This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of NOW Foods. All opinions are my own.
Before visiting NOW Foods in Chicago, Il., two weeks ago for an Influencer Immersion, I hadn’t thought much about the concept of brand trust. I think a lot about brand loyalty – I have certain brands that are my go-to, but I always thought brand trust came with the territory of securing a spot on the store shelf. At NOW, I learned that not every brand is deserving of blind consumer trust. Here’s why.
NOW Foods Influencer Immersion Day 1
I arrived in Chicago for my visit to NOW on a Thursday afternoon and checked into my room at The Eaglewood Resort & Spa where I was greeted by two giant gift bags of NOW Foods products – everything from whey and plant protein powder to essential oils, supplements and body care. (*I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram where you can see what’s inside and enter to win the same gift bags valued at more than $520!).
A few hours later, we gathered in the hotel lobby to make the short trip to the Cooking Skills Academy where we divided into teams for an “Iron Chef Challenge” using NOW Foods ingredients. My team was the runner-up with our breakfast frittata. After the competition, we sat down to dinner made, of course, with many NOW Foods products. NOW CEO Jim Emme was seated at my table so we got to pick his brain even more.
I’ll admit, beyond seeing NOW supplements on the store shelves at my local health food store and even purchasing the brand from time to time, I didn’t know much about NOW. What I learned the first night astounded me!
First, NOW is one of the largest independent manufacturers of natural products in the U.S. health food store channel and they’re leaders in quality control and assurance – meaning, what they say is on the label is truly in the bottle or package.
NOW is a family-owned company. It was founded with the goal of making healthy and quality products accessible and affordable for everyone. Fifty years later, NOW has more than 1,400 high-quality, natural and affordable products ranging from functional foods and supplements to sports nutrition, health and beauty products, sports nutrition and even a pet supplement line.
After the first day, my head hit the pillow both spinning and full of enthusiasm for the brand. I thought I had heard all there was to learn about NOW, but little did I know, there would be much, much more.
NOW Foods Influencer Immersion Day Two (Morning)
The second day started bright and early with a butt-kicking group HIIT workout that left me sore for days!! After the workout, we had a chance to make our own smoothies using NOW ingredients. The table was full of everything from protein powders to amino acids, products for energy, endurance and mass-building, MCT Oil, coconut oil, flax seeds, cacao powder – the options were endless.
As we sipped our smoothies, we learned more about the sports nutrition line. I was relieved to discover that NOW Sports is one of the few brands that doesn’t use artificial ingredients, sweeteners, colors or flavors. The ingredients are quality-sourced and backed by world-class research and development standards. This year NOW will be third-party certified through Informed-Sport for detection of banned substances. Their sports nutrition products are used by all athletes from professional to amateur. I even met a couple Olympic athletes over the weekend who use their products!
After our smoothie workshop, we headed to breakfast and then on to the NOW Foods Operations Facility for a plant tour where we learned even more about NOW’s quality commitment. As both advocate and pioneer in the natural products industry, NOW sources only the best natural ingredients and has a strict non-GMO assurance process that includes strict quality standards, documentation and testing. I saw first-hand that they do not mess around.
All of NOW’s natural food brands are non-GMO and range from gourmet to gluten-free. NOW’s natural food brands include: pantry staples like nuts, dried fruit, seeds, healthy snacks, natural flour alternatives and powders, ancient grains, beans, 23 varieties of herbal teas packaged in non-staple bags, a line of certified gluten-free flours, grains, baking mixes and pasta, a line of premium-grade cooking oils and an organic stevia sweetener.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Quality Control and Quality Assurance programs are where the brand trust really comes into play to set NOW apart as a trusted natural products manufacturer. In 2000, they were one of the first manufacturers to seek GMP certification and ever since NOW has received an A rating. In fact, they go above and beyond the standard cGMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices). For example, they perform more than 16,000 tests on raw materials and finished products monthly to ensure everything is safe from adulteration, contamination and ingredient substitution. Moreover, NOW champions truth labeling. The founder was instrumental in developing the Natural Product Association’s Tru-Label Program. Through product testing and sampling, NOW consistently provides assurance that what’s on the label is exactly what’s in the bottle.
NOW’s line of 900 supplements is extensive and offers something for every wellness need at an affordable price. NOW was one of the first companies to be certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for its dietary supplement manufacturing process. The UL National Brand Certification Program (NBCP) is to assess the extent to which an organization conforms to standards and regulations of the manufactured product.
NOW Foods Influencer Immersion Day Two (Afternoon)
Following the factory tour, we arrived at NOW’s Corporate Headquarters for lunch and to finish the day using some of NOW’s body care products and essential oils to make our own fitness equipment cleaning spray and sports soak. NOW’s health and beauty line called NOW Solutions is a line of personal care products derived from pure and natural ingredients and free of preservatives. Their essential oils are certified organic and 100 percent pure. And of course, NOW ensures the identity and purity of its essential oils using state-of-the-art testing that adheres to strict quality standards.
NOW’s newest line, NOW Pets, is a line of pet supplements developed in partnership with a veterinarian for dog and cat wellness. They’re certified by The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) in partnership with the FDA.
It was truly a jam-packed two days and while I know this was a long post, I hope it illustrates just what brand trust truly means. My eyes were opened and mind enlightened in ways I never thought possible. As someone who cares deeply about what I choose to put on and in my body, this was education I needed.
As mentioned earlier, I’m partnering with NOW for a giveaway. Head over to Instagram where you can enter to win the same welcome bags I received with up to $520 worth of NOW products! Good luck!