consumer health needs.